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. Mike S.

    Palin has already proven to be a catastrophe for the Republican party.
    The finer principles of the GOP have been highjacked by whack job lightweights like Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter.

    While it is comforting to see that at least 52% of Americans see Palin for what she really is – and isn't – it is also disturbing to see that 38% of Americans have swallowed her poisoned purple punch.

    September 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Lynn

    Any rational thinking person would cry at the mention of Palin's name.

    September 8, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. ray

    Good for you Meghan!! Tell it like it IS!!!!!

    September 8, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. garc

    Meghan McCain is interesting and dangerously (to the current brand of republicans) smart. On the other hand, if they want to survive (and appeal to more than just the scary and/or very old base they seem to be courting), they will groom her for office at some point.

    September 8, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Ted

    Obviously McCain never vetted Palin and did not tell his family. And this clown wanted to be president? God only knows what other horrible things would have happened without any thought or vetting or decision processes.

    September 8, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. JW Nicholson

    Pallin is a grifter and Meghan saw that from the get-go!

    September 8, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. John Hennessy Black

    You were RIGHT to be scared... most of the rational part of the country remains scared... very scared...

    September 8, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. David

    We knew Meghan, and we got it right!!!

    We cry thinking about all Republicans!!!

    September 8, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. chad taylor

    I'm a democrat and the girl sounds like an idiot....

    September 8, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. cecilia

    we all understand completely – most of us felt the same way.

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Tea-bag Nihilist

    Sarah Palin represents all that is current about American politics: cynicism, blind opportunism, and IGNORANCE; why shouldn't she be the standard-bearer for the repub's in 2012? We sorely need a leader who thinks the Earth is 6000 years old, that Africa is a country, and who sees no value in educating herself. Is god commanding you, like Bush, to be president, Sarah? Come on, you can tell us!

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Independent

    Such a national embarrassment, that 38% of Americans can think of something positive to say about Palin. Awful that so many people are so dumb, or mean-spirited, or whatever it is that makes them like her.

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. No new democrats in 2010

    Palin > Obama (...and I wouldn't ever vote for Palin)

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Ramon F. Herrera

    Palin makes me cry as well, but those are tears of worry that she may collapse and implode too early and not run.

    Run, Sarah, run!!

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Debbie from Arizona

    It's to bad Megan isn't running for her father's senate seat, she seems to be much more aware of the real world than he is.

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Michael in Houston

    If only your father had the good common sense and political instincts you did Meghan.

    The Senator was desparate and as often happens at those moments terrible decisions are made and in this case, it was bringing Palin out from under the rock she was under.

    Now we get to ALL share in the horror and freakshow that she is.

    September 8, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. JPT

    In all fairness, Palin makes me cry also.

    September 8, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. malabar

    I like Meghan. but i love Sarah. i hope she does NOT run though. i prefer she be the knife to the throat of any administration, R or D. plus, she can annoy people to no end without having to pretend she gives a sht what people thnk of her words or actions. u gotta b fake to b a politician, but u gotta sell ur soul to b President. its almost too dirty and dishonorable a position.

    September 8, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. MrPragmatic

    ...and if McCain/Palin had won, the whole country would be crying. Thank God her lack of intelligence and tact shone as brightly as a lighhouse beacon on a clear, moonless night.

    September 8, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. bravado in boston

    "mean spirited"
    "time bomb"

    Just wonderful words that are thrown around about presidential hopefuls.....


    September 8, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. mms55

    yeah well america's been crying ever since.this woman is the worst thing for america and to think she could have been close to the white house is even scarier.thank god they didn't win!

    September 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Laurie

    I have often thought that Meghan McCain is the most reasonable as well as politically smart Republican today.

    September 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Criminy

    It may never happen, but I will be so glad when that Palin woman is out of the news. My God, what is it about her and about CNN reporting about her that is newsworthy in the least?

    September 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Josh

    One of very few GOpers left standing.

    September 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. streetsmart

    When I found out about palin I actually laughed

    September 8, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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