August 29th, 2008
09:01 PM ET
6 years ago

How McCain chose Palin

McCain only talked with Palin once before choosing her.
McCain only talked with Palin once before choosing her.

(CNN) - John McCain first met Sarah Palin only six months ago and had just one conversation with the Alaska governor before offering her the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, the Arizona senator's campaign said Friday.

The move appears to be a marked departure for McCain - a man known for his tendency to surround himself with a close circle of advisers and politicians he has long felt comfortable with.

But according to the McCain campaign, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee first met Palin in Washington at a February 2008 National Governors Association meeting. He was immediately impressed with the 44-year-old rising GOP star, and decided to consider her for the vice presidential slot.

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis had several conversations with Palin throughout the vetting process, but McCain himself didn't speak with the Alaska governor until last Sunday - one day after Barack Obama named Joe Biden to his ticket. It was then McCain reached Palin by phone while she was at the Alaska State Fair to discuss the possibility of joining the ticket.

Palin then traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona Wednesday evening, where she met with top McCain advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter. On Thursday Palin traveled to McCain's Sedona, Arizona home where the Arizona senator had another conversation with her, and formally asked her to be his running mate.


Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (1,482 Responses)
  1. akwatcher

    I live and work in Juneau, Alaska. I know Sarah and many others that know and work with her. We are shocked by this pick. She is an interesting person and did step into a difficult role as a new governor in a state being run by old boys that had lost touch with the people and were making deals behind closed doors. However, we also know this is over her head. She could learn to do the job but she doesn't have what it takes to do it from "day one." I say this as someone that knows her, voted for her and have voted for most of the republicans in Alaska for over 14 years. She is not as "perfect" as McCain will attempt to market her! There is meat on the bones of the mess she is in with the state trooper issue. We also wonder why she waited 7 months to even tell the public, including her staff she was about to have a baby. McCain will say she is popular and I know the numbers say she is. However, this is in part because she followed a governor that was out of touch and didn't care about us. She also just gave us all a $1200 energy dividend on top of our normal dividend. You will also hear that she cut the budget, but that isn't true. The total budget went up 30% this year and she did it by taking advantage of the higher oil revenues and a new tax on oil companies. This will appeal to some dems but I know personally local reps are not happy with it. There is just too many issues and questions that only we in Juneau know about to outline here but I must say knowing her like we do it likely has far more to do with her "look" and being a "women" and he thinks he can market her to win some votes. Bad pick from where I sit and right now that is looking out my window at her governor's house.

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. Robin Withrow

    Sheesh....Is John McCain so out of touch he actually thinks women who supportered Hillary Clinton would be impressed with his choice of an pro-life, NRA member, a less than one term governor...of Alaska....just because she's a woman? What an insult! This woman supports everything Hillary opposes. If you switch from Hillary to Palin....you never really understood Hillary in the first place, but are in fact, just as sexist as any misogynistic male ever was.

    Not to mention what an unbelievably irresponsible decision this is, particularly given McCain's advanced age and heath issues. Would anyone really be comfortable thinking of this inexperienced local politician as president? McCain likes to criticize Obama's lack of experience and then turns around and nominates this person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Either he's really desperate....unbelievably cynical....or his mental state needs to be examined......before November please.

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. CLINTON VOTER FOR MCCAIN

    WE NEED A WOMAN AND WE GOT ONE. CLINTONS SHOULD HAVE FOUGHT IT OUT

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. sgp

    Experience???.....heck of a differece between governing Alaska and the most powerful nation in the world.....especially for someone that admitted to not knowing exactly what a VP does......and McCain is 72 having cancer 4 x. Sounds like a desperate last ditch effort to grab the presidency at any cost . McCain is playing jeopardy.

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  5. jennifer

    A true Washington outsider coming to fight the "good old guards:" Inexperienced? At least she has governed a state for two years unlike Obama who has played with the old guards for a part of his term and most of it campaigning for his bid for presidency. Who has more experience governing? Isn't Palin coming coming from the "outside" bringing change to Washington?

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. Former Democrat

    As a woman and Hillary supporter I'm voting for McCain, is just now that decision is no brainer after the democrats totally outgenderized Hillary. Those idiot sObama supportes who jhust don't get it.

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. PD in CA

    S C A R Y.

    McCain put his campaign first, and his country last with this shockingly irresponsible decision.

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. Joanna from CA

    I agree with Eve from NY. What a condescending ploy from the Republican camp! Do they really think American women aren't smart enough to vote for a candidate based on their credentials that they had to choose a woman because that's the only way they'll get the female vote?
    I'm very insulted as a woman. Is McCain playing ol' boy politics and trying to put women in their place? Listen up. We won the right to vote, not because we have breasts but because we have brains!

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. democrats for McCain

    Many of us Hillary supportors will back McCain no matter who he would have chosen for V.P. Because we do not like Obama and will never back him. The media is pushing Obama and Hillary was not treated right by the media or Obama. So its McCain for us. At least he is honest.....

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Natalie, Texas

    Very manipulative move on the part of McCain. There is no way I would vote for him just because he chose a woman as his running mate. Nice try, but we are smarter than you think. Although it is kind of entertaining watching him sweat, trying to one-up Obama.

    By the way, Palin has a 5 month old infant with Down syndrome. As a mother of two small children and one on the way, I can't help but wonder where her priorities are when it comes to motherhood and being there for your family when they need you the most. Who's going to play mommy to this child during the campain, and later if for some ungodly reason McCain slimes his way to the presidency? Not very maternal is she? Obama '08

    August 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. Earl

    I saw a post just now about "Liberal Media Bias" regarding the coverage of the democratic convention.

    Hmmm.. 84K to 15K at the conventions?

    I know "has been" music groups that garner more than 15K .... Chaulk it up to the media bending over backward to have fair coverage that they are going to give the rebublican convention the attention it will get....

    If it were fair and unbiased, they would have a few reporters show up...

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. Christian, Tampa FL

    This is ridiculous. McCain has thrown away the election. My Mayor is more qualified for the VP slot than Palin is. I never thought that the Obama campaign would win the experience argument and the change argument at the same time.

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. foxy

    This is tooooo funny... It is very scary to know that Mccain actually thinks that by choosing a women, those of us pissed off about clinton will just run to him... That is just toooooooo funny.
    Hillary cannot be replaced just by anyone... Mccain...

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. LED

    He was immediately impressed with her...maybe he thought she was hot! Seriously, have they had enough time together to know how well they mesh? How they work together under fire? I doubt it.

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  15. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    She is similar to Bush.

    Both were pom pom cheerleaders.

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. Military Girl

    She is only his "RUNNING MATE." She will last maybe a year. Repubs can't take the chance of this woman being President, but neither can the rest of America.

    She's just window dressing for the ticket

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Tom in Delaware

    I think the Democrats are just jealous that the Republicans now have the prettiest person ever on a Presidential ticket.

    Barry just slipped into 2nd place.

    Boo-hoo-hoo

    August 29, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. acspore

    McCain is a gambler, a risk-taker, who's proved that he is not fit to be president. He seems to think this is a chess game, a game to outwit or outplay your opponent. This is not what we need for the leader of the Free World. In his first and most important decision in his political career, he chooses to gamble the interests of America for the sake of winning an election (he thinks!). Talk about "I'd rather lose a campaign than lose a war"! Hah! Apparently not! There goes the double-talk express again!

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. tammy

    I can't believe I am actually taking the side of Republican but...I have to. Since you want to compare the experience of the democratic presidential nom. Obama and the republican vice presidential nom. Palin, I have a question for you. I have only heard about Obama's work as a Community Organizer. What has he done/accomplished as both a state and us senator? If he wins, he will be the president. What has Palin accomplished as a Mayor and Gov. of the State of Alaska? Anyone can be present...but, lets look at the accomplishments. Cnn,since it is apparant that you want to compare a presidential candidate to a vice presidential candidate...why not do a report of what each has accomplished in his/or her position?

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. Jim

    In time, America will realize what a dangerous decision this really is. The woman who will, in theory, be a heartbeat (and an aging heartbeat, at that) away from the Presidency has clearly not been thoroughly vetted. That the runner-up for Miss Alaska will have her finger on the nuclear trigger is almost as frightening a thought as having the finger of an doddering, out of touch, old reactionary with anger issues there.

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. Zuq

    More of the same from McSame.

    TODD PALIN WORKS FOR BP – world's largest oil co.

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Jen

    Her stand on issues are starting to be known...I think McCain is about to ask for a mulligan?

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Faye

    As a woman, this pick is nonsense. They think that we are so dumb that we will just vote cause of gender. We women can think and read, and understand when people speak. We have opinions and this woman does not represent my views at all!!!! SHAME!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. Earl McMinn

    Fire Cambell Brown!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. Dean

    Wow McCain, a beauty queen. Watch out Cindy, you know what happened last time that happened!

    August 29, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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