Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge endorsed Jeb Bush for president in an interview set to air Tuesday.
Ridge was in the Cabinet of Jeb Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush, a sign of the large network the younger Bush can draw on for support and fundraising.
"I think the governor of a pretty complex state like Florida, a governor who has a great track record, a governor who’s into the problem-solving business," Bush told OraTV's Larry King. "What little credibility or what little traction I may have politically left after all those years, I’m pleased to send it and let Jeb Bush use it however he sees fit."
Ridge also offered some praise for Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPennsylvania GOP authorizes subpoenas in election probe We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE, saying he always had "productive" meetings with her when he was in the Cabinet and she was a senator.
He said a Bush versus Clinton match-up would be "almost a clash of titans," leading to a campaign that is "tough, rigorous, and hopefully, for the first time in a long time, civil."
Ridge also sent a letter last week, along with former DHS secretaries Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, calling for funding for the Department of Homeland Security not to be put in jeopardy.
Congressional Republicans are currently weighing their options for funding the department amid a fight over its immigration moves.
"I think it’s a huge mistake to challenge the department with this periodic funding," Ridge said in the interview. "Secretary Johnson can’t be as effective as he wants to be if you’re going to play politics with his budget."