WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday floated the prospect of picking a running mate who supports abortion rights and cited former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge as someone worth considering.

"I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party," McCain said in an interview with The Weekly Standard.

"And also I feel that — and I'm not trying to equivocate here — that Americans want us to work together," McCain said. "You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out."

McCain had been asked about comments he made to several reporters during the GOP primary season about the prospect of picking New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for vice president. The Arizona senator praised Bloomberg, but said the mayor's support for abortion rights would make it tough to choose him.

Ridge, McCain told the magazine, would be more palatable to social conservatives who make up the base of the Republican Party.

"I think it's a fundamental tenet of our party to be pro-life but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice," McCain said. He called the gap between the two sides a disagreement — "albeit strong."

"And I think Ridge is a great example of that," McCain said. "Far moreso than Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is pro-gay rights, you know, a number of other issues."

McCain opposes abortion rights.