Even though Tom Ridge adamantly portrayed himself above the fray of politics in his job, it has come to light that he was secretly meeting with Republican pollsters prior to the election. Remember how the terror threat would go up every time the Democrats made any headway in the campaign?... Then the Democrats accused Tom Ridge of playing politics with the threat of terrorism? Well, it looks like they may have not have been so far off base after all.
Ridge, Pollsters Met During Bush Campaign
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met privately with Republican pollsters twice in a 10-day span last spring as he embarked on more than a dozen trips to presidential battleground states.
Ridge's get-togethers with Republican strategists Frank Luntz and Bill McInturff during a period the secretary was saying his agency was playing no role in Bush's re-election campaign were revealed in daily appointment calendars obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.
"We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security," Ridge told reporters during the election season.
His aides resisted releasing the calendars for over a year, finally providing them to the AP three days after Ridge left office this month.
Homeland Security officials said the meeting with Luntz at department headquarters was aimed at improving public communication of the department's message, particularly on TV. Ridge declined an interview with the AP about the calendars, referring questions to former aides.