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

How McCain chose Palin

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. et from Washington State

    what a joke... more reasons to make sure the Republicans don't cheat and steal another election... our very lives depend on it

    August 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. christopher from brooklyn

    Met her ONCE before, did he?

    That's like marrying someone after a one night stand, or buying a house from a photo. Does he think picking a VP is like love at first sight?

    Attention National press, Let the vetting begin!

    August 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. California

    "No Bias – No Bull" !! Campbell Brown has shown bias since the primaries and this evening she almost fell off the edge with her shrill reporting on her disbelief of McCain's VP choice

    August 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Lily Izu

    She looks and sounds like Macain's office secretary. Another one of Macain's uncaculated decision making.
    We are in trouble. She is not washington but she is for Bush/Macain
    economic policy.
    Shouldn't she consider a 4months disabled baby first before career that she has never thought of.
    It is not bringing a baby in the world. Taking care of it is as important too.

    August 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. CC, VA

    Campbell Brown just said "in the next hour we will take a No Bull, No Bias look at Sarah Palin"...please!!! No Bias on CNN?
    Could you guys let us get to know her a bit before you continue your stumping for Obama?

    August 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Okay, all of you people who were for Hillary and are now wanting to go McCain....she made it very CLEAR, that you vote for the morals of the person and NOT the sex of the person. She and Obama actually have a lot in common, just a different way to go about it. Stop whining and stomping your feet because he didn't pick her as his V.P. Look at how nasty it got between them, do you think it would have been different in the White House? Don't get me wrong, the Clinton's have a great legacy and I would never EVER discredit her service or Bill's service to this country.

    August 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. Russell

    Its all about judgement, and McCain fails

    August 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Pamela

    I get picking the woman idea, but you have got to be kidding that this was the best woman that the GOP could come up with. What were you thinking? Looks over brains? Or doesn't McCain trust a strong, intelligent, experienced woman? Or did those women turn McCain down? The selection is an insult to women who worked hard for Senator Clinton and is really no different than Bush the senior picking Quayle, no matter how hard the Republican talking heads and Rush Limbaugh try to spin it. What a hoot1

    August 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. Donnamarie

    Thank you John McCain for choosing Governor Palin as your VP. Your choice made it quite clear the type of presidency you would have if you won in November. This 46 year old white, female, Independent voter just made her first political donation–to Barack Obama!

    August 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Tired of the bull

    You didn't even watch any of the convention, did you? There were three days of speakers endorsing him, from family members to politicians. If you don't agree with his politics, that is one thing, but I am so sick and tired of the induendo, snide references, and slimy BS.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Ray

    Question: If Palin was a man would McCain have tapped HIM to be his VEEP? No Way. This is very transparent and will ultimately put Obama in the White House.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. More of the same

    Am I the only person who is not surprised that John McCain chose Palin as his running mat? Truthfully, I had never hear of her until this week, but she's a perfect fit. I can't think of anyone else whose going to push the petroleum industry's agenda more than Palin.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. jeff

    "does he really think he'll get votes just because he picked a women????"

    Wow! He picked a 'women" a "WOMEN!!!" Glad to know people with intellects like yours have a vote in this country, no wonder we are where we are!

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. Al

    This choice only reinforces my impression that John McCain does not have the judgement to be president. McCain could have chosen much more qualified people to run as VP (Lieberman, Romney, Ridge, Whittman, etc). This is the first time in my life that I can say I have much more foreign policy experience than a candidate running for one of the highest offices.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. aj


    You've got to be kidding me? You would rather vote for McCain/Palin JUST because McCain picked a female veep rather than basing your vote on the ISSUES that you should be behind as someone voting for a female? Do you understand that Palin is ultra-conservation and is heavily pro-life? You are doing exactly what McCain is hoping you would do: vote for him because he picked a female VP. He's using you and your vote – doesn't that anger you in the least?

    Palin has no experience whatsoever. Nice, "bold" choice McCain, but honestly, you have health issues, I'd like to know that our VP could command the country if something were to happen to you. Palin hasn't shown us anything to suggest she could be President.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. John--Nebraska

    Brilliant choice President McCain.

    You can smell the desperation from the dems because they know that Palin, as VP is even more experienced than Obama as VP.

    McCain/ Palin '08 If you are smart enough to put your country ahead of your party.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. A new hater of Democrats.

    Will CNN stop putting McCain in his grave and stop giving all the gushy kudos to Obama?

    Campbell Brown is an idiot. Thank God she's not on the ticket.

    I would much rather have a number 2 who will learn on the job training than a number 1.

    Campbell, seriously, you're an idiot.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. SSanf

    Good Goddess! I guess he thinks we want a combination Norma Rae and The Flying Nun who had a daughter that she named "Willow"! What an idiot! I wonder if she can make good coffee.

    This nomination is an insult to the American citizenry!

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Julianne

    McCain didn't choose her...she was chosen for him. Just like everything else in his campaign. McCAin is just an empty suit – and puppet – Bush.

    McCains history of derrogatory comments regarding wormen, particularly his wife, and his horrendous voting record regarding womens rights make this selection all the more laughable. It's so blatantly obvious that this is a token selection.

    Her extreme position on abortion will be a deal breaker for anyone but those on the far right.

    Yeah, I want a beauty contest contestant with very little experience and very little foreign policy interest a breath away from the presidency. Heck, why didn't he just pick his barber? He's probably equally qualified, and at least McCain knows him.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. Mike Dallas

    Are there no moderate Republicans to stop the insanity! Oops, guess that is a oxymoron, since this pro-life choice was only chosen to solidify the base and pander to women.

    August 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Dood

    We understand the Obama kid's frustration.

    Obama was never going to win anyway. This just makes it more of a stomping on Nov 4.

    August 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Vy, California

    What an insult to PUMAs... McCain thinks PUMAs are empty headed, vote for any skirt, kinda people, with no brains to stop and think ....

    August 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  23. Charles

    So let me get this straight. There are people out there so against Obama that you would be suckered in by a candidate who chose a running mate for the presidency after meeting the person and talking to her once!? Are some of us that gullible? And what is it saying that you're voting for a person so you can suffer 4 years of failure only to get a chance to vote for somebody 4 years later? Do you know how much damage can be done in four years with the ideas McCain has proposed? You see what happened in four years with Bush and we were too foolish to heed that warning. Please, for the sake of my children and yours, do not make the same mistake three times!!

    August 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. eric

    John McCain picked his VP based on 1 meeting 6 months ago? She was the mayor of a town of 9,000 (about 20% the size of my suburb) and has 2 yrs of experience as a governor. Is McCain going senile?

    August 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. MarkS

    Shocking to have only met one time. Shocking to know she is a heartbeat away from the Presidency – I'd like to know has she ever even traveled outside of the country? Ever? Barely two years into a term at one of the least populous states. I highly doubt given her positions that "real" Hillary supporters vote that way – except the fake Republican posters here pretending to be them - so easy to spot those. I do love the drama of this pick but the bloom will wear off the rose very soon.

    August 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60