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. texas democrat

    i think the choice was mccain's. i just didn't understand why he had to stand right there with her giving her speech. he was also looking at her speech. i hope he isn't one of those control freaks. i hope palin does not live to regret this decision.

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  2. SandyJ

    I am a woman who supports Hillary and I can tell you I find McWeirds choice to be an insult . Hey, let's go on a blind date and call it campaigning. If I were Romney, Pawlentry or even Lieberman I would tell McWeird to go back to one of his houses (if he remembers where they are) and not to call for help when whats her name is bringing the ticket down.

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Nonny from WI

    Obama/Biden 08

    Mccain met her when???

    Wow....what a move...too bad this is 2008 and women arent so naive...he could have nominated his wife instead!

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Anna

    I don't know anything about this gritty Governor from Alaska, or what impact she will have on the election or the Hillary voters...

    But nothing in the world besides THIS could have stolen so much next day attention from the speech that 38 million heard last night.

    This day's news is all anyone talks about. He knew Obama was about to make the speech of his life.

    Wow Wow Wow.

    McCain, Stupid? I think it would be very Stupid to underestimate him.
    Very stupid indeed.

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Nancy Williams

    Wow! There have been so many amazing anniversaries of historical events in just this one short week. And today, August 29, is presidential hopeful John McCain"s 72nd birthday – and the 51st anniversary of Sen. Strom Thurmond's (R-South Carolina) 24-hour-long filibuster opposing the Civil Rights Act!

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  6. Earl McMinn

    Cambell Brown has lst her mind!! She is a disgrace to journalist everywhere!!

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Dutch

    So much for the GOP slaming Obama's experience. 2 years ago she was the Mayor of a town of 8,000. WOW! If this is an example of McCain judgement heaven help us. All we need is a hot headed ex-military guy with no judgement at all. I am having a hard time thinking of a more irresponsible act.

    August 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Marty from PA

    This is a LUNATIC decision. Flabbergasting!! Utterly unreal!! I do not want to risk the chance that our country could be run by a person with <2 years as Governor of a state with a population smaller than Baltimore, MD. Frankly, I'd trust the mayor of Baltimore, MD more than Ms. Palin!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Molly

    Who is caring for her young son with Down's Syndrome? Pro-family? Are you serious? Children with Down's have a difficult time bonding anyway. And she has the gall to preach about other women's family values.

    McCain is a disgrace to the office he purportedly wants to hold. He just threw the election. He showed up to a knife fight with a bag of potato chips.

    August 29, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. Tom

    What a disastrous show of poor judgment on the side of McCain. He's 72 years, has had cancer 4 times and chooses the most inexperienced person he can find. What an idiot!!!!!!! He just lost my vote.

    August 29, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. ebby

    I am a young female voter 21 matter of fact. My first time voting for the president and I have something to say.

    Mr McCain did you forget that young voters are watching you as well. A lot of young voters have been watching this campaign from the very beginning.

    Did you forget that we are the future generations. I was tleaning towards you but now I have change my mind.and will vote for Mr. Obama. I do not know Palin and it appears to me that you are riding on her plus using her for your own benefits instead of America. I do not want to waste my vote. My vote is very important to me.

    I did research on every possible VP that I thought you would select. Not in a million years would I think that you would select her because of her credentials was not up to the experience as you quoted to Mr. Obama.

    I narrowed it down to maybe Pawlenty and not Mitt Romney because he is a mormon.

    But now I see what a lot of my friends and future generations are saying.

    No Way
    No How
    No MCCain

    August 29, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. Brian S.

    I laughed when I saw this. I really did.

    The only way you could say Gov. Palin was the right choice is if you didn't think about it for more than a minute. And I mean that literally. If, upon hearing McCain's VP announcement, your first instinct was to cry out, "OMG A WOMAN VP MCCAIN RULZ 2008!!!" and then not think about your decision until November, then yes, you could say Palin was a good choice.

    Think about it for more than a minute, however, and several ugly truths are revealed. Like how McCain criticized Obama for 3 months about his experience and then choose a VP with even less. Like how she is under investigation for corruption charges. Like how she stands on the FAR right of every single issue involving women. And, like how she was caught, ON TAPE, saying she doesn't know what the VP does, in July of this year. Yes, a month ago the current Republican VP nominee said she didn't know what a VP does.

    No, this was a bad choice. A terrible choice. A choice that is completely reliant on the ignorance and knee-jerk reaction of voters. Feminism, like Civil Rights, is about equality, not preference. If you believe Palin is right for the job, vote for her. But only for that reason.

    August 29, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Valerie, CA

    I completely agree with another commenter who said that McCain's personal ambitions are more important than the good of the country. He wants to win, period, and he is picking a woman in hopes he will pick up the Hillary supporters, or just women in general that would like to see a woman as Vice President. How can he choose someone that he has only met twice, when he has always based his politcal career around strong, long-term relationships? To think he is willing to put our country in jeapardy by choosing a person who is clearly not qualified to run the country in the event of his death is just completely irresponsible, not to mention frightening. I can only hope people will see through his transparent strategy, and they will realize that Obama is the one who chose the person he feels is most qualified to run our country in his absence, as well as a person with a tremendous amount of experience in the government...not a person he feels will just get him to the White House. For McCain, winning at any cost is no better than a person who cheats his way through life at the expense of others. And I am tired of hearing how McCain is the type of person to take chances and roll the dice...NOW is not the time to roll the dice, our entire country is at stake here. Again, total irresponsibility–and lack of clear judgement–on his part. Think of the terrorists...they are licking their lips right now hoping McCain wins, and topples over dead.

    August 29, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. Debbie J Lindsay

    Finally, a ticket I can vote for!!! I was just saying yesterday over lunch that I probably would just not vote this year. Because it wouldn't be voting for someone, it would be voting against someone. As of today, with the nomination of Gov. Palin, I feel we have a viable option. I am thrilled with this choice. I was not a Hilary voter. I am a Republican, that hadn't been to thrilled with my options. I watched the entire Democratic Convention, and was quite moved emotionally by Joe Biden's son Beau Biden, but still not moved to vote for Barrack Obama. Knowing the accomplishments that Gov. Palin achieved in such a short time, considering her political career is albeit miniscule compared to Joe Biden, I can not imagine what she can accomplish as a Vice President with many years of political promise ahead of her. I will not only now cast my vote wholeheartedly for the Republican Ticket, I will seek out ways that I can help ensure their success. I am a Vice President of a large staffing firm and I have seen first hand the economic condition in the blue collar world of work. I feel so strongly that this new Republican ticket, can make I will most definately cast my vote for John McCain as well as encourage as many others to do the same as I can manage.
    Imagine, Republicans taking advantage of the Democratic Mantra, without ever having uttered the words. John McCain with his choice of running mate has actually already made "Change We Can Believe In!" Fabulous!

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. gene martin

    i think mccain was drinking some spice kool aid when he made his vp pick. once a dem always a dem mccain is the wrong pick to lead our country. he is not in touch with the people. i believe mccain is satan just look at him devil the wrap up in one.

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. Mike in Detroit

    I just read about Palin over at talkingpointsmemo. I can't believe that McCain picked this woman as his veep. She was the mayor of a town of about 8,000 when she ran for governor and won, and used her new job as governor to pressure a subordinate to fire her ex brother-in-law who was a state trooper. She is currently under investigation, and has changed her story during the course of it. There is no way that this person is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of the US military. McCain has made a serious mistake by picking a neophyte idealogue with no foreign policy experience to be "a heart beat away" from the presidency, and it perfectly illustrates his lack of good judgement at this critical time in our history.

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. chyatesg

    My wife and I are conservatives. We have not liked McCain because he has been so wishy washy on key conservative issues.

    Obama's stands on so many issues means we would never vote for him. So our family was going to hold our noses and vote Republican. We were not going to put up signs, make phone calls, financial contribute to McCain.

    Now with the inclusion of Palin, we are energized. McCain has made the best decision of his life and one we can whole heartedly support. The Governor brings our conservative values and out of the Beltway viewpoints to the ticket.

    The Media just does not get it!

    It is not about getting Clinton followers who are proabortion and big government supporters. It is about energizing the conservatives and appealing to all the people outside of DC, NYC, LA, etc. The men and women who are fed up with all the political and media elites who are out of sync with middle America. Palin is not like all the reporters with their liberal agendas and condos in the city. She is one of us!

    Where do I sign up for the McCain/Palin team?

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. Francine from Quebec

    I would think that a good working relationship might be an important factor in determining ones running mate..Hmmmmm . One conversation.....

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  19. Dave - Washington, DC

    Can you say Mondale/Ferraro? Does McCain WANT to lose? This is just an SNL sketch waiting to happen. I say this as someone who's always had a soft spot for McCain, and I kinda think that Obama is profoundly creepy. That said, I think McCain's just thrown away the election with this stunt pick.

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. pot calling the kettle black

    Why all the Democrats on here keep saying the same things over and over, like-no one should vote for Palin just because she is woman. Well, I got news for you all. I have been one Republican that has been saying for months that I will wait til after the debates, after learning as much as possible about both of their policies, plans, and issues, and we get closer to Nov before I decide 100% who my vote goes to. With that being said, I would like to give the same advice out...to any party..do NOT vote for Obama just because he black. That is racist, unamerican, wrong, and not in the best interest of the country!!

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. Claudia

    Campbell Brown, why are you so visibly upset by McCain's choice, trying to coerce a guest into admitting that she was shy on experience, calling a great governor a "former beauty queen".....anything to demean her. Shame on you Campbell, you have reached a new low, right down there with the disgusting Jack Cafferty, I thought you were supposed to be objective in journalism, you sound just plain jealous. You should grow up.

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Republican't

    Great Scott! after one meeting six months ago, McCain offers her the number 2 spot. we republicans are getting dumber and dumber

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. Lisa from VA

    Palin said that Hillary's whining during the primaries "turned her off". Well, now she thinks she can praise Hillary and I will vote for her just because she's a woman. I don't think so missy.

    August 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. RapidRay

    Trophy wife...trophy running mate.

    August 29, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. RJ

    Superb choice — absolutely superb — McCain and Palin. I was so hoping he'd pick Sarah — and aren't her children darling - Michelle?! Back to sanity instead of a Las Vegas Greek-columned spectacle, crowning Obama, the emperor with no clothes. On to victory in November — REAL change and REAL solutions for America — the BEST country on earth!

    August 29, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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