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. Suzanne

    This is a shocking way of doing such important business. In my mind, it seriously calls McCain's judgement into question. What a slap to people like Pawlenty and Ridge. And what a fright if anything happens to McCain.

    August 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Leimomi Matunding

    Do not vote for McCain and his running mate. Sara Palin has no background experience. What is she thinking? I live in Juneau Alaska; I know what Sara Palin is from a standpoint of a union activist, a worker. She does not defend or support the workers, the laborers; she does not put Alaska First as she claims.

    I am a Hillary supporter and I will vote for Obama in November. To think McCain using a woman and having Sara Palin take on that role to sway Hillary supporters...what realty is Sara in.

    McCain what were you thinking?

    Vote no on McCain and Palin because they are a recipe for disaster for our country.

    August 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    Does this world-wind relationship cause anyone else pause? John McCain talked to Palin for the first time ever last sunday, then Thursday asked her to be VP? Wow... talk about a shotgun marriage. How do these two know they are compatable? What chemistry do they have? What if she hates the guy or vice versa.

    August 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. David

    How low can we go? Is one week enough to elect a vice president? Senator made this decision in less than a week. And from what I heard he only met her once!!!! ONCE...., How is that possible? It is obvious that he is trying to get women vote but does he think women are stupid? I think he contradicts himself in a lot of things by choosing this lady. I wonder what his attack point would now be? "Expericance" looks out the window..... Would he use "Not white Enough" argument?
    I wonder

    August 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Closely Watching

    Here ya' go PUMAs, your answer to your prayers. A woman who could, and in all likelihood will, be President of the United States...since McOld is gonna keel over half way through his first term. There she is ladies, all Pro-Life, moose hunting, fish gutting, boot stomping and ready to lead!!!
    Go vote for McCain and kiss your right to choice adios. Go on, go on. Hurry up. Get outta here and don't let the door slam you in arse on the way out.

    August 29, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. gene

    McCain picked Palin for one reason and one reason only. To pander to Hillary supporters.

    That's the difference between Obama and McCain... Obama picks someone who he can learn with and get real advise from and work with. McCain picks someone that he can lead around and be his yes-man.. or yes-woman in this case. Other than the fact that she's a woman... what can she possibly add to his campaign? Obama picks people based on merit... If he wanted the "sure fire win",.. he could've picked Hillary. But he's not looking for who's the most popular... he's looking for who's the best person for the job. Once again... McCain's personal ambitions are shown to be more important than the good of the country.

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

    Way to go McCain. Showing the independence you have become famous for. Independent from toting party line in the face of extremism. And not afraid to put a strong woman as your running mate. Because women get it down, as she sure shows. A married mother of 5 with a record and history of good government work. She compliments the ticket in every way with adding domestic policy making experience and executive experience.

    The Dem's are definitely freaking out now.

    August 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Joe

    I'll tell you how he chose her. Wait until we see who Obama picks. Obama chose Biden and not Hillary. McCain then decides to chose a woman so he can get the votes of those who voted for Hillary. Great strategy for November, but I really don't think he chose her as the strongest person to serve with him if he's elected.

    August 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Josh

    Come on people, she wants to teach creationism in the school. She doesn't believe that global warming is man made. Really! Creationism. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti God, but I am very pro science.

    August 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. A new hater of Democrats.

    Why is everyone putting McCain in his grave?


    You choose a VP who will balance you. She does that.

    I love her because for the past two years she hasn't talked about change. She's actually made changes.

    Former Hillary supporter for McCain/Palin

    August 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. CC, VA

    The more I learn about Palin, the more I am seeing the substance under the what I first thought was a disasterous decision on McCain's part. I hope that at some point, we can get past the pandering comments and start talking about the issues.

    August 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Mallinda Chong-anderson

    now I have a good reason to vote for McCain, great pick.

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. Jay

    Gotta love the liberal media bias over all this. When Obama picked a corrupt insider with a history of plagiarism, there was nary a peep over it. No "report cards," no "what was he thinking," no "this runs counter to Obama's claim of change." But McCain taps a woman with years of experience as governor and suddenly it's a shooting gallery with liberal demagogues firing sour-grape shells claiming that strong woman who is a REAL agent for change is some kind of novice.

    All this bluster from the liberal media would be hilarious if it wasn't so absolutely pathetic.

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Dom, western PA

    Experience...? Are you serious?

    One line from the Bush administration: 'Brownie you're doing a heckeva job'! I think that sums up the fact that this is McCain's pick for the person only a 'heartbeat' away from the presidency.

    I have a feeling women are going to look at this and see political exploitation rather than advancing their role in society.

    What was John McCain thinking...of all the choices he had...

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. sgp

    As an American neighbor, I think the choice of Sarah Palin is downright scary. I hope the citizens of the most powerful nation in the world will not risk having a leader with zero foreign policy experience should something happen to John McCain in the event he is elected President.

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Lynn

    Sarah Palin has an excellent record !!!

    Great choice !!!

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Marie in CA

    Sarah Palin is an INSULT to the WOMEN"S MOVEMENT. NO WAY!!!!

    Go back to your igloo Governor.

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. Robert in Greensboro

    After having made experience such an issue in the campaign, it seems odd that Senator McCain would choose a running mate he barely knows and one with such limited experience. It appears to be a calculated political decision rather than a decision on who best could run the country in the event they need to step in for the boss.

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. Erica, WI

    And this is good judgement? Putting someone you only met once the be next in line to run the country? What a slap in the face toMitt Romney. At least he is qualified.

    August 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Lisa from VA

    He is sadly mistaken if he thinks this Hillary supporter is going to fall in line. I am insulted at the idea that I will just settle for any woman just for the sake of getting to vote for a woman. Shows what he thinks of women's intelligence, IMO. And she called Hillary whiney a while back and now she is praising her. Well I can see right through it. She is NO Hillary Clinton. I support Hillary Clinton for WHO she is, not WHAT she is.

    August 29, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. susan

    Palin is a set back for the women's movement

    August 29, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. Gorefan

    McCain went looking for a highly qualified vice president and found a fairly qualified Secretary of the Interior.

    So much for McCain the Maverick, he stared Rush Limbaugh in the eyes and McCain blinked. He let the right wing of the Republican Party hijack his vp pick.

    August 29, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. cph9680

    Eve from NY:
    Even more so because we were going to vote for him come Novemeber! But this is OUTRAGEOUS..selecting Palin simply because of her anatomy, and expecting intelligent american women to vote for him because of this!!

    Hmm, intelligent woman?
    Voting for McCain, I think not!

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

    WOW! What a brilliant pick for VP! At last, a fresh CHANGE! As a 58-year old Democrat, so far the McCain-Palin ticket has my vote!

    August 29, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Kjetil

    It shows that McCain dont give credit for loyalty like Tim Pawlenty. Strange since McCain did not win big in GOP even with a weak field. Pawlenty supported him all the way. And the thanks is too someone that he just have meet once or twise. It shows that he is not worth giving in for and Pawlenty and Romney has been very bad treated i think by McShame.

    August 29, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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