April 17th, 2009
08:23 PM ET
5 years ago

Palin as VP pick: 'high risk, high reward'

A.B. Culvahouse said Palin would have 'made a great vice president.'
A.B. Culvahouse said Palin would have 'made a great vice president.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A.B. Culvahouse, the attorney tasked with leading the vetting process for Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, said Friday that he thoroughly scrutinized Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and said that he "came away impressed."

McCain's vetting process came under scrutiny after numerous surprises about Palin popped up in the weeks after she was tapped as his vice presidential pick. Culvahouse said he and his team of 30 lawyers knew everything, including the fact that her teenage daughter was pregnant. He suggested that the campaign staff that talked to the media may not have been fully informed, which "led to the impression that those issues had been withheld."

"Gov. Palin told us everything. Everything except the pregnancy of her daughter was on a response to the written questionnaire," Culvahouse said Friday at a Republican National Lawyers Association National Policy Conference. "She told me there was one issue she wanted to talk about when we went in for the interview. We knew everything going in."

Culvahouse said they started with 26 candidates who didn't know they were under consideration. Once the list was narrowed down to six, each person was given a survey with 74 questions, which he said included specific questions, like "have you ever been unfaithful," but not "what the meaning of is, is."

"Me and two of my most cynical partners interviewed her and we came away impressed," Culvahouse said of his interview with Palin. "I think she would've made a great vice president."

He said he gave her three "leading" questions, asking if she was prepared to use nuclear weapons, why she wanted to be vice president, and if the CIA located Osama bin Laden, but shooting him would result in civilian casualties, what would she do. Culvahouse said she "knocked those three questions out of the park."

Culvahouse said McCain was the "decider," but that he was not allowed to pick anyone that had not been vetted. But when McCain asked him for the "bottom line" on Palin, Culvahouse said the Republican nominee liked the "risk" involved.

"I said, John, high risk, high reward," Culvahouse said. "His response, you shouldn't have told me that. I've been a risk-taker all my life."


Filed under: Extra • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Shawn

    Being a worldwide joke is a "reward?"

    Odd.

    April 17, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Bill

    There is something very wrong with American society which dwarfs the current economic problems. To believe that Palin is competent shows how far the thought process of Americans has fallen. Our educational systems are in complete disrepair, right along with our infrastructure. Culvahouse, you are kidding, right?

    April 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. KLK

    Was it worth the risk?

    April 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Bob H.

    "Me and two of my most cynical partners interviewed her and we came away impressed," Culvahouse said of his interview with Palin. "I think she would've made a great vice president."

    That poor use of the English language should tell us something about people advising John McCain. "Me and two of my most cynical partners..." Good grief, could not McCain find someone with at least a 6th grade education who can properly speak the language? I think that tells us a lot – it tells us about the education level and mentality of people surround McCain., What a shame. Hire the handicapped...well, yes..but good grief, when you have advisers in the public eye and ear find some who speak properly!

    "Me...interviewed her..." YIKES!!! No wonder the GOP looked and sounded so weak. Palin, to begin with, wasted her education; McCain added to the empty bucket by hiring Culvahouse!

    Well, maybe next time those of us who have ever voted GOP will find someone with some degree of smarts!

    April 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Dan

    She's very ignorant, but she has a certain appeal to that minority of Americans that don't realize what she's really saying. I call it the dumbing of America and she's at the helm leading the charge. Go Sarah ! Go ! Go ! Go !

    April 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. ChicagoJosh

    I can just imagine the snarky snicker by McCain after he said he's been a risk taker all his life.

    It would of been another tough talking short thinking 3rd term.

    April 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Jay

    Dont believe it.............

    April 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Chris

    As a lifelong liberal and staunch Obama supporter...I count my blessings everyday that McCain picked Palin! :)

    April 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Domina

    Whatever do you people ever have anything nice to say about Palin..

    April 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Edmontonian

    Mr. McCain: in life there is acceptable risk and then there is throwing your money away. You threw away any chance at the presidency the moment you picked Palin.

    April 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. John

    She ultimately was high risk no reward, unless the Republicans are saying that without Caribou Barbie they would have lost by an even larger margin. I would like to see the answers to the questions that she "knocked out of the park". We may not sleep too well if we knew what her answers actually were.
    I'm guessing it looked like this:

    Q. Are you prepared to use Nuclear Weapons?

    A. I look forward to it, I believe God has a plan for me that involves the end of life on Earth.

    Q. If the CIA could kill Osama Bin Laden, but doing so would result in civilian casualites would you give the order?

    A. Yes, I look forward to giving such an order, I believe God has a plan for me that involves the end of life on Earth.

    Q. Why do you want to be Vice-President?

    A. I enjoy working with people and I believe God has a plan for me that involves the end of life on Earth.

    April 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. wishing

    An interesting philosophical question for Democrats and Republicans, which may become real; how many civilians would you be ready to kill in order to kill Bin Laden? Think about it.

    April 17, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Eric J in St.Louis

    I can see the high risk......but HIGH REWARD?? This woman can't even control her family and you have a bunch here that want her to control the country......GEESH!!!

    April 17, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. KLK

    Was the presidency worth risking?

    April 17, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Joe E.

    Sarah Palin never was and never will be a person that I would trust. In that respect she is essentially the same as GW Bush.

    April 17, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. Patriot

    Sorry, but I fail to see where the "high reward" is.

    April 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. ANGIE

    I can't believe what I just read. the people doing the vetting are morons. Come on this woman can't complete a sentence. How in the world did they thing she could vp. she's an idiot.

    April 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Mark

    "Knocked those three out of the park"? Did she have a bat at the interview? Oh, and great questions...it is easy to see you are a republican.

    April 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. JeanA

    This woman is a dynamic speaker and she speaks from the heart. If she gets out there in front of the American people with her message for this country it is over for the democrats. The American people will fall in love with this woman and her message.

    The MSM will continue to bash this woman because they have invested everything in ObamaTheTeleprompter and things are starting to fall apart for the ONE.

    Right now there are probably 10 million people that voted for Obama that wish they could take that vote back and the MSM knows this.

    The majority of this country is looking for a true leader to follow, one that is For the People, By the People, Of the People.

    What say you Gov. Palin?
    What say you Gov. Palin?
    What say you Gov. Palin?

    April 17, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. KLS

    Because of McCain's decision to add Palin to his ticket I decided to vote for Obama. I've always liked McCain and he should have won the GOP nomination in 2000. He made a big mistake with Palin.
    So far I'm not sorry for changing parties and voting for Obama.

    April 17, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. WBN

    Yep, Gov. Palin is a sharp cookie, whose personna is "a good ol' gal." Too bad the liberal media are so afraid of her for some reason and take every opportunity (still!) to discredit and destroy her.

    April 17, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Marge

    When she first appeared as McCains VP candidate I thought she was OK. But the more you see her travelling the country and her views the more she is shown as what she is and it sure don't look like what I would want in a president. She is too radical. Thank goodness she didn't get in as VP.

    But the more she goes the more she looses a lot of support. She has to remember that there are not enough republicans to elect her on her own. That she has to have support from Democrats and Independants also and she just don't fit their mold.

    April 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. KLK

    I think she would have made a great VP, but the media was out to destroy her, CNN, ABC, CBS and Msm the Obama supporters.
    _________________________________________________

    Everyone's at fault except Sarah herself? This is the attitude of a loser.

    April 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. AB

    The Retreads had their day in the sun – good thing it's over.

    April 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Chi Town

    CNN must love this lady... she gets more air time than Barry.

    April 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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