Whopper of the Week: Tom Ridge

Ridge urges Congress to pass a bill he helped write after claiming he’d tell Bush to veto it.

“Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said Thursday he would advise President Bush to veto any legislation creating a congressionally authorized Office of Homeland Security if Congress approves a bill this year.

” ‘I’d probably recommend he veto it,’ Ridge told a National Journal Group editorial board meeting. In the past, Ridge has asked Congress to hold off on the legislation.”

Brody Mullins, “Ridge: Bush Should Veto Cabinet-Level Homeland Security Office,” in the May 30 Congress Daily.

“Bush aides say they got plenty of input, from Congress and Cabinet agencies—before officials sat down April 23[italics Chatterbox’s] to draft a plan.

“On that day, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., Ridge [italics Chatterbox’s], White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. convened their working group to create the cabinet-level entity. They relied on a few other top aides, including Card deputies Joseph Hagin and Joshua Bolten.

“The meetings continued daily for about 10 days as they refined the proposal’s specifics. Card or Ridge kept Bush informed of progress [italics Chatterbox’s]. On May 3, Card described the tentative plan to Bush. …Bush, briefed on it on his way to Europe aboard Air Force One on May 23, gave hisfinal sign-off last Friday, May 31 [italics Chatterbox’s].”

Dana Milbank, “Plan Was Formed in Utmost Secrecy,” in the June 7 Washington Post.

“I would ask my former colleagues in Congress who have been—many of them have been fully engaged in this debate not only during the past several months, but for several years even before the tragic occurrences of 9/11, who have called for similar reforms—to approve the President’s proposal before they adjourn this year. We’re very encouraged. I believe they will.”

—Ridge, in a June 10 speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.

(Thanks to multiple readers.)

Got a whopper? Send it to To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:
June 7, 2002: Former FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy
May 31, 2002: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2002: Condoleezza Rice
May 17, 2002: Robert Mueller
May 9, 2002: Karl Rove
May 3, 2002: Gen. Richard Myers
April 25, 2002: Donald Rumsfeld
April 18, 2002: George W. Bush  
April 11, 2002: The Rev. Robert J. Banks, archdiocese of Boston
April 5, 2002: George W. Bush  
Mar. 29, 2002: Major League Baseball
Mar. 21, 2002: Billy Graham
Mar. 14, 2002: INS commissioner James W. Ziglar
Mar. 8, 2002: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. steel industry
Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton
Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne
Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay
Feb. 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney
Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto
Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez
Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush
Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster
Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press

(Click  here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)