(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.
Who cares. I could care less about Palin and evidently CNN did not get the memo they lost the election. Meghan McCain is a spoiled brat and she is an embarrassment to her family.
The diot from Wasilla even alienates the people she was to work with. Go away Palin and get a nailin.
Good lord, She personifies the "Us vs Them" attitude.
She was in love with her and defended her – – now we are to believe she was scared?!?! LOL Next real political story please!!!!!
Don't feel bad Meghan, she makes every sensible person in America weep for the future of America.
Finally an honest Republican. John McCain should have the brains his daughter has.
She makes a lot of people cry.I feel your pain Meghan.God speed.
Silly Sarah scares all of us Meghan. We share sentiment. She doesn't belong anyhere in Washington.
I'm sure Mehgan is correct but you have to admit even though Palin isnt the the brightest of people, she is cute.
LOL! Oh, little Meghan. Your parents must be so proud of you for all you've accomplished which is.....uh.......which is.....uh.....oh yeah, portraying yourself as a Republican so that your dad got more Republican votes. Now that he doesn't need you to play Republican, why don't you just come clean, girl? You're about as liberal as they come. I am proud to say that you are definitely not respected by anyone in our party. Why don't you stop the charade – trust me – the dems need you a whole lot more than we do at this point. LOL
oh meghan she made everybody cry from tears of sorrow to tears of laughter watching her struggle.
actually she still makes me cry when i hear her talk i find her quite the joke
Meghan – tell it like it is!!! And she's not lying!!
She's always been forthcoming and not afraid to BITE her tongue! Now, how would the "PA'IN" respond??? She always have something to say because she thinks she has to!!!
As far as Meghan following Mitt Romney, she may have more STEAM campaigning for him than "the PA'IN" has with the tea party!!
But in the end, Obama will win in 2012 and Mitt would have to wait and run in 2016 or 2020 – more like 2020 because Hillary will run and win in 2016!!
I'm not sure how to feel about Meghan McCain, but I agree that Romney is the best hope for 2012.
McCain owes the American people an apology.....hopefully one day he will confess that he made a HUGH mistake when he chose Sarah to be his running mate!
Enough already with the self-pitying psychobabble, Meghan. You're embarrassing your father.
I was not impressed with Megan on last night's show, she came off as a dumb blonde, and she did say she would never vote for a democrat, again, dumb blonde.
Sarah Palin makes me cry too, so I don't fault Meghan
McCain's daughter is a twit. And CNN's headline is very misleading (go figure). Palin did nothing to make this girl cry – her own insecurities did that for her. God I hope this is not another McCain trying to break into politics.
Way to pick only the anti-Palin statements she wrote CNN. Righ leg longer than your left? Leaning Left much?
Its sad that Meghan McCain is using Sarah Palin to make herself popular. Hey Meghan peace of advice, get a life!!!
HUH.....Ms.McCain you might have been crying but the rest of the country was having conniptions.The Skeletons in the closet were she was evil an could not think,read,write or talk.BTW tell your father thank you for me.
Sarah Palin not only has skeletons in the closet but she is possessed by the devil. Sleeps around and pals around with redneck racists from the Tea Party and is as dumb as a walnut and these are her strong points – her bragging rights. Heaven help us if this war mongering greedy thing becomes in person in federal government.
oh for gods sake, grow up kid.
Oh Meghan if you keep this up your father might disown you or not leave you any inheritance. I cried of course when Palin said she could see Russia from her house, and I certainly cried more when Tinia Fey made a mockery of her. It's was a presidential election to remember. Unfortunately, thanks to the media, she sticks around like a dinner guest who does not have a clue that it's time to leave.
Don't feel bad, Meghan. Most of the country has been in hysterics since your dad picked Palin.
She's wrong about who picked Palin, though. Palin was picked by a group of right-wing operatives, including John Bolton, Fred Barnes, William Kristol, Robert Bjork, and Dick Morris who had all visited Palin in Alaska back in 2007. They were the ones who brought her to the attention of the RNC because they felt her Christianized ideology mostly closely matched that of George W. Bush.