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Did the Bush White House slant terror alerts to defeat John Kerry? Ask Tom Ridge

September 1, 2009 |  8:43 am

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has a new book out.

In “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege,” the Pennsylvania Republican tells a story of how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft pressured him to raise the terror alert just before the 2004 election. He opted not to.

And he confesses that he regretted inserting language in an Aug. 1, 2004, terror alert – issued just as Democrat John Kerry was enjoying a post-convention bump in the polls -- that he now thinks might have been politically motivated. The language, requested by the White House, praised President Bush’s handling of the terrorist threat to national security. "I'm not going to second-guess [motive]," he told Time magazine. "But it was wrong for me to put it in."

But in a series of media interviews to promote the book, Ridge is urging Bush critics to “stop hyperventilating,” about the disclosures and citing his decision to override Rumsfeld and Ashcroft as proof that “the process worked.”

See what you think.

-- Johanna Neuman

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