Ridge appearance stokes VP speculation

Aug. 12, 2008 at 4:00 PM
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ERIE, Pa., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Speculation is rife that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge has emerged as a top Republican vice presidential candidate, political analysts say.

A two-day visit by likely Republican U.S. presidential nominee John McCain, R-Ariz., to Pennsylvania Monday and Tuesday, coupled with praise McCain gave Ridge, have stoked the rumor mills, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"I'm honored to know a person like Tom Ridge, who had every opportunity after he graduated from Harvard not to go to Vietnam," McCain told reporters. "He could have found a doctor that would have given a certificate that he had a bad knee, but instead he went and decided to serve his country during the Vietnam War."

The newspaper said political handicappers noted Ridge's stint as leader of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gives him credibility as someone tough on terrorism, and that he and McCain have been close friends for 25 years.

"If you cast a universal net, my name might be on the list" of potential candidates, Ridge told the Inquirer. "But as the list narrows, I don't have a clue who's on and who's off. I know one thing: John will make a sound decision."

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