Ridge backpedals on “pressure” claims

posted at 8:48 am on August 31, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Less than two weeks ago, Tom Ridge launched his memoirs with the explosive allegation that Bush administration officials had pressured him to change terror-threat levels in order to boost George Bush’s re-election chances in the final days of the 2004 election.  A day later, the New York Times pointed out that the book not only didn’t have any supporting evidence for that claim, it also had Ridge insisting that he hadn’t seen any political pressure on threat levels.  Now Ridge himself has begun to backpedal from his publicity-seeking allegations:

Former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, speaking for the first time about accusations made in his new book, says he did not mean to suggest that other top Bush administration officials were playing politics with the nation’s security before the 2004 presidential election.

“I’m not second-guessing my colleagues,” Ridge said in an interview about The Test of Our Times, which comes out Tuesday and recounts his experiences as head of the nation’s homeland security efforts in the first several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. …

Last week, when word got out about Ridge’s accusations, Rumsfeld’s spokesman Keith Urbahn issued a statement calling them “nonsense.”

Now, Ridge says he did not mean to suggest he was pressured to raise the threat level, and he is not accusing anyone of trying to boost Bush in the polls. “I was never pressured,” Ridge said.

Anyone interested in buying this book now?  When a politician writes his memoirs, the only quality that makes them at all interesting is honesty.  If it’s just a hagiography or a one-sided apologia, the book becomes as interesting as a press release.

Ridge blew his credibility when he allowed his publisher to make that unsupported allegation in advance of the book’s release.  He didn’t immediately note that the allegations were false; it took him twelve days to finally get around to it.  Ridge put cash ahead of his word in this case, which makes his memoirs both suspect and unappealing.  Ridge wasn’t important enough to even have celebrity interest.

It does do one thing; it finally  puts to rest the conspiracy theories about the threat levels and political manipulation.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Dave Rywall on August 31, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Like a Ridge over troubled water
You are just a clown

Like a Ridge over troubled water
You are just a clown

Loxodonta on August 31, 2009 at 9:50 AM

The scintillating personality and avant guard thinking of this conservative bellwether guarantees a best seller. So why lie about his book to try and make it interesting? I don’t get it.

Akzed on August 31, 2009 at 9:51 AM

You all are so clever. Except you, Mr. Rywall, sorry.

Cindy Munford on August 31, 2009 at 9:52 AM

I hope his book fails.

NebCon on August 31, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Reaction from the Left to the plucking of this plastic turkey?

“Somebody obviously got to him. Prove that they didn’t! I’m just asking questions is all…”

Putz.

Noocyte on August 31, 2009 at 9:56 AM

I think the only pressure that Ridge received was from his publisher, in that he needed to say he was pressured so they could have some way of selling his boring book. I always thought Ridge was one of the most inarticulate, nondescript dull and uninformed guys in the Bush admin. He should retire and go away.

echosyst on August 31, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Ridge & MccLellan while we’re at it… a couple of squirming ratfaced weasels.
Way to serve your president.
How pieces of silver did ya get boys?

bloviator on August 31, 2009 at 10:02 AM

If I wasn’t sane I’d troll HuffPo or Kos to see their reactions to this but it’s not worth the effort just to read a bunch of “Sure he wasn’t and who threatened him?

katiejane on August 31, 2009 at 10:02 AM

I think this is about the right time for me to say: I told you so!

Seixon on August 31, 2009 at 10:06 AM

I feel for Ridge. If you have ever written a story only to have some editor write the headline to say exactly the OPPOSITE of your article, then you may understand.

barnone on August 31, 2009 at 10:10 AM

“It remains true that Americans know less about Canada than about Mexico; but then, in many respects, Mexico is now far more important to their vital interests. I have corresponded with many Americans in the past few years, and most of them regard Canada as a dreary backwater, half French, half socialist, smug in its imagined moral superiority, but fundamentally unimportant except as an example of how not to run a country. And while this view is oversimplified in many respects, even distorted, I cannot say that it is fundamentally wrong. Canada is a backwater, it is unimportant, and it is not the paragon to the nations that it fondly imagines itself to be. Americans may not be especially ignorant of Canada, but the rest of the world seems hardly aware that Canada exists.”

-Jay Random

ebrown2 on August 31, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Ridge backpedals on “pressure” claims

Hmm, but I bet leftists will continue to echo the original claims forever now.

That is the awesome thing about the way the state media works – publish a falsehood and let it sit around, and then eventually “retract” it even though the retraction will never reach the same audience the original claim did…

18-1 on August 31, 2009 at 10:25 AM

This says a lot about the poor state of Tom Ridge’s character. He’s essentially playing the same game as the Democratic party. “Say anything” to get the ratings and then if the black-blow becomes unbearable – change your story.

These are NOT the actions of an honorable man. I’d like to gloat here a bit – because we had a debate here on HotAir on who would make a better challenger for Arlen Specter’s Senate seat. Many said Ridge would be because he’s more of a moderate. Some like me said you can’t trust moderates and we should back Toomey.

Thank you Tom Ridge – for proving those of us on the right wing side of things correct.

HondaV65 on August 31, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Sorry if someone has already mentioned the obvious but the threat level was never raised! What pressure?

Vince on August 31, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Next thing you know, Ridge will be writing columns in The New Majority.

BigD on August 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Too funny…and very likely, since Frum also insists there’s no proof Kevin Gladney didn’t just fall down and roll between the legs of that SEIU worker, so stop all the mean “sturmtruppen” cracks

Chris_Balsz on August 31, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Do you remember when all the smart republicans on MSNBC and CNN said Ridge was the man the GOP should emulate?

That’s worth a second nelson in a week.

petertheslow on August 31, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Ridge blames his hearing aids in 3….2….1…

I inherited these devices from the Bush years…”

profitsbeard on August 31, 2009 at 10:46 AM

Rywall
So I guess you insist a conversation took place after everybody involved denies it took place?

You might as well entertain the idea that Lincoln’s suicide was the most successful conspiracy in history.

Chris_Balsz on August 31, 2009 at 10:48 AM

AMAZING LOGIC

Dave Rywall on August 31, 2009 at 9:19 AM

When did you start using logic?
Rywall stepped out to try to sell a book, he was caught lying, now he is backpedling.
I guess you recognize that from people like Pelosi, and her “I was never informed by the CIA” lying….
You are F’in brilliant, keep posting….

right2bright on August 31, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Hey, but Ridge is a moderate who is popular with the national GOP leadership, right? I think maybe this Bruce Bartlett nitwit was right after all, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.

Jaibones on August 31, 2009 at 10:59 AM

I hope his book fails.

NebCon on August 31, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Are you kidding? It’s too big to fail! (/sarc)

Jim-Rose on August 31, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Ha ha ha so Ridge approves a book with the claim but then sees everybody doesn’t like hearing that (the everybody being the people who might have an inkling to buy his book, most on the right) so he backpedals on the claim and the right jumps on this as concrete proof that Bush wasn’t playing politics with the threat-o-meter.

AMAZING LOGIC

Dave Rywall on August 31, 2009 at 9:19 AM

I guess Davey didn’t read the whole article. Here’s the key information:

A day later, the New York Times pointed out that the book not only didn’t have any supporting evidence for that claim, it also had Ridge insisting that he hadn’t seen any political pressure on threat levels.

The NY Slimes, no less, points out that there was nothing in the book to substantiate the publisher’s claim that Bush & Co. pressured Ridge.

Dave, take a comprehensive reading class for crying out loud.

Jarhead68 on August 31, 2009 at 11:22 AM

AMAZING LOGIC

DRywall on August 31, 2009 at 9:19 AM

(laughter)

Del Dolemonte on August 31, 2009 at 11:23 AM

I wonder how much investigative assuming Olberman and Maddow will do on this.

Jed_Eckert on August 31, 2009 at 11:36 AM

The Ridge To Nowhere.

Josiah on August 31, 2009 at 8:56 AM

Heh.

Lindsay Graham’s pick for PA senator.

Fletch54 on August 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Speaking of which, the great Senator John McCain is in Illinois to campaign for our RINO douche nozzle Mark Kirk. That would be Senator John “37% in Illinois” McCain. Boy, he ought to be a great help for Kirk, the pro-abortion, pro-Cap-and-Trade, pro-illegal alien, anti-2nd Amendment candidate.

FAIR rating 0%
ACU rating 40%
NRA rating F minus
Taxpayers Union rating 60%
NARAL rating 100%

He is Obama’s favorite Illinois Republican.

Jaibones on August 31, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Where has Ridge been for the last two weeks? Why did he wait until now to refute the hype?

d1carter on August 31, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Anyone interested in buying this book now? When a politician writes his memoirs, the only quality that makes them at all interesting is honesty. If it’s just a hagiography or a one-sided apologia, the book becomes as interesting as a press release.

I considered purchasing the book however, Not Now! I do not like Political Fantasy!

BigMike252 on August 31, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Of course, we know what the story will be when he asks his publisher how the book is selling:

Heartbreak Ridge

VekTor on August 31, 2009 at 12:20 PM

It remains true that Americans know less about Canada than about Mexico; but then, in many respects, Mexico is now far more important to their vital interests. I have corresponded with many Americans in the past few years, and most of them regard Canada as a dreary backwater, half French, half socialist, smug in its imagined moral superiority, but fundamentally unimportant except as an example of how not to run a country. And while this view is oversimplified in many respects, even distorted, I cannot say that it is fundamentally wrong. Canada is a backwater, it is unimportant, and it is not the paragon to the nations that it fondly imagines itself to be. Americans may not be especially ignorant of Canada, but the rest of the world seems hardly aware that Canada exists.”

-Jay Random

ebrown2 on August 31, 2009 at 10:11 AM

So let’s cut to the chase, the world doesn’t think much of Canada and you agree…is that pretty much it?

Jeff from WI on August 31, 2009 at 12:55 PM

where the heck is he going to be by the time the questions are over?)

jon1979 on August 31, 2009 at 9:24 AM

Floating down the river Denial. “I never said that.”

maverick muse on August 31, 2009 at 9:25 AM

If he’s floating down the river Denial, would that be just water under the Ridge?

DrAllecon on August 31, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Attacks his party..gets caught lying and has to backpedal. We’ve got to run this guy for President! Go moderates!

austinnelly on August 31, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Ha ha ha so Ridge approves a book with the claim but then sees everybody doesn’t like hearing that (the everybody being the people who might have an inkling to buy his book, most on the right) so he backpedals on the claim and the right jumps on this as concrete proof that Bush wasn’t playing politics with the threat-o-meter.

AMAZING LOGIC

Dave Rywall on August 31, 2009 at 9:19 AM

He was going for the same crowd that Rickard Clarke went for with his book – people like yourself looking for dirt on the Bush administration. When the New York Times of all people come out and completely debunk his statements as nothing but a publicity stunt, He has now lost any potential audience he mau have had.

Try reading the story next time. I thought Ridge was a stand up guy and believed him at first, but it looks like it was nothing more than a lie to sell books; according to the NY Times.

Daemonocracy on August 31, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Tom Ridges’s, “The Test of Our Times” will soon join Scott McClellan’s book, “What Happened” in the graveyard of RINO Bush bashing books.

yoda on August 31, 2009 at 1:23 PM

It does do one thing; it finally puts to rest the conspiracy theories about the threat levels and political manipulation.

You’re kidding, right? Conspiracy theories never die and far fewer remember the correction than the accusation. Those truisms are independent of politics.

calbear on August 31, 2009 at 1:55 PM

It does do one thing; it finally puts to rest the conspiracy theories about the threat levels and political manipulation.

Maybe?

burt on August 31, 2009 at 2:21 PM

“Anyone interested in buying this book now?”

He wrote a book…..?

Seven Percent Solution on August 31, 2009 at 4:03 PM

blah blah blah

Terrye on August 31, 2009 at 5:00 PM

My guess, Ridge got a hunting invitation from Cheney.

Geochelone on August 31, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Comment pages: 1 2