Tom Ridge appeared on Hardball to discuss why he chose not to run for the Pennsylvania Senate seat currently held by party-switcher Arlen Specter, and at the end of the conversation there was a very strange exchange: Ridge, a former Republican governor and Bush cabinet member, not only wouldn't say that conservative former Rep. Pat Toomey can win -- but he wouldn't say he'd vote for him.
When Chris Matthews asked whether Toomey can win, Ridge paused and eventually had to say he didn't know. When asked who he would vote for, between Toomey the Republican or Specter the ex-Republican, Ridge replied: "Well, it's a wonderful country, this America -- it's called secret ballot."
Matthews: Okay, Hardball time. Can Toomey beat a Democrat?
Ridge: (pauses) Depends who the Democrat is.
Matthews: Could he beat Specter, the switcher?
Ridge: Uh, I don't know. I don't know. It depends on the nature of his campaign. But I think he's gonna have a problem-- [It's unclear whether Ridge is referring to Toomey or Specter here.]
Matthews: Who are you voting for?
Ridge: Uh, well, I'm gonna wait and see who's in the primary.
Matthews: No, you've gotta vote between Toomey the conservative Republican or Specter the ex-Republican. Who would you vote for?
Ridge: Well, it's a wonderful country, this America -- it's called secret ballot.
Matthews: Come on!
Matthews: Aye or nay?
Ridge: You got my answer, Chris. That's Hardball!
I'm kind of astounded that Ridge won't run for Senate, as I'm sure the PA GOP promised him the moon. They must be sweating bullets right now. I can't say I'm not enjoying it.