McCain hints at pro-choice Tom Ridge as his running mate

August 14th, 2008 - 12:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 14 (ANI): Republican presidential candidate John McCain has said that he would not rule out naming a pro-choice vice-presidential nominee, saying that the abortion issue amounts to a disagreement and that he thinks conservatives would accept former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, as a potential running mate.

I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party, McCain told the Weekly Standard.

And I also feel that - and Im not trying to equivocate here - that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I dont think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out, he added.

But social-conservative leaders say a pro-choice nominee would cripple McCain politically with the Republican Party base.

I think McCain has to have a running mate that clearly connects with social conservatives in the party, said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

That is where he is lacking. So if he picks a pro-choice running mate, I dont see how he can win this race, said Perkins

Asked whether social and religious conservatives would walk away from McCain if he picks Ridge or some other pro-choice running mate, Perkins said, Im not going to say people will stay home, but there is a core of voters whose level of enthusiasm influences people further from the core.

So if McCain picks a pro-choice running mate, the strength of turnout on Election Day is not going to be there for him, Perkins said.

The McCain interview is a reversal from April, when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told MSNBC that Ridge wouldnt be ruled out but that it would be difficult to choose him because of his abortion stance.

The change in tone is bound to boost speculation that McCain will name the former Pennsylvania governor as his running mate.

McCain further stoked the rumor mill by campaigning with Ridge in Pennsylvania this week.

The senator from Arizona told the Weekly Standard that Ridge would be more acceptable than other pro-choice possibilities such as New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. (ANI)

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