September 8th, 2010
09:39 AM ET
8 years ago

Palin pick 'panicked' Meghan McCain, made her cry

Sarah Palin on the campaign trail with the McCain family in 2008.

Sarah Palin on the campaign trail with the McCain family in 2008.

(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.

Filed under: Meghan McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Meghan McCain has about as much expertise in political campaigns as some yokel watching traffic from a highway overpass has in auto racing. Of course, CNN nor the rest of the propaganda media could really care less whether or not Meghan McCain knows what she's talking about. Just like with Levi Johnston, all they care about is their hateful Sarah Palin bashing.

    So petty and pathetic... and you chumps wonder why your ratings are in the toilet.

    September 8, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. SammyD

    CNN – More importantly this administration is making a lot more people cry, just look at our economy and how people feel, yet you continue to write stories that no one cares about. Your goal is to keep trashing Palin well you better watch out because you are out of the loop on what people really care about right now and it's not Palin and McCain's crying moments.

    September 8, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Bandon Wind in Oregon

    The real time bomb is what will happen in Congress when the Teabaggers who follow Palin's strange thought processes start "working" for the good of the nation.

    We deserve what we get. Actually, I would like to see a heavy Republican win this next election so the world can see the truth–the Republicans, who have held up any advances in the Obama administration, can do no better.

    Then maybe in 2012 we can get down to business.

    September 8, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. librarian

    Glad to know that Meghan has more brain than her father and more political savy too.

    September 8, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Ron in Califonia

    Sell those books. The fact that she cried says something more about her than Palin. She had no faith in her dad or his advisors. The reason McCain lost is simple. The country felt it was time to elect the guy they was closer than most remember. Now buyers remorse is setting in so Megan dry your eyes sell your books and be happy that Palin will make you rich as well.

    September 8, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. maine liberal


    It appears that the Unnamed sources are saying the same as the named sources

    "Those who are impotent and limp and gutless and they go on their anonymous — sources that are anonymous — and impotent, limp and gutless reporters take anonymous sources and cite them as being factual references," Palin said in her criticism of journalists.

    "It just slays me because it's so absolutely clear what the state of yellow journalism is today that they would take these anonymous sources as fact."

    September 8, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. paulbark

    Meghan McCain wasn't the only person crying when her dad selected Palin as his VP candidate.

    September 8, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. GI Joe

    She was panicked?

    The entire community of intelligent people immediately said 'OOO – MYYY – GAWWWWWDDD' !! The idiot showed her butt, but I guess some folks want to see the butt in action at the local Gent's Club or something.

    September 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Cliff Vegas

    To be perfectly honest, I'm still panicked – not only by the thought of this woman as President of the United States, but that she might hold influence on American politics for years to come.

    September 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Ben Singleton

    Sorry, Ms McCain, but like you said "...I really didn't know anything..." You still don't.

    September 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. JackS

    That's strange. She made me laugh.

    September 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. Kim Griffith

    Made me cry too!

    September 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Tyler Knowles

    I feel Meghan McCain's pain. I remember inviting my Uncle Sal over for thanksgiving dinner one year. Anyhow, I was so worried about cooking the turkey properly that I was shaking. I was so nervous placing the bird on the table that I panicked and nearly dropped it on the floor. As we were eating it, my Uncle Sal reminded me of the skeleton costume he'd lent me for Halloween, which I couldn't remember where I'd placed it. I was praying the skeleton was in the closet. And it was. But I guess that's where Meghan McCain and I differ. That and the fact my nickname is Scooter.

    September 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. GI Joe

    Old Man McCain couldn't keep his eyes off her butt and boobs. Check out some of the tapes if you don't believe me.

    September 8, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Rightwingevangelicalconservatism is a disease

    It made me cry too and I'm a grown man. Palin's an evangelical ulcer with no brains.

    September 8, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. Eddie B

    When this becomes headline news then we definitely know something is wrong in this country. Our news organizations are like the Enquirer and Stars. Sad.

    September 8, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. LW in AZ

    Romney isn't an 'us vs. them' candidate?!?!

    September 8, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. NVa Native

    She's right on Phailin with her skeletons and closets .... and tears.
    But Romney is just a devisive and delusional as all the other Repubs.

    September 8, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Mehgan McCain is an IDIOT!!!

    September 8, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. karen from Charlottesville

    She should have cried. McCain would have won if he had been thoughtful about selecting a more centrist running mate. He got incredibly bad advice in his selection, and Palin made him look like a fool to those of us who are centrists, and as "old an in the way" to the Palinites. I used to have great respect for McCain. He turned out to be just another guy willing to say or do anything to get elected.

    September 8, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Elly

    Smart girl!!
    I am not a conservative but out of all the choices I would definitely say Romney is the better and more intelligent choice
    Describing Palin as a *time bomb* seems a fitting choice to say the least.
    She is nothing but a media seeking parasite who left her job because there wasn't enough media attention in Alaska focused on her.
    Not to mention the fact she is the most vitriol , hateful *divisive* politician
    out there on the scene today!
    too bad your dad created a *monster*

    September 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. jay1975

    When is this annoying little valley girl's 15 minutes going to be up? She sounds like she is willing to say anything that she thinks will keep her in the spot light...just like Palin, who scared the poor little thing into tears. jeez.

    September 8, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. once upon a horse

    I still feel that if Clinton had won the nomination then Palin would STILL be back in Alaska basically an unknown. I thought the pick was interesting when I first say it....I didn't cry until I found out what she was really all about.

    September 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. sammieb51

    Finally I have something in common with Ms. McCain! Sarah may be reeling in the candidates for the teabags (or so Fox would have you think – the record ain't that great!) but she sure lost the election for McCain. In fact I can say that given his choice of running mates combined with his imbecile comment about how strong the economy was (2 days before it 'fell' out), can you imagine the decisions he would be making for the country re: economy, war, recession, jobs, etc etc etc??

    September 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Bob Dog

    I think Meghan is the smart one.

    Think whatever you want about Cindy, but she raised a worthy daughter.

    And Meghan has more integrity in her little pinkie than her father has in his entirety.

    September 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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