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. Rosemary Storaska

    Go email is soaring with support for her.

    August 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. David Jacobson, New York NY

    Only met her once, and knew she could be trusted with the 2nd most important job in the world...

    As President, will McCain bother to meet his cabinet appointees at all? How about his Supreme Court nominees?

    I know he's getting tired in his old age, but come on...

    August 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. C Hemphill

    I am absolutely insulted by McCain's choice of running mates. To think that women will vote for ANY women, no matter what her beliefs, is ridiculous. The only thing Palin has in common with Clinton is that they are both women.
    John McCain vastly underestimates the women in this country.

    August 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. middle

    Obama is a good speaker, but what are his real achievements? What has he done good for people in Illinois? Nothing! just get paid from working people and words words, good words.

    Gov Sarah Palin is much better than Obama. her Executive knowledges to handle state level responsibilities.

    People need to see real achievements to evaluate who is ready to be Commander-in-Chief.

    August 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Judy Linford

    John McCain's VP pick:
    John McCain's pick for VP was an obvious ploy to try to get some of the women who were disaffected because Hillary Clinton was not the candidate and not selected for the VP slot. As a woman I am insulted. With the country in the worst shape I have ever seen it in, John McCain has put party before the future of this country. To think that if John McCain were unable to complete his Presidency and the person at the helm was this person who is not even close to having the skills to accomplish the task is unbelievable! Also for his VP candidate to stand up today and try to take credit for the 18,000,000 cracks in the ceiling was also insulting. She is no Hillary Clinton.

    August 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. VB

    Many of the folks who voted for Hillary liked her because of her husband's legacy. Is anyone stupid enough to vote for a soccer mom from Alaska to be the leader of the free world...? How out of touch are we now? There is no way I'm listening to this woman giving a state of the union address. Teacher yes. PTA ok. Mayor maybe. Governor of Alaska, well its Alaska so what could possibly go that wrong. President of the US, NEVER!

    August 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. RC for Jersey

    When I heard of the Palin selected, I laughed at the desperate tactics of the Republican party. Then I really thought about the implications and her lack of experience and now I am extremely scared. If anything happens to McCain she is going to be our president and that really freaks me out!!!!! Please don't insult Barack Obama by saying that this woman has more experience than him. He might not have as much experience as McCain but he had enough wisdom and judgement to fully vet the candidates and he gave the American people confidence that if something were to happen to him we have someone who can step in and keep this country going. I am insulted that McCain thinks that my choice is based upon whether a woman has breasts and a vagina!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. dan

    McCain has insulted every single American by making a joke out of our Presidential election. He's opted for a cheap publicity stunt instead picking a qualified running mate. He's a shell of a man who has sold every last scrap of his dignity to extremists. The John McCain that suffered for American ideals in Nam wouldn't stop to spit on the pathetic coward that's currently running for President.

    This is truly a sad day for America.

    August 29, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. juana phx, az

    People ! Palin does not NEED to be a Hillary! She stands on her own rights. I think , secretly Hillary is proud of that spunky lady gov., of course she would never say that out loud but in the privacy of her home with her family present, am sure SHE DOES!

    August 29, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. Disappointed Republican!

    This is an absolute disgrace, to the men and women serving our country knowing that their possible future president is someone with judgement who would not place them in harms way, and now McCain picks a VP who has no clue on what's going on with the war or foreign affairs. This decision comes from a former POW with experience and politica background; however, failed to make a wise decision for a VP pick- May I remind you this person will be "A heart beat away". This is one person I don't want answering the phone 3am in the morning! Sorry, McCain you lost my vote and respect.

    August 29, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Civilized American, unlike most on these blogs

    Majority of you people on these blogs....blow my mind at the rude and hateful insults and comments, just because your opinion is different than someone else's. I don't care what party your with or not with, we are all Americans!!! So many of you have forgot how to be respectful to anyone. Funny thing about respect, you have to give it to get it. I would be ashamed of myself if the only way I knew to show my opinions is by having to "slam and be hatefully insulting" to everyone else.

    August 29, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. jp,michigan

    Palin has more experience and integrity than Barack Obama. There were no witnesses to his ability at the Democratic convention. There were no serious person involved at some point of Obama's life standing nest to him, stating I know Obama. I've been with him, we've toiled/endured together. You can trust him. I do. He has no resume, no real endorsements that state he ready to lead. He needs Biden to give him accountability.

    August 29, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. PA_mom

    Unfortunately there are people in this country who won’t vote for Obama just because he is black and thus probably would have voted for McCain. I wonder how those same prejudiced folks feel about having a woman a heart-beat away from the presidency.

    August 29, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Michel

    Senator McCain once again has proven himself to be a political opportunist with this decision that demonstrates a disturbing lack of good judgment. Palin has no intelligence or interest in foreign policy and this decision places the safety of the American people in jeopardy. As a woman, I am insulted at this superficial attempt by McCain to manipulate my vote.

    Obama/Biden ALL THE WAY!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Lisa in Baltimore

    Picking a red-state, pro-life, wife of an oil executive, with virtually no experience, who's under investigation for firing an innocent police chief who did nothing other then refuse to illegally fire Palins brother-in-law over personal issues is BAD for Sen. McCain, and says a lot about HIS judgement.

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. kristin

    The ONLY reason he offered her this slot is because everyone else turned him down. They didn't want to be on that sinking ship.

    Obama/Biden '08 O'Yeah!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. J Boyd NYC

    Wow. I have no other words. Just wow.

    OK, I have a few other words: What, was Harriet Meyers too busy working another job she wasn't qualified for?

    This is just unbelieveable. McCain ignored Mitt Romney with his economics experience, Pawlenty with his party loyalty and youth, Ridge with his military record and governing experience, and even Huckabee for his religious sway. Instead, he chose exactly who he says he fighting against– and INCREDIBLY inexperienced governor with a scandal already in tow.

    Not to mention she was a beauty queen. First runner-up for Miss Alaska?

    I really didn't think that McCain was this desperate. He's running scared. And now, he's running with a COMPLETELY untried woman because she's a WOMAN.

    Obama/Biden 08. Help us change the world.

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. Former McCain Supporter

    I am so, so, so, so disappointed in McCain, how can a man who's running on the notion that he is the most qualified to be commander and chief, put a woman who said she "has been to busy to pay attention to the Iraq war" as his next in line to command...1 and half years of experience, and already been investigated for corruption.... Governor of ALASKA, what do they even do up there?! Lock up those 3 electoral votes guy, way to go!!!! JESUS!

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Republican for OBAMA

    For all you PUMA people and others who won't vote for OBAMA because Clinton lost... Go vote however you want and SHUT UP!!! You will not decide this election. For every ONE Clinton supporter that won't vote for Obama there will be THREE to FOUR Republicans voting for Obama or not voting at all. So, in the end. Your votes, and your whining mean absolutely ZILCH. Thanks have a great day

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. Luna Douglas

    On his 72nd birthday, John McCain, who has a multiple bout of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer, chose someone who has few months experience as a governor of a state with population less than that of Dayton, OH, to run the country from a heartbeat away from the presidency. COUNTRY FIRST?

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. Don Bo

    As a fellow member of the NRA, I wouldn't mind seeing Governor Palin in the centerfold of the American Rifleman magazine, but I sure as heck don't want to see her as our Commander in Chief, if McCain bites the big one, or becomes incapacitated, before his term is up.

    Let's stop kidding ourselves.....the Mayor of Podunkville, Alaska, and less than 2 years as Governor of a State of a half-million people? Vice-President?

    I don't think so.

    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. ERIC, MN


    August 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. NoMcCain

    Again this is very insulting to women. McCain only chose her to pull in women voters and Hillary supporters. This decision says he does not think the voters are very smart and only go by gender. Why on earth would Palin feel the need to mention 18 million cracks ? Because this is exactly their plan and what was talked about behind closed doors((We want the women and Hillary supporters so duh lets put a WOMAN on the ticket, they are too stupid to realize these parties are total opposite and just want a woman))

    August 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. Anna

    Brilliant. Absolutely a great choice.

    August 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  25. Joe Dirt

    You have to be kidding me! Women voting for McCain because he selected a VP just because she is a woman??? Now I have to say there are some really dumb Americans who just have no freaking clue.

    Wow, I am simply amazed by the idiots that will throw away another 4 freaking years just because a won was selected and those excited to vote for McCain now, no nothing about this inexperienced woman!


    August 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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