August 29th, 2008
09:01 PM ET
12 years ago

How McCain chose Palin

McCain only talked with Palin once before choosing her.

McCain only talked with Palin once before choosing her.

(CNN) - John McCain first met Sarah Palin only six months ago and had just one conversation with the Alaska governor before offering her the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, the Arizona senator's campaign said Friday.

The move appears to be a marked departure for McCain - a man known for his tendency to surround himself with a close circle of advisers and politicians he has long felt comfortable with.

But according to the McCain campaign, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee first met Palin in Washington at a February 2008 National Governors Association meeting. He was immediately impressed with the 44-year-old rising GOP star, and decided to consider her for the vice presidential slot.

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis had several conversations with Palin throughout the vetting process, but McCain himself didn't speak with the Alaska governor until last Sunday - one day after Barack Obama named Joe Biden to his ticket. It was then McCain reached Palin by phone while she was at the Alaska State Fair to discuss the possibility of joining the ticket.

Palin then traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona Wednesday evening, where she met with top McCain advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter. On Thursday Palin traveled to McCain's Sedona, Arizona home where the Arizona senator had another conversation with her, and formally asked her to be his running mate.

Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (1,482 Responses)
  1. Ali

    The election is over. Repubs never wanted McCain. This is called looking forward to the next election and finding someone to sacrifice without losing a conservative candidate who can be a legitimate contender in a future election. At this point it's all for show. Throw something against the wall and see what sticks. I'd like to know how disappointed the Republican strategists really are when the camera lights are off and they know longer have to pretend to be excited.

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Jim

    I am amazed and confused concerning the pick of Gov Palin for the VP position. I do not feel this way because of Gov Palin but rather the reaction of the talking heads on CNN. I always felt that CNN was following an agenda with Obama in that their spin was in his favor overall. But when this white woman is nominated for the VP CNN is bringing up all the issues that were ignored or half heartedly used when applied to Obama. The issue of experience, being female as a political trick...what about Obama being black as a "trick", her lack of foreign diplomacy. All these things apply to Obama but with Obama its not a problem or glossed over in some form of a rationalization?
    You have to ask why is there a diouble standard? Is it because white America is afraid to ask meaningful questions or confront black people? Is it the "white guilt" that has created so many double standards in out country such as affirmative action at play? Is CNN so biased that their reporting is so slanted they don't see it?
    I am so disgusted that our so called news has been lowered to such a level. A level of image and opinions and not the facts. Here is one fact...CNN has no credibility with me nor should have with any other rational American.

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Wanda Davis

    I am not surprised that McCain would pick a "token" woman for his vp.
    He has made the comment that he would not want to be a vp because they just go to funerals. It did not matter to him whether she has literally no experience because she will not be anything but window dressing for him. Knowing how well the democrats were doing at their convention made him choose someone to counteract their momentum.

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Go McCain!


    McCain/Palin 08

    HRC 2012!

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Josh

    I really get a kick out of you liberals and your comments on this subject... Calling out Palin on not being experienced. In case you have not noticed, she has as much experience as your Messiah. Not only that but her experience is entrenched in an executive role. She is also the conservative voice needed to satisfy the conservative base that may feel left out by McCain. She is not the simple "puzzle piece" that Biden is to Obama (talk about being used!).

    Sorry libs, but this just took all the spark away from your boy!

    McCain/Paldin '08, '12

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Sam

    How do you pick a running mate whom you do not know? Can anyone honestly see Sarah Palin taking over as President of the United States?

    McCain is a desperate old man.

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Lois in Florida

    As a republican who voted for Romney in the primary, I am sorely disappointed and frustrated with this. I disagree with all the pundits who are so desperate to make us Republicans feel excited about the ticket and saying this is a god-send. It's NOT. McCain says he puts Country First. Clearly, he thinks this is a game. It's not – he is gambling with the presidency of the United States. The republican delegates should reject McCain's nomination and place Romney's name in nomination for president. Clearly, McCain has lost it – completely. This is so ridiculous. I remember when all the conservatives were lambasting McCain – now suddenly, he is their hero? Disgusting and very sad. Please, we need Romney to save our party.

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Lily Izu

    So glad that Clinton supporters are not failing to this insult.
    That is the different between in this election. Common sense Vs No sence. I am so pround of these ladies that are not letting this irrevevant negative division influence their putting their country first by considering the situation of this country.

    August 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Kim Lindsay

    I am one of those undecided voters. I am ( WAS) regestered Republican. I am a 44 year old woman with a small child and take care of my Grandson, I did work and now can not find a job,now our family lives on my husbands Social Security and I have no health care. I guess my profile is in the mix and my vote is one being faught over. I have made my decision I am voting for Obama / Biden ticket.

    August 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. We Will Never Change

    Gloria Steinman was right in January when she said, "a woman with Barack Obama's experience would never gotten this far in running for President".

    Obama was sworn into the Senate in Jan. 2005 and announced his candidacy in Feb. 2007 and before that he was in the State Legislature. Palin is a Governor of a state for 2 years. Obama makes a trip to Iraq and now he has enough foreign policy experience. If Palin went to Iraq for a week would you be more comfortable? Why did Obama pick Biden? If you answer that question honestly, it's because Biden has foreign policy experience. So its perfectly fine for Obama to pick someone who lacks his strenght, but if McCain does it he's "lost his mind".

    I don't remember this outrage when Obama announced. He lacked and still continues to lack experience and is never questioned by the media and his judgement is the only thing that matters to his supporters. The outrage is greater here about her lack of experience is "because she is a woman". It's as simple as that.

    This is why CHANGE every one is "suppose" to be craving will never happen. If you question Palin's experience, you have to question Obama's experience and if you don't you clearly have chosen person/party over your country.

    August 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. tammy

    This is a great day for American history. On Nov. 4, we will have the opportunity to vote for our 1st African American male president or our 1st Republican female vice president. Either way, we are headed for change.

    August 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. What?



    August 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. MikeH

    Once again, nothing against Sarah, she's just a pawn here, but McCain hardly knows her. She has no legal credentials at all, she's as qualified to be President as Jessie Ventura is. No, actually Jessie's more qualified.

    What is McCain thinking? Is this the mind you want running the country? McCain has not only lost his bearings, he's lost the entire drive train.

    August 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. juana phx, az

    Eve from New York,

    I can't believe you and your friends belong to the same species as the rest of womankind. Besides you are a Democrat, I don't believe any of you were ever Republicans or were going to vote for McC. Who gave you the right to decide who he would choose? You should be angry at your future king Obama the first for choosing an insider attack dog Biden, instead of Hillary , now that should have REALLY INSULTED you! Go and ventilate your supposed anger at someone else other than MAC, who had the guts ( balls) to choose a well-qualified woman for the second spot.

    August 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Dave

    Do you think Mccain told her that he would give her 70% of the current VP's salary? You know how good his record is on equal pay for equal work...

    August 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. stone

    Jack Cafferty is shamed into anger for John McCain. Because he knows his boss Obama is getting losing.

    August 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. Paula

    I am insulted that we are comparing a VP candidate to a Presidential candidate and by that I mean comparing her (Palin) and inexperience (“being a heartbeat away”) from someone who has no more experience and is a heartbeat away from November. Also I am insulted that we are comparing her to Hillary Clinton who was campaigning for the Presidential nomination not the VP. She is only the VP candidate and I think it is unfair to compare her to the presidential candidates. I like her and it is what it is. I do not agree with all issues but I like the ticket. When I vote, I obviously will not be voting for Hillary Clinton because she is not the presidential candidate. And if Palin and Clinton were both running for president, I would vote for Clinton. But as it is, apples are being compared to oranges and I will either vote for McCain or Obama and I will be voting based on the presidential candidate's experience which is a heartbeat away in November not the "middle of the night phone call" experience of VP's which are not a "heartbeat away" as far as I know as I do not have a crystal ball.

    August 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. cher

    A hockey mom???? Get real!! Ms. Palin no more has a pulse on main stream hard working urban American women, than most of us have on the correct way to prepare moose stew! Women of all ages should be horribly insulted!! And, do I really want to entrust my life, home and country on a candidate who's command experience is being in charge of the Alaskan National Guard??? And please, do not try to compare her to Hillary!! Their only commonality is their gender!! This is no "maverick" decision by Mr. McCain, it's a travesty!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Rob Stumpf

    If Sarah has no experience, then neither does Obama...she at least governed a state, he governed nothing. It's a great choice...the only ones who don't yet realize that are the Obamamaniacs who would declare it a disaster if Abe Lincoln were somehow running on the ticket.

    NO-bama '08

    August 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Hey now

    Everyone is saying what if something happens to McCain. Well what if it doesnt? What if nothing happens to Obama? Then we will have a guy with less than 3 yrs experience leading the country.....

    August 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. Amy

    I think we need to hear from some democrats, that they KNOW Hillary Clinton, and you Sarah Palin, are NO HILLARY CLINTON.

    Not even close!

    You call Hillary a whiner, are against women's rights, admit you don't know or care much about the war in Iraq, and believe global warming is a myth?

    Your name does not deserve to be mentioned alongside Hillary's.

    August 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. natalie

    I am so glad to see how many people out there think that Palin is a terrible choice. She will NEVER win over Hillary supporters, because she has nothing in common with her, and thank God for that. Where, afterall, is health insurance considered a RIGHT in the Constitution anyway? It will make it that much sweeter when she blows Biden out of the water. Is anyone in the Democratic party actually basing their judgement of Palin on her record? Maybe before making all of these ridiculous comments about her, some reading should be done regarding the fabulous things she has done for could start with her outstanding approval rating! Finally, a ticket with some brains on it!

    August 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Al in the Bay Area

    Their seems to be something ironic about having the phrases "winning over Hillary supporters and shoring up the staunch conservative vote" all in the same sentence.

    August 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Lyle

    Governor Palin is a brilliant choice. Mrs. Palin is a maverick with common sense and a deep seated pride in America and public service. Mrs. Palin is exactly the kind of real, sincere person Mr. McCain and America needs as VP.

    August 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. M in Maryland

    How totally insulting that McCain thinks choosing a woman would attract Hillary Clinton voters. This woman, while accomplished in her VERY short political career as governor of a very small population, STANDS AGAINST EVERYTHING HILLARY CLINTON BELIEVES IN AND HAS FOUGHT FOR. She is against a womans right to choose in all and ANY case! Former Hillary voters, don't be fooled. Hillary made great strides for women in the world. Governor Palin would reverse DECADES of progress.

    August 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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