Amid speculation he could end up on the Republican presidential ticket, former director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge went about his business Monday morning.And that business brought the former Pennsylvania governor to Columbus to tour the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park.
Not surprisingly, he was asked about the possibility of being John McCain's vice presidential nominee.
Candidly, there will come a point in time for a final decision," Ridge said. "At the time, I'll know what the decision is and I will think about it."
Ridge, who was with McCain last week, said the two men did not discuss the possibility of him being on the ticket, which will be finalized before the Republican National Convention next month.
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We have never talked once about the vice presidency," Ridge said.
Ridge said the Republicans have a deep bench when it comes to a vice presidential nominee.
"I know when Sen. McCain is in Minnesota they are talking about Gov. (Tim) Pawlenty," Ridge said. "When he is in Florida they are talking about Gov. (Charlie) Crist. They talk about Gov. (Mitt) Romney in several states. When he was in Pennsylvania, they were talking about me."
During the visit, reporters were ask to keep political questions off limits. That lasted about two minutes and Ridge didn't back down from a single one, though his main purpose was to see the museum construction project as he helps the National Infantry Foundation close in on its $104 million goal.
Ridge was in town with his friend Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a military analyst for NBC News.
"Tom Ridge has a tremendous national reputation," McCaffery said. "He has common-sense leadership and service. Since he was a teenager, he has been doing the right thing."
Ridge has been asked questions about the vice presidency for weeks, including on national television last weekend. On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Ridge was asked about his pro-choice views and if that would be a stumbling block to getting on the ticket with McCain.
"Given its long pro-life history, do you really think that the Republican Party would accept a pro-choice running mate?" Wallace asked Ridge.
Ridge responded: "My friend of 25 years is passionately pro-life. He is also passionately a believer that the Republican Party must have a big tent. And I think, frankly, what he was just saying to the rest of the world is that we need to accept both points of view.
"He's not judgmental about me or my belief. He just disagrees with me. And there's no doubt in my mind, no doubt whatsoever, that there would be — he would have a strong pro-life administration. No question about it."
Columbus businessman Jack Pezold was in the group that spent the day with Ridge. Pezold said politics didn't come up in the discussion.
"Absolutely not," Pezold said.