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. Hillary Supporter not falling for it McCain

    I don't care that Palin has a special-needs child just like how I don't care that McCain was a POW or that Biden lost his wife and child in a car crash or how Obama's father was completely absent.

    What I care about is that my body is not up for negotiation, I demand that my pay be equal, and more importantly, I demand that every single American have the same exact rights that I do. And for McCain to think that because I have a vagina I'm going to think that his old, mysoginistic ask picked a woman that I will vote for him? He's got another thing coming.

    I was a Hillary supporter not because of her genetalia, but because of her policies. Policies that are closely linked to Obama's. So why would I ever, even for a fleeting moment, consider voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin? He voted against equal pay, and against the domestic violence act (penned by Joe Biden). So why, why would I find his choice anything other than a gross misjudgment and slap in the face of the American people, especially women. A woman with no policies or bad policies is no better, and in my opinion, much worse than a man with okay policies.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. Steve - southern Illinois

    I'm anxious to hear what David Gergan has to say regarding Palin.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. Dharmendra Rai

    This election, Palin even could not dream the dreams that Hillary gave to those who made the 18M cracks. Only the future Republican primaries will tell whether her party deems her worth that dream or not.

    Republicans, please don’t play gender or race card; public is much smarter than you think.

    McCain should save his 28th August aid for November. He will need it then, when the Historic journey that Obama started by accepting Democratic nomination becomes a milestone in the History of American Presidency.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Eugene

    Obama and Biden will confer as equals. McCain will need to tutor Palin. She is a promising young woman, but totally unable to take the reins of the Presidency if needed.

    August 29, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. Susan - New Jersey

    I am at a loss for words on this one. And when I read comments who support McCain's VP choice knowing he met her once....this is just to scary for words and it truly makes me sick. That kind of stressful sick to my stomach sick. Who is she??? If Mr. 72 were to God forbid, die, she would be PRESIDENT PEOPLE!!!! WAKE UP!!! Before you pledge your dying love for this match made in hell, please find out who the heck she is first please. And we know why he picked her, the day after Biden was picked he calls her. For one reason only and we all know it. This stupid old man is playing politics with OUR LIVES!!! I hate this man. He doesn't get it, how stupid does he think us women are and I do hope all you women out there will THINK!!! THINK!!! Were you behind Hillary for her or just because she was a woman? Big difference I might add, if you were behind her just for the sake of her being a woman only, shame on all of you with that thought process. And for all of you who will vote for McCain because Obama didn't pick her, again, shame on you. For the entire time they were both campaining they both were so alike they had to make sure and to fight for something that made them different. So please stop the petty bull....So some of you say that you would rather McCain run this country because Obama didn't pick Hillary as his VP. So your going to vote for McCain. It's as if your cutting your nose to spite your face. Such absolute disregard for this country over your mindless reason that a "woman" is not in the Dem's picture, please look in the mirror and ask yourself why you really wanted Hillary.

    And anyone who would vote for a woman just for the sake of having a woman president in your lifetime is a very narrow minded, selfish reason if you ask me. Scary, so very scary. I wanted Hillary to win also because of who she is, what she has done and in my heart, I believe she would have made a great president. But she didn't win, and I'll vote of Obama. McCain, his charity stealing wife and this whoever she is..... I have to go, I'm getting sick.

    August 29, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. nedustbunny

    Hey, I was a soccer mom, can I be VP?

    August 29, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Mary Huhn

    I just wanted to let you know that I watched your coverage of the VP announcement by John McCain today. After listening to the commentaries, I have decided to upgrade my satellite programming to include FOX News. I have resisted paying the extra money for over 5 years, however, it will now be worth the price.
    A few of your commentors were so unobjective, and blasted such spin (ex. Hillary Rosen and some other dude), to brainwash people into believing that John McCain made the biggest mistake of his life. In acutally, that was a brilliant choice. As for the argument of being a "heartbeat away," we are all a heartbeat away. Remember Sinatra's song "I did it my way." Go John.
    Goodbye fellas.

    August 29, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. DK

    The truth about Sara Paline

    In 2006, get this, she was for the Bridge to no where. But today she said she was against.

    Against Polar bears on the endangered species list

    Believes that there is no such thing as global warming

    Is strongly prolife

    Called Hillary "a whiner"

    August 29, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. I'm Right!

    Unreal! When McCain introduced her, he had to look down at the paper to read her name. No way, no how, no McPalin!

    Obama-Biden '08

    How many words can you get out of: OBAMABIDEN

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  10. hilary zipperstein

    i am flabergasted that this woman was nominated i am astonished that the united states is playing this game it is disgusting> the republicans should be ashamed for themselves for being even more ignorant than ever>
    mccain is a dinosaur and now< simply because he wants to out do the wonder of obama
    good luck getting internation respect after this choice

    god forbid mccain is elected

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Keely

    To Charlotte, NC: I couldn't agree more. It was an attempt at a clever ploy and will end the same way it started. BUST! Phalin is no Hillary, never was, and never will be. When will men stop trying to exploit women for their own enrichment?

    The justification was just too obvious. Insulting, actually. That poor baby boy – I feel horrible that the GOP would use a loving family to crusade against Roe v. Wade.

    Are we sure Karl Rove wasn't part of this?

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Chris

    Wow, it didn't take long for the dirt to come out. Palin is under 2 ethics investigations for abusing her power to get a state trooper fired who was involved in a bitter custody dispute with her sister. Holy cow, how did the vetting miss this. I guess John shouldn't have chosen someone he only met once. I guess her reputation of a fighter of corruption is gonna take a hit on that. Strike one. No foreign policy experience. Strike Two. A right to lifer trying to court Hillary's Pro-Choice Base? Strike Three. Your're out Palin. Seriously, McCain should have chosen Mitt, at least he could have delivered an important state to the electoral total.

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. III

    Wow, Folks,
    Is this the man whose hands we are going to put the future of AMERICA to?
    A 73 year old man, who needs a young woman around him chosen by "loved at the first glance" to boost his job up?
    He does not even know what he can expect from this woman!!!
    They will need to work very close days by days, solving huge problems of the World, and of Amercia, and be ready for each other any day or night!
    What will happen to the country if he wakes up from this delirium?

    What if it comes out that they CAN NOT WORK TOGETHER?
    The World, including America is in a huge danger of Natural catastropes, Climate Changing, Energy Crisis, Financial depth, Terrorism, etc.
    Can we afford a "love at the first glance" in this circumstansis for our leadres?

    Well, these are all happening because of the big mistake of the Democratic Party not choose Hillary Clinton, who has already been approved what the country would be, if she would be.....
    She was preparing for this job for 8 years, and was working through the primary wonderfully.......Well, SHE would be the real choice for the country!
    But it is already done, and we all accepted Obama.

    But please, Don't let this OLD MAN to destroy the dream what Obama set into our mind , the hope, what we are trusting in...

    McCain is an absolutely bad choice! He just proved this with his OLd Male-type mistake today!

    This is the typical "old man and the young Lady story"! America! Where are you going!
    If we are giving power to an old guy who is showing that he is making the Male-like mistake who needs a presence of young lady around them to refreshing their life!
    Wow, please don't let him lead us, our wondeful country to the final diasaster. (It is enough for us to cope with the Natural disasters, we don't need to add more to these by a bad choice!)

    Please America, wake up!

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Christie

    I am shocked that no one else has picked up on this. Palin has a young baby–less than a year old that has Down Syndrome and the woman is more worried about her career than caring for a child that very obviously needs his mother??? She is totally disregarding the special needs of her child. How will she fulfill the demands of travel and the needs of her children? Something will go neglected. And please, I am a feminist, mother of 3, one of which had cancer and necessitated me prioritizing my child over my career while we stabilized him and completed chemo. If a woman decides to have children, they are also committing to meeting their needs irregardless of what they actually turn out to be.

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. Proud Democrat

    This was obviously not a decision reflecting "America First." This was a decision generated from a desparate self serving agenda.

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  16. Dee

    People, this just goes to show that McCain is completely out of his wig!!!!! For PUMA and any other simple minded voter (whether your male or female), this bud's for you!!!!!! LOLOLOL
    Oh my goodness, I can't hold the laughter in, WHAT A NUTCASE!!!!!!

    LOLOLOL

    August 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. Dee

    HaHaHa!! McCAIN THINKS YOU WOMEN ARE SIMPLE-MINDED. HE BELIEVES YOU WOMEN WILL "GO FETCH" HIM A VOTE IF HE CHOOSES THIS LADY. McSAME WILL LET HER TALK AND THINK ALL SHE WANTS UNTIL HE HITS OFFICE. THEN YOU WILL HARDLY HER A PEEP OUT OF HER AND IT'S BACK TO THE STONE AGES FOR YOU WOMEN. DON'T LET THIS MAN FOOL YOU. THIS PAULIN LADY SAID "WHAT EXACTLY DOES A VP DO EVERYDAY". WHAT THE HECK IS THAT!! McCAIN ONLY MET THE LADY ONCE. IF THIS ISN'T A SCAM TO GET HIM VOTES THEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE "NEXT COMMANDER AND CHIEF"!! McSAME IS TRYING TO PREY ON THE SIMPLE-MINDED SO THAT YOU CAN LET HIM SREW-UP YOUR LIVES FOR AN ADDITIONAL FOUR YEARS. OH YEAH!!! FOR 19 MONTHS I HAVE BEEN HEARING "WE DON'T KNOW OBAMA". WILL I HEAR THE SAME ABOUT THIS LADY NO ONE KNOWS BUT THE ALASKIANS? SHE BEING USED...AND IT'S SAD THAT IT COULD BE A WOMEN THAT HELPS TAKE YOU BACK TO THE 20'S (FOR WOMEN). I WONDER IF SHE EVEN KNOWS THAT McCAIN DOESN'T SUPPORT WOMEN'S RIGHTS??

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. gl

    McShame have been shotting at the hip this whole campaign. He makes important decision with little thought to it. He was quick to run his month reagarding Russia now after two meeting her two times and selected her come on. I am a secretary and I was interview more time for my position then she what a bad judgement . He made this decision all out of getting in the spotlight. He love being in the spotlight and he will have this country fighting one war after another. He have is no marverick. He is a old fool. He just don't get it.

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. Women aren't Stupid

    I wonder if Sean Hannity and Karl Rove were sitting members of his
    advisory board?

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  20. Jennifer Davis

    Charlotte, The bigger insult is the way Hillary was treated by the party that she and her husband built. If you are looking for insults against women, take a look at the 2008 Democratic Primary race. Hil won 9 out of the last 14 primaries but was asked (forced) to conceed to OB. As a feminist, I am no longer a die hard Dem, but open to other scenarios.

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. Bulldog

    I sure hope women don't fall for this clear political stunt. In fact, it seems it is an insult to women's intelligence to think they will vote for a woman because she is a woman and not vote based on the issues.

    I hope women understand that this woman wants to completely outlaw abortion rights for women including pregnancies by rape. She is a radical pro-life activist.

    This is a joke by John McCain, the one who claims to put country first. With his age he is the highest risk presidential canidate to have health problems which means his VP is very likely have to step in to be President if he wins.

    While Palin may be an attractive lady she is a sports journalist who has only been involved in small town politics and only served the small population of Alaska for 1.5 years.

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  22. Kevin

    I had the wierdest dream last night.... John McCain got himself one of those mail order Polynesian brides..... whew! Thank goodness that was just a bad dream!

    I'm not laughing with Senator McCain... I'm laughing AT him!

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Chris

    You republicans that are pretending to be Hillary supporters are not fooling ANYONE!! If you love Hillary, you love her because of the issues that she stands for. If you supported Hillary just because she was a woman, than you weren't really a supporter. Sarah Palin has no experience, stands for the reverse of what Hillary does, and has only met John McCain once? You are calling the American women of this country stupid. We know better. Change is on the way and it DOESN'T include Sarah Palin and John McCain.

    Wake up people!

    August 29, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. J Fredin

    Watch the face of the woman behind McCain as he made the announcement of his choice for his VP running mate. The woman had no idea of the name that was coming, and looked severely worried and had no idea where McCain was going until he said "Sarah Palin". That die-hard Republican would have had the same reaction if he had chosen some stranger on the corner, and to many Americans and most of the world, that's just what he did. Politics in action.

    August 29, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. RJ

    What does it say about McCain's judgment that he chose someone to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency based on ONE face to face meeting?

    August 29, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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