ABC News Jan Simmonds reports: On ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reaffirmed his pro-choice position on abortion, and said he did not think Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would make it a litmus test on whom he would choose to be his running mate.
"I would think John would never make it a litmus test, but when it comes down to a nominee selecting a vice presidential running mate, it's their decision exclusively," said Ridge. "And I would respect that decision one way or another."
When asked whether he thought having a pro-choice candidate at the top of a national ticket would turn off the Republican Party base, Ridge said, "I think, at the end of the day, I think the party would be comfortable with someone Sen. McCain was comfortable with. And that is ultimately his decision."
I am amazed to find that I have (unfortunately) become one of the most outspoken opponents of a possible Tom Ridge "veep" selection.
As I noted last week on the Live Desk, this should be a non-starter. McCain isn't just selecting a running mate, he is selecting a potential successor. There are a few issues that are non-negotiable, and this is one of them. What is more, turning our back on pro-lifers would be both philosophically incorrect, as well as politically and strategically disadvantageous for the GOP and McCain.
Why the outrage over Ridge now? A pro-choice Republican like Ridge might be a fine head of Homeland Security, but his selection as John McCain's running mate -- the person who would potentially be a heartbeat away from the presidency -- is a different story. If nothing else, a Ridge selection would demonstrate McCain is not seriously committed to defending the Right to Life. And the long-term implications regarding the direction of the GOP is a longer and even more problematic debate to have.
Some leading Evangelicals have been outspokenly opposed to a Romney selection -- yet there has been little public opposition to a Ridge selection. What gives???