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. John

    I'd feel good about McCain negotiating with Putin (ex-KGB)/Medvedev
    I'd feel good about Obama negotiating with Putin (ex-KGB)/Medvedev

    I'd feel good about Hillary Clinton negotiating with Putin/Medvedev
    I'd feel great about Biden negotiating with Putin (ex-KGB)/Medvedev

    I feel sick at the possibility of Palin dealing with Russia/Pakistan/etc...
    The half-term governor of a small, isolated, state like Alaska?!?!

    This is a weird choice–very scary....

    August 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Bill

    Joe Biden will be there to help Obama with presidential decisions has an experienced VP. John McCain wouldn't be there to help Palin because he would be dead for her to be president. That is why in the reverse experience is just as important. Obama has seen Washington and she has not. Also McCain has met her once she will be a VP like Truman was with Rosevelt, left out of the loop and she won't have the experience of being a US Senator in Washington.

    August 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Kristal,TX

    AS A HILLARY SUPPORTER, I AM INSULTED. I supported Hillary because of her experience. For John McInsane to choose a women candidate who was virtually unknown until this morning is absolutely INSANE!!! I must say...HIS DECISION TODAY FRIGHTENS ME!!!

    I am no longer on the fence. OBAMA IS GOING TO BE MY CHOICE FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    August 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Elizabeth

    What a frightening choice. God help us all if McCain is elected and Palin takes over.

    August 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Young HRC

    John McCain has just insulted Hillary supporters with this obvious political ploy. Some people still don't get it. It wasn't because Hillary was a woman, it was the type of woman she was (her experience, talent, and history) and the values and issues she stood for. I always thought that McCain had a chance to pick up Hillary supporters by choosing a woman VP, but this is a joke! I can't wait until Joe Biden debates Palin and hopefully says: "I know Hillary Clinton, and you ma'am are no Hillary Clinton!"

    Let the games begin.

    August 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. pp

    Is Mcain sick?

    August 29, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. Donald from SC

    The biggist flip-flop by McCain to date. How unfit the claim against Senator Obama, yet McCain chooses a complete newby.

    Well republicans are you proud about McCain's experience now?

    August 29, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. B. B. Goel

    Probably Cindy McCain is not serving John as per his satisfaction (it’s like Bill Clinton selecting Monica for his VP for his 3rd term). So John fell for this attractive lady to accompany him for most of his time in white house (if selected). Thank God, John McCain does not spend much time in Las Vegas casinos.

    August 29, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. Tiffany Woods

    I believe that McCain only did this only out of desperation. His choice for vp is just so reckless. This man must clearly be demented, I mean really he should go visit his doc asap!!!! Nothing against her but he is still at the top of the ticket!!!! If she is so against the same ol Washington...why the heck did she agree to be on the ticket with him!!!! I would clearly be ashamed to be a Republican right now...God please save us and let Barack become the next president of the United States of America!!!!

    August 29, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  10. Robin Gadd

    Give me a break......obviously this man felt very comfortable with her which he usually does not ... it is what it is...

    August 29, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. Dennis

    Some others may have been a better choice as mate, but she is the first one to say yes. Until we know the questions and answers with the others, let's find issues with or against her policies; not just that she is a woman.

    To those ranting about her taking time away from her kids. Why is this different if it was her husband leaving her and the kids to be VP? The kids will be with her after work either as Gov or VP. The same as Bill with Chelsea, Jimmy with Amy, and JFK with Caroline and John....

    August 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. Liv

    This great choice, sorry that Obama did not nominated Hillary. I am inclining to the female in the government. I think we had enough of men's power, we need to refresh it with some women in power.
    I would vote for Hillary, for Obama/Hillary, now it might be McCain/Palin.

    August 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. We the People

    What an amazing diatribe of idiocy! For those of you who think this is about Hillary you are dead wrong. For those of you who question Gov. Palin's experience you stand in contridiction if you support Sen. Obama and his experience. Those who are insulted by the decision of Sen. McCain have already been mesmerized by the rhetoric of a charismatic Chicago democrat and therefore mentally incapable of critical analysis. For those who think that McCain is to old lest they forget, 2 of the our past presidents Carter & GHW Bush are still alive and both 88 and Presidents Ford and Reagan died at 93 & 92 respectively. Obviously presidents receive the best health care available so fear not.

    This selection is about solidifying the conservative base while simultaneously giving the independent voter a sense that Sen. McCain is not like President Bush who came into office corting the old guard republicans. McCain has upset the apple cart and the Obama dominated media was caught completely off guard and frankly they are in the same camp with the mesmerized sheeple.

    Gov. Palin is as close to the average American, politics aside, as there has ever been on a presidential party ticket in the last one hundred years and thus truly connected to the heart and soul of middle of the road America. She embodies what the founding fathers intended when they wrote the frame work for this great country, "for the people, of the people, by the people".

    Neither party had my interest as I stand for limited federal government and strong state government. I believe in the constitution and its original intent. Both parties abandoned the constitution a century ago and governmental policy is left to the NGO's, Think Tanks, and 527 foundations. I fear the undefined "fundamental change" Sen. Obama speaks of based on his past connections to known socialist and marxist. Although Sen. McCain is considered a maverick for his past splits with his party he has been invloved in the Washington political machine for too many years. But I do admire Sen. McCain for his bold and anti-establishment VP choice, knowing the scrutiny and harsh criticism he would receive. Will I vote third party as I have in the past? Yes I will, it is a matter of principle something many of you don't understand.

    "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" (Patrick Henry)
    Freed by the Grace of G_d

    As the election draws near

    August 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. Jesse

    Geez can't any of you democrats just acknowledge that this choice is pretty remarkable and in many good ways? Yeah, he doesn't know her real well, yeah she's new on the scene (so is barack) but look at her pluses at least. It's a woman on the GOP ticket! Never was that supposed to happen in the white man party! She fought against corruption in her own party. She has executive experience, yes not much but has executive experience. She's noble for having her down syndrome child when not having him would be so much easier. She has a 70-80% approval rating in her state. I mean how often does anyone get that kind of rating? She seems quite intelligent and articulate, very unlike Bush as most of you think Bush is.

    I know why there's nothing except for attacks against her and that's because you're scared she will energize the conservatives and steal some of the more moderate democrats. I understand that, very well but you democrats just keep proving yourself to me and most of this country to be vicious, selfish, hypocritical, defeatist nuts to be quite frank.

    At the very least you could praise McCain for making history and choosing a high quality person who's a woman, which isn't a rare phenomenon. Let him have his time to introduce us to her instead of demonizing her before she even says a word. You democrats scare the hell out of me.

    I personally think the choice was brilliant and reactionary or not it's sheer genius. Conservatives are extremely reenergized by her. This selection is truly a game changer and I'm quite interested in finding out more about Palin and her ideas and methods. We have two reformers running against two strict party liners. And I am quite sure you can determine who is who.

    I say let the games begin!

    August 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Dora Rodarte

    As a Hillary supporter, I am really excited about Palin on the Republican ticket. Republicans have my vote. She seems like a strong working mom who can relate to all of us women, plus not all Democrate women go for pro-choice. Like Palin some of us believe that life begins on conception.

    August 29, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  16. Andrea

    McCain think that picking a woman as his running mate is enough to attract some of women that supporterted Hillary Clinton...sorry McCain, i don't think this is going to happen...i find it very insulting not only to all women but also to all the americal people.

    August 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. RANDRIANIRINA

    Good choice.

    August 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. Robin Gadd

    She is a strong gen xer..... a missing link in the political area. I was not a huge John McCain fan but obviously he is not afraid of strong influencial women. That in itself is a refreshing change. I believe the women opossing this are insecure and not confident in themselves. Poor ladies...they are missing out

    August 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. cathy s sacramento california

    OMG Sarah Palin- remarkable choice- except -– as a mom,

    as a pro choice –stay a home mom,– with a child in the Army

    deployed 3 times in 5 years, I played softball, I coached for

    3 years, I own my own childcare center for 22 years, I have been

    married for 26 , I have served on numerous community events in

    26 years, WHO IS GOING TO CARE FOR THE TINY INFANT, WITH

    SPECIAL NEEDS, Daddy???? He wasn't holding him>>>>>

    Children need mothers, and SPECIALCHILDREN NEED SPECIAL
    MOTHERS, SARAH IS A SPECIAL PERSON OBVIOUSLY – SHE SHOULD BE

    A MOTHER FIRST AND NOT PUT HER MOTHERING OFF ON ANOTHER PERSON, HE IS A SPECIAL BABY, SOME MAY SAY GOD GIVES

    SPECIAL BABIES TO SPECIAL MOTHERS, SHE IS A SPECIAL HUMAN

    MAYBE SHE SHOULD BE SPECIAL WHERE SHE IS -- SHE IS

    NOT SPECIAL ENOUGH TO DECIDE MY CHILD'S FATE IN IRAQ,

    GOD FORBID, SHOULD THAT HAPPEN, SHE IS NOT SPECIAL ENOUGH TO FIND A JOB FOR THE 3 FAMILIES I KNOW NEED WORK, SHE IS NOT SPECIAL ENOUGH TO PROVIDE ME HEALTH CARE I DONT HAVE ANY, AND I WOULD LOVE MY CHILD TO BE HOME FOR A (JUST ONE OUT OF 5) FOR CHRISTMAS I am sure she is

    a unique compelling person, but she should not be one heartbeat

    away from the fate of 300 million americans. We have

    George dubya Bush for that.

    god bless her and her family and god bless America

    August 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. Liz

    So what if he only had one meeting. That was enough to impress him with her qualifications. Look at Obama, he had many meetings with Clinton and he still did not choose her as his VP. He is so threatened by the strength of Clinton that he did not choose her to be his running mate. Its good to see a woman running in this election as VP but I am sorry that the democrats were not strong and brave enough to give Hillary a part of the ticket. I heard Larry King asking the republican strategist tonight if there were no other more experienced republican candidates that would be more suitable for the VP position. What about Obama? He has no experience and he is the democrat selection so which is worst off. He is going for the top office without any experience and she is only the VP.

    August 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. sabrina NY

    I am a Hilary supporter and was on the fence as to who to vote for.
    After McCain's choice for VP I am voting for Obama. It's obvious that McCain cannot be trusted to make an intelligent decision for my country. He should not be president. Why would a Hilary supporter feel any support for a pro-life,gun loving conservative. No contest McCain's choice handed Obama the election.

    August 29, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. Richard A. Spomer

    Calling for support and Action:

    I have over come many of lives disabling circumstances. I’m an Independent Voter, I shook President Clintons hand at Red Rocks Amp Theater in Denver, Colorado, I told him then to support the differently abled population! The Republican Party has taken the high road at recruiting or getting, and supporting Governor Palin, knows the challenges which faces her child and others futures.

    So I personally call upon everyone which has or will be facing the challenges of a disabling condition. The Democrats are playing the race card. So I'm asking for the support of Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and everyone else that has integrety.

    Sincerely,

    Richard A. Spomer

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  23. Colhen

    Didn't President Reagan meet Sandra O'Connor only once before asking her to serve on the Supreme Court? Don't we all go to a job interview only once before being hired?

    It is BETTER to evaluate someone's credentials on actual track records than by meeting the "applicant" socially. And exactly how many meetings do you deem appropriate to hold to "meet" a person, before hiring him/her? 2? 3? 10?

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  24. Independant

    To the people who keep chanting:
    "McCain 2008 Hillary 2012″

    Are you out of your minds?! That is a horrible choice!

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  25. Erica, WI

    The problem is not that she has no experience, the problem is that he doesn' t know her and he clearly chose her because his camp thinks her being a woman will help his campaign. For those of us who don't know her, she could very well be qualified. Yet his choosing her under the present circumstances shows how lightly he took the decision of who would replace him should something cause him to be unable to serve.

    John McCain clearly lacks judgement and will do what ever he thinks that it will take to get elected.

    no one should vote for this man.

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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