August 29th, 2008
09:01 PM ET
13 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. Will in California

    Now there is finally a person with governing experience on any ticket. A youthful, gun-toting, former beauty queen, and successful soccer mom-type who leads an entire state, not to mention being a conservative who believes in the core, wholesome values that has helped build America, yet still is tough enough to stand up against big government and special interest groups. Is she the modern-day Annie Oakley of government who, with Maverick McCain, will help reform the government and establish fiscal responsibility in the government finally? At the DNC convention, speakers stated about working from the top up, instead from working from the top down. Why then, is the Illinois senator, with no governing experience, a presidential nominee, when Sarah Palin has successfully lead an important state, fought against the bullies of special interest and reduced wasteful spending? Being governor is more credible and qualified to be president than a single term senator. Just look at how many governors and senators were president. Whites who vote for a black man for president due to some sense of white guilt, while blacks vote for people of the same color, is more insulting to intellectuals than women voting for a woman for president.

    August 29, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Dan

    Campbell Brown's guest just said that when McCain met Palin he knew she was a good leader because "he knows one when he sees one". Is that the same as looking into her eyes and seeing her soul ala Bush?

    August 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. Really Smart Mensa

    Ok Kids...I am a Hillary supporter, an Independent, middle-age, highly educated woman–this is a no brainer–Obama has my vote and the vote of ALL of my friends who were Hillary backers. I know because I took my own poll. We find this demeaning and insulting. This echoes of Bush's Harriet Meier blunder and his stupidity in hiring 156 law school graduates who were pretty much brain washed into the cult. I come from a family of attorneys, and believe me, being a "soccer mom" somehow doesn't equate with the study, the knowledge, and the application of Constitutional law. Treking through Alaska does not mean you can negotiate a deal with get the picture.
    Had Palin any clue of the magnitude of this postion, she would have gracefully said "Thanks, but NO thanks. I'm not qualified."

    Republicans–you really could have done better than this. You will definitely not be making friends with Independents.

    August 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. Mad

    Now those stupid idiots saying "you're not voting for Obama because of his race" can now be countered with gender

    this is so stupid

    DO YOU PEOPLE REALIZE HOW SEXIST YOU ARE BEING? Thinking McCain picked a woman just for the sake of picking a woman? Or not that she brings a younger perspective, the people of Alaska love her- and she is the future of a newer GOP- one better shaped

    Clinton's loss set the foundation for a failing Democratic party

    August 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. Alicia

    McCain just lost any chance of winning. Biden will devour her.

    August 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Zuq

    Ask her to spell potato. It this Dan Quayle in disguise?

    August 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. me

    Campbell Brown is a JOKE. She's part of the best Obama team on television....

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

    She has as much experience as Obama. Only difference is she is running for 2nd place, he's running for 1st.!

    August 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. adam

    If ANY american votes for this ticket they are HYPOCRITES. This woman has NO credentials to run this country should something happen to senator McCains health. This is the best thing the republicans could have done for this country, pick a losing ticket. The economy is in the toilet and we pick someone who knows nothing about how to get it back on track. To the women saying "this is great", it is the worst thing that could happen to this country, repubs have proven to be HYPOCRITES and have ZERO cred. Who is Palin???? There is a double standard here.........lotso hypocrisy in america. Where did all the STAND UP, STRAIGHT TALK REPUBS GO???? ABSENT, LOL......they're a joke!!!!!!

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


    Question: If Obama skin color is not black, would he even be close to a democratic nomination?

    No Way.

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Independent

    What a year for politics. I told my wife a year ago the race would come down to McCain and Obama. I was right. Mr. McCain is someone who I long respected but I told my mother IF Hillary was nominated I would vote for her just so she would see a woman president in her lifetime.

    I was also going to vote for Mr. Obama BECAUSE he is an African American and I think having him as a president would undo some of the harm done to this country by centuries of hypocrisy. I’ve always thought that Fredrick Douglas or Dr. King should replace George on the dollar bill. This country was built on the backs of those unfortunate souls born with brown skin and the dollar is the backbone of our economy, heck the worlds. Symbolic gestures to elevate the spirits.

    A VP will replace the president in the event something happens to him (her). It should be common sense that in a race as close as the Dem, controversial at that since Florida and Michigan could have changed the tides, that Obama would have picked Clinton ….. but he didn’t. To me that spells egotistical narcissist. Wake up man!! Half your party wanted her so if you die, shouldn’t she be your replacement? Fool, how can I vote for you now?

    Democrats have always taken ludicrous positions in their positions. Here is what they are saying now. How can they choose this person who is nothing more than a Governor? Idiot, you chose Bill Clinton for president and he was a Governor. How can they pick her for #2, she has no experience? Idiot, your #1 has no experience. We are on a platform for change. Idiot, you want to change to someone with no experience with an insider for backup. At least McCain, #1 is experienced and by the way, both considered outside the beltway. Yes this is a ticket for change, the Republican ticket that is. And by the way, McCain has too many houses, Idiot, last race you ran Kerry, he had almost as many houses, why wasn’t this a problem then?
    But this blog is about Sarah. Yes, Sarah not Mrs. Palin. I think she is exactly what this country needs. I am thrilled.

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. PUMA 4 OBAMA

    She was recorded as saying that she has zero interest in foreign policy...and this is who wil be president should something happen to mccain? I think not!!!

    like Hillary said:
    No how, No Way, No McCain!!!

    Go Democrats! 🙂

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. TONYA

    Yeah McCain a Maverick with a do as I say attitude. How could he choose someone that is out of touch with main stream America. This was a complete insult to women like me. She is no Hillary and it is an insult a an obvious political Repulican Chess game to pick this women. I am offended at the idea this was a bold pick. She is going to follow whatever McCain tells her to do. All the crap in Alaska means nothing compared to our mainstram America. You are still a Repulican bad boy wanting her to get in line. At least Hillary is graceful and in the campaign with her party. As an independent I am insulted that they "Repulicans" go so low. Alaska please.... and Joe's son Bo is off to Iraq as well. This makes the world see AMERICA IS NUTS... OBAMA IS READY AND HAS AT LEAST GONE AFTER HOW TO GET IT DONE AND BRIDGE THE GAP OF WHAT HE DOES KNOW AND HOW HE NEEDS US ALL AS AMERICANS TO UNITE PERIOD... THANK YOU MCCAIN FOR BEING THE SAME BUSH NEXT DOOR!!! THANK YOU DEMOCRATS FOR SHOWING WHAT WE CAN DO FOR CHANGE. THIS IS A BULL,DUMB,GAME BY THE REPUBLICAN MACHINE. GOSH TO THINK HE COULD PICK SOMEONE HE DOES NOT KNOW ON A WHIM IS RIDICULIOUS...... SO MUCH TO SAY, THIS IS A BOOKREPORT READY TO HAPPEN. I WAS ON THE FENCE THANK YOU FOR MY NOW OBAMA 08 CHOICE... THE COUNTRY WANTS CHANGE AND WE WILL DO IT TOGETHER. WE REALLY DON'T WANT EITHER OF YOU ANSWERING THE PHONE AT 3AM SINCE SHE'S THE SOCCER MOM AND YOU'LL TAKE YOUR PILLS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE. E V E R Y T H I N G !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. CA

    Undecided voter is now voting for McCain/Palin '08!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. RB

    Wow. McCain met her six months ago. We just met her and already know she has ZERO experience on anything. Gov of Alaska for less than two years. State with 670K people. Former mayor of a town of less than 10K people. No interest in foreign affairs (never mind two wars and Russia on the prowl). For the bridge before she was against it. Need I say more. McBush proved he is senile. And, he thinks the educated, hard-working women of this country will vote for her simply because she's a female. I'm insulted for the women of our country! How dare McSame pull this stunt. I know you're steaming out there ladies. Let John McBush know how you feel.

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

    Campbell Brown is soooo beautiful!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. Stephanie from DE

    Sarah Palin was a good choice. She's a fresh face with a background of making good things happen.....this is a good "change".
    Obama needs to cut out the rhetoric with all of this "change" that he preaches and needs to start giving speeches with some substance. Even Biden admitted that Obama is not ready to be Pres. He lacks the smarts about more than just foreign policy.
    Palin has great values and potential.
    She's proud of the US...unlike Michelle.
    She's and her husband: both union members, parents were educators, understands and supports domestic fuel support, manages a large family. She's a great speaker and an intelligent lady.
    Hillary would've been just a slick willie repeat. That's old news.
    I don't think McCain will be kicking the bucket so soon! Shame on you all discriminating against age. LOL

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. JacklynD

    This is soooo comical on so many levels. The Republicans think you can exchange one female for another. Does that mean that I can exchange my Dad for John McCain? He's worked hard all of his life (steel mill worker and was an officer at the local Elks club) and he's about the same age. Perhaps we could exchange Senator Obama for a better looking black man. While we are at it maybe we could find a slightly younger man to plug into Biden's spot.

    They just don't get it. This is a typical superficial move on the part of the Republicans. Get a grip. Its about the issues. You can dress up a pig (elephant) anyway you like buy it is still a pig.

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. sandyalip

    McCain just doesn't get it. We didn't want Hillary because she was a woman. We wanted her because we truly believed she was the best for the job. Picking an unqualified novice to be a heartbeat away from the presidency because she is a woman is such a horror-and such an insult to all American women. If she did somehow rise to the presidency, God help America. A beauty pageant contestant would be Commander in Chief. I'm a registered Republican woman. I have been trying to decide what I should do now that Hillary is gone. Thank you McCain-I've made up my mind!

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. Pam

    And McCain is questioning Obama's experience? This woman could be a heartbeat from the presidency and she's got nothing.

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. Jerry

    He must have heard what she had to say!! Unlike Obama who sat in a hatefull church for 20 years and never heard a word!! LMAO!!

    August 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Thanks

    Thanks to Campbell have single handedly made my choice John McCain by your blatant support for Obama. You need to take a deep breath and quit making it so obvious who YOU are voting for!

    August 29, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. NotTheSame

    McCain give me a break do you think just because she is a woman you can steal Hill's followers we were for Hill and true Dems. you might get the PUMA vote. But not the true party!

    First of all, your age..... do you really think she could step into 2 wars and the economy she was over a small population.

    Bad move and an insult to me a Hillary supporter!

    August 29, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Pam

    Hey you know this woman called Hillary an insufferable whiner?

    August 29, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. AUC

    This is Comic Releif and Funny as H**l!!!!!! So much for personal relationships, experience and being ready from day ONE. Thank you for the early November gift John McCain:)

    Poor Mitt!!! Does he even remember her name???????? FUNNY

    Obama/Biden 08/12!!!!!

    YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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