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Ridge Mute on a Bush VP Call

April 3, 2000

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) _ New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman stood mute last week as George W. Bush W. Bush answered a question about whether she could be his running mate. On Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge couldn’t stop talking when Bush was asked about him.

With Bush, the Texas governor and presumed Republican presidential nominee looking on in amusement, Ridge insisted he would not discuss the subject if and when a call came.

Ridge has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate for Bush because his state has 23 electoral votes, he is Catholic and a Vietnam veteran.

``I think he’s got to make that determination himself,″ Ridge said when asked if he met Bush’s professed qualifications of having a running mate who likes him and agrees with his politics.

``I would just say right now that I’m sure over the next couple of months, people are going to say, `Did the governor call you?′ And I’m just not going to tell you if he calls and when he calls, and I think it’s very important. I just say this with great respect.

``First of all, it is the governor’s call, pure and simple, and the last thing in that very important process he needs is other elected officials running around saying, `Hey, I got a call, I got a call, I’m on the list.′ Secondly, it’s not fair to the individuals, it won’t be fair to the person that the governor ultimately selects, so I’m just going to lay it all out: I’m never going to tell you,″ Ridge added.

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