Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge continued backpedaling last night on his new book's assertion that Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumseld "strongly urged" him to raise the terror alert level -- possibly for political reasons -- just before the 2004 election.
In The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege, Ridge wrote that although Rumsfeld and Ashcroft wanted to raise the alert level, "There was absolutely no support for that position within our department. None. I wondered, 'Is this about security or politics?'" As we reported yesterday, Ridge is now scrambling to recast that statement.
On Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show last night, Ridge continued to contradict himself. "At no time, at no time, at no time did politics enter, in my judgment, anybody's equation," Ridge said.
Ridge went on to say that "politics was not involved" and that "I was not pressured."
Maddow then read to Ridge directly from his book's jacket: "'He recounts episodes such as the pressure that the DHS received to raise the security alert on the eve of of the '04 presidential election.' That's wrong?"
"Those aren't my words," Ridge said. "Read the book." But not the book's jacket. That stuff just can't be trusted.
Here's the video: