(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.
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.
Any rational thinking person would cry at the mention of Palin's name.
Good for you Meghan!! Tell it like it IS!!!!!
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.
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.
Pallin is a grifter and Meghan saw that from the get-go!
You were RIGHT to be scared... most of the rational part of the country remains scared... very scared...
We knew Meghan, and we got it right!!!
We cry thinking about all Republicans!!!
I'm a democrat and the girl sounds like an idiot....
we all understand completely – most of us felt the same way.
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!
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.
Palin > Obama (...and I wouldn't ever vote for Palin)
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!!
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.
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.
In all fairness, Palin makes me cry also.
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.
...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.
Just wonderful words that are thrown around about presidential hopefuls.....
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!
I have often thought that Meghan McCain is the most reasonable as well as politically smart Republican today.
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?
One of very few GOpers left standing.
When I found out about palin I actually laughed