(CNN) – Her father's surprise pick of Sarah Palin to be his running mate so shocked Meghan McCain that she became hysterical and "panicked," the Arizona senator's daughter told Jay Leno Wednesday.
"I found out an hour before I went on stage with her. I think they were scared I would say something or whatever. Like the rest of the country, I had no idea who she was and I was actually crying on the bus on the way to the rally," said McCain, who is promoting her new book, "Dirty, Sexy, Politics."
"And then I found out who she was, and I remember being on stage and distinctly thinking, 'God, let her not have any skeletons in the closet. Please God.' And if you see any video footage of it, I looked panicked," she added. "I was scared, just really scared. I didn't know her. "
McCain has not been shy to express her rocky relationship with the vice presidential candidate, whom she has since described as a "time bomb" in her new book.
"It was just one thing after another," she told Leno. "In politics it's about knowing what's going to come at you and I really didn't know anything."
In her book – released late last month – McCain also takes aim at how campaign manager Steve Schmidt went about picking Palin.
"How the Palin selection process and announcement had been handled seemed to highlight things that were innately wrong with our campaign and with the tactics of Steve Schmidt, she wrote. "It was a risky move-one of those things that can wind up being genius or the stupidest decision of all time."
Schmidt and Palin had a now-famous contentious relationship, capped off late last year when the former Alaska governor repeatedly questioned his competence in her autobiography. For his part, Schmidt has said Palin would prove "catastrophic" to the GOP if she was the nominee in 2012.
Meanwhile, when it comes to whether McCain would support a potential Palin presidential bid in 2012, she said her heart actually belongs to another likely White House hopeful.
"I am so sick of this us-versus-them mentality," she said. "I just want a candidate that's going to stop being us versus them. So right now I am team Romney."
Her comments came shortly before the release of a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showing more 52 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of the former Alaska Republican while 38 percent have a positive view.
Megan McCain is about the only Republican I trust right now.
This poor girl had much better sense and intuition than her senile father. A time bomb? Yes..all she has to do is open her mouth.
Meghan McCain shouldn't blame $arah Palin. She should put the blame where it belongs - on her father for picking the half-term half wit in the first place.
The people of America will never forgive John McCain for unleashing this idiotic, money-grubbing beast on the country.
P.S. CNN, I notice a headline that says, "How the Palins stay in the limelight." Obviously, it's because you keep giving them publicity. There's no need to breathlessly repeat every moronic, uninformed Facebook posting or Twitter feed.
Well at least she's honest. "In politics it's about knowing what's going to come at you and I really didn't know anything." It looks like that trend is continuing with her book.
Try to imagine how much anyone cares about Meghan's hysterical and panicked opinion. Maybe her an Levi should hook up?
Even though I disagree with a lot of what Meghan believes, I like her independence. She doesn't "blindly" follow what her father does or anyone else. She's actually more like her father "used" to be.
Uh, actually, Meghan, Romney is about as divisive GOP a candidate as you'll get. His mudslinging and crass sarcasm turns off "independent" voters. In 2008 primaries, he was the only significant candidate whose poll numbers went DOWN the more voters learned about him. Don't you want somebody who actually has a job right now?
My rant: The whole GOP needs to be thrown out, come November. How can these folks get paid when they haven't been responsible for any enacted legislation? They are lawMAKERS, aren't they, not obstructionists?
Don't worry. I cry too every time Palin opens her mouth.
Ron Paul in 2012, Romney is a corporatist establishment tool!
TIME bomb? Try 'stink bomb.'
Palin is am imbecile and McCain lost the election because of his idiotic selection of her as his running mate. A turd would have been a better pick.
Poor Meghan! At least half a brain of her own and she's thrown into the middle of THAT! I'll bet she had an urge to push Daddy down the stairs.
That's funny that she cried. I laughed and I'm still laughing. Palin is the most ridiculous human being to come along in a while. What a nutjob!
Don't worry Meghan, I feel the same way. The amazing stupidity of this woman literally drives me to tears too. What also makes me panic is the fact that I see that there is such a large segment of the population that has such a low opinion of our elected officials that they would be willing to promote someone as unqualified and out-of-the-mainstream as folks like Palin, Bachman, Rand Paul, the new idiot on the block Alaska ...
The only one with an ounce of sense in the whole bunch.
Meghan, you're a moron. Sarah is in control and will make a great president in 2012!
God what a whiny, RINO, liberal baby.
I didn't cry ..... I just stood there in shock at what the thought of a loss of political power would make a crazy old man do!
Wow CNN is this the best you have now?
Your liberal bias is only surpassed by MSNBC and your ratings prove it! This story is border-line comical!
Thanks John McCain, for inflicting Sarah Palin on our nation. If you hadn't picked her, she would have been quietly run out of office in Alaska and vanished into the primitive wilderness of smalltown Alaska.
McCain should not get a pass for this horrific deed.
Palin's endorsement of Romney should be the kiss of death for his campaign.
This woman is an idiot
Well at least someone in the McCain family sees that woman for what she is...
Poor Meghan McCain, she like Sarah Palin have way outlived their 15 minutes!
Pit bulls with lipstick still come with 80 IQ's
Palin was a terrible choice for the GOP but the best choice the GOP could make to get people to wake up and realize how wrong the GOP is for America.
Palin has no class.
Palin has no character - remember when she allowed death chants at her rallies?
Palin has no working brain cells - just listen to her. Whenever she opens her mouth, she showcases her stupidity.
However, it did get voters to realize that this was what the GOP thought of Americans - that we were stupid, illiterate and were easily swayed by fake folksy charm (charm is another thing she does not have).