McCain all praise for potential vice presidential pick Ridge
ERIE, Pa. – Sen. John McCain said Monday the first thing he’d do if elected president is “call Tom Ridge to Washington from whatever vacation he’s taking and get him to work.”
Ridge, a former Homeland Security czar, is a potential vice presidential running mate, but if McCain was going to ask him to join the Republican ticket, he wouldn’t wait until after the election to do it.
Maybe it was a coded way of saying a McCain-Ridge White House bid isn’t in the cards, but that’s not likely to cool speculation the former Pennsylvania governor might be tapped as vice president.
McCain was speaking off the cuff, and his words about Ridge as they campaigned in this battleground state were unmistakably warm.
“So many of the Greatest Generation came from the heartland of America. … That is why I am honored to know a person like Gov. Tom Ridge, who had every opportunity after he graduated from Harvard not to go to Vietnam,” McCain told a town hall meeting of workers at a General Electric plant.
“He could have found a doctor who’d give him a certificate that he had a bad knee. Instead he went and decided to serve his country in the Vietnam war,” said McCain, who dined with Ridge and his wife, Michele, and daughter, Lesley, Sunday evening in an Erie waterfront restaurant.
With the Republican convention in the first week of September looming, McCain is running out of time to name his vice presidential pick.
Other potential McCain running mates include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Democratic rival Barack Obama is expected to announce his vice presidential running mate ahead of the Democratic Party’s nominating convention later this month.
His campaign has said it plans to announce the decision in e-mail and text messages to supporters.
Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (Ridge, right, with Sen. Joseph Lieberman, center, at a campaign event for McCain, left, in December)