Ridge was outside. A few blocks away. Making a campaign TV ad on a sidewalk across from the state Capitol.
Wearing a brown leather bomber jacket over a blue button-down shirt and khaki slacks, Ridge was going through multiple takes of a spot focusing on his plan to cut $2 billion in state taxes over four years.
"Some say we can't do it," Ridge said, looking into the camera. He's told to beam a "nice smile."
He started again and continued, "I say they're afraid of change."
Holding a large sign with highlights of his plan, Ridge said, "Call for my plan." He turned to three presumably "average voters," all male, all in suits, all seated on a park bench placed in the middle of a sidewalk, and says, with some energy, "Hey, guys! Take a look." He passed them the sign.
After several not-so-hot takes, Ridge TV guru Stuart Stevens, head of Stuart Stevens Group of Alexandria, Va., approached a reporter.
"Can we make a deal?" he said. He offered to talk later or make Ridge available if the reporter agreed to leave.
"I think your presence here is making the congressman nervous," Stevens said.
Later, Ridge campaign manager Mark Holman conceded the luncheon miss had been "a bit of a scheduling snafu." He said he had apologized to the chamber.