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. Laverne

    I do like her candidness and honesty about this woman that some seem to think is the best thing since sliced bread. I believe Sarah Palin will be exposed for what she really is and will fizzle, however, the brainwashed will continue to empty their pockets to her and worship her.

    September 8, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. rich in az

    The skeletons are getting restless. This is an unclean woman.

    September 8, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. AmFem

    The GOP should seriously consider learning from this "breath of fresh air". Young McCain could and should be the face of the future Republican party, and maybe they will gain some respect. I'm a proud liberal, who will NEVER-EVER vote for a Republican (they don't represent me). But, I would at least have respect for them if they made such a major change.

    Out with old (Boehner and McConnell), and in with new – Meghan McCain!

    September 8, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. USN

    She's a lib nut case ,Mickey Mouse can make her cry.

    September 8, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. j williamson

    I'm sure she wasn't the only (McCain supporter) who went into panic mode at that point.

    September 8, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. A Former Democratic Army Veteran

    Thank you CNN for another blast at Sarah Palin. Don't you think the lady has had enough ridicule from the ignorant Obamanites. And furthermore who is Meghan McCain. She has a loser for a father. He will never be the President of the U.S. He is not a military advisor although he would try and make it so. He is no example of the military shot down on his maiden flight. He did manage to survive under conditions not fit for humans. I give him that. But to think he knows something of battlefield conditions is ridiculous. I am a 30 year veteran and I am not qualified to give advice. I leave that up to the Generals. No politicians needs to liberally hand out advice. They need to listen to their General staff. That is what they're trained for. As for Meghan she needs to set down and shut up. Sarah is a fine woman an a excellent politician. Far better than the idiot in the White House now. She has class where Obama's follower's are just babbling baboons.

    September 8, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Big John

    I think more and more people are finally beginning to see through Palin as the brainless half wit she is. Obviously Meghan saw it right away.

    September 8, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. greg in jax

    dont worry meghan,,, she has made/attempted to make alot of us cry

    September 8, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. TPF

    Meghan had every reason in the world to cry, We are all crying now and for good reason, this lady is truly a pathological liar and is ruining this Country every time she opens her ignorant mouth. Palin go home and stay home, we don't need vindictive, hypocritical folks like you and your family.

    September 8, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Jason B.

    Not a big surprise really. No one knew who Palin was. It was an awful pick. She was picked because she was a total outsider, far right views to pander to the base, and because she was a woman (to counter Hillary). She really wasn't picked due to qualifications. If they wanted a woman V.P. pick, that's fine. But there were others much more well known and much more qualified than a half-term mayor/half-term governor.

    September 8, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. AwesomeBob

    Parasailin with Sarah Palin, hundreds of feet above the Earth...

    September 8, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. John

    She CRIED? Some Republican. Republicans don't ever cry, nor apologize, or show any doubt. Only courage and stalwart bravery in the face of reason and other enemies. Go hug a tree, liberal baby.

    September 8, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. emma

    Now wait. McCain said when she found out who Palin was
    just before going on stage she was panicked. In the same
    breath she says she didn't know anything about her.
    Sounds like a bunch of poppy cock to me coming from Miss

    September 8, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. jackson

    Ok, so now the Sarah bashing is coming from within the party itself. Let's see the neocons spin this one.

    And, Schmidt, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    September 8, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. A Former Democratic Army Veteran

    Tax one branch and leave the other off that is crazy. No more ethnic give aways. Leave the Tax Breaks in place. Whats fair for one is fair for all. Sure sounds like Islamic thinking to me. Another notch on Obams motives. He is a scoundrel of the first class.

    September 8, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Granny Sarah Grizzly scars the dickins out of America too Meghan. But don't rile her up, or she will take a switch to you out behind the ceement pond. That's what Jesus would do!

    September 8, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. HSNP

    The rest of us are still crying that John McCain picked Palin 'cause now the bimbo won't go AWAY!!!!

    September 8, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. jae

    This Schmidt guy is an idiot. McCain is an idiot for allowing this to happen after all the years he waited to become a presidential nominee, he allows palin to be picked, yeah he would make great decisions for the country, especially when he "chooses" Palin as his running mate. This daughter of his, claims to be democrat, supporting President Obama. Romney huh, wow, they forced you back into the WHITE RACE HUH? Did you forget that you are rich and entitled?

    September 8, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Pete

    Finally a McCain admitting Palin was a poor choice...not if only her father could. The choice of Gov Palin really soured me on McCain and he's done nothing to improve that since...he used to be his own man. I'm a moderate conservative...the largest segment of voting conservatives, and the Republican party has done nothing but sicken me more and more every year. There's no way I'd EVER vote of a idiot like Palin, even if she ran against someone as liberal as Gov. Moonbeam...I'd stay at home. Palin, Gingrinch, Beck, and Limbaugh are screwing this party into the realm of total unelectability. And believe it or not that hurts Democrats as well as Republicans...we need descent choices people who know how to compromise. I so tired of this uni-thought mentality from both sides. Nothing is ever absolute, sometime a liberal solution is best, sometimes a conservative solution is best...but admitting that makes you a unpatriotic traitor to your own side. This country is screwed if we don't get rid of buffoons like Palin and her counterparts on the left.

    September 8, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. dick delson

    what more is there to say about Palin who is beyond stupid. and she lies.

    September 8, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. deuce

    It's okay, Palin makes me cry every day.

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Marty, FL

    Many Amrricans share Meghan's concerns about Palin and still weep at the thought of quitter Palin still fooling our fellow neighbors with her divisive nonsense.

    However, I completely disagree with Meghan's assessment of Romney. Mitt has become the epitome of the "us vs. them" mentality. Romney's no Pres. Reagan, not even close.

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Mike from KC

    Based on everything I have seen or read about Meghan McCain, she appears to have a good head on her shoulders, and thinks/speaks for herself.
    She may do well in politics someday in the future.

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. tonyb

    She makes many of us cry....

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Jerry

    Typical liberal made up story and quite frankly who cares what Meghan thinks. I like this fact better. Obama at "46 percent approval." But realize, if he were comatose for two years he'd still be pulling a 33% job approval from the kool-aid drinkers. So, seasonally adjusted for schizophrenic respondents, he's now at 13% approval.

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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