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. Jeffrey

    Given the logic of some of these comments and McCain's pick, feels like being in the Twilight Zone.

    August 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  2. Sara

    LOL – she has a reputation for taking out republicans – ha ha ha – goodbye McBush
    look at this excerpt from the weekly standard:

    " In the roughly three years since she quit as the state's chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic. Political analysts in Alaska refer to the "body count" of Palin's rivals. "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah," says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called "Voice of the Times," which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct."

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. Angela from Philadelphia

    David Gergen was just on CNN talking about how the Hillary supporters see this as an insult- well no she is not HIllary but then again she's a Repub so what did everyone expect. I dont consider her an insult- I do very much want to hear what she says this upcoming week.. Seems the McCain camp should have had her out today to really explain who she is and what she believes in- instead there have been only the pundants on TV either saying this is never going to work or that MCain had to do this.

    It is very ironic that some seem fine with a presidential male candidate who has very little to no foreign policy experience , but yet a woman vp candidate with the same little or no foreign policy experience- is somehow a horrible problem.

    As a Hillary suppoerter I want to hear what she says – I don't know if I will vote or not- but I do know that I am not voting for Obama- HIllary has done more for them than any other losing candidate in history and yet they have done very little for her- cant even make a tiny dent in her campaign debt and it's obvious Obama never considered her for VP- she was never on his short list and I feel insulted when Obama acts very coy and just won't say the truth which is they never considered her.

    Maybe BIden should debate McCain and Obama should debate Paulin.

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Franky

    This the reason divorce is on the rise, you meet lady today, introduce her to friends and relatives the following and marry her on the third day. You barely know her n she may just rob you off. Mr Mc, you barely her...not a good idea

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. RB

    Independent, you're the only IDIOT if you intended to vote for Obama because he's "African American". You idiot he's bi-racial and AMERICAN! And, you're a bigger IDIOT if you vote for this woman simply because she is a woman. What this country really needs is a law against IDIOTS like you having the right to vote. Idiot. Just shut up!

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Zuq

    Soo much dirt I'm finding. WOW.

    On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan for not adequately filling state trooper vacancies, and because he "did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues."[60] She instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down.[61][62] Her power to fire him is not in dispute, but Monegan alleged that his dismissal may have been an abuse of power tied to his reluctance to fire Palin's former brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. mary from ohio

    Pretty obvious that many of these posts are paid "botters" trying to stir the pot. I loved Hillary, but the Obama-led DNC kicked her to the curb. Remember? Now we can't have her.

    I appreciate that McCain is secure enough to put a woman on the ticket. And she seems like a very capable choice.

    It's Obama who insulted women by not choosing Hillary. His ego was too big. She would have outshone him by a mile. She should have been on the top of the ticket. Let's thank him by voting for him??

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. Republican for Obama

    Are you kidding me?! Palin is the proverbial "Dan Quayle" of this election. If she's trying to snag some Clinton supporters, then supporters need to know that while she praised Clinton in today's speech, she called Clinton a "whiner" in March of this year. I have firm faith in American Women that they will not fall for this obvious ploy for their support.

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  9. Chris - Moreno Valley, Ca

    go ahead mcshame, pimp the vote

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Mitzie

    So many people seem to question Barack Obama's experience. The conversation seems to say that he is "just a good speech". McCain, after using this to his advantage chooses not only someone who is less experienced but also someone who is being investigated for abusing her power in order to fire her brother in law. Of course, an underling has taken the brunt of this investigation, a long time Republican trick.

    I have one question after 8 years of George W. Bush. What is wrong with a man who is intelligent enough to make a speech that inspires, who is intelligent enough to pronounce the name of countries and world leaders correctly, who is intelligent enough to not be the butt of late night comedy, who is intelligent enough to be against a ridiculous war, who is intelligent enough to choose the best person to be his running mate.

    It comes down to "judgement" in the end.

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

    God help us! McCain is really Insane...Given his background and alleged affairs with lobbist and comments by his ex-wife that McCain was turning 40 and wanted to be 25 again. Now looks like McCain is turning 75 and wants to be 55 again with his choice of running mate...

    August 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Patti Zimmerman

    Better check and see if John McCain's been abducted by aliens. Palin? A beauty queen sportscaster newly elected governor from Alaska? I have been laughing all day.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. cindy for NC

    NO WAY... From a Dem StandPoint. Thanks Republicans you put the rocks in your already sinking boat. I might have been a little worried w/ the other canidates but you picked someone w/ little experience and a female that you barely now.

    So you are basically insulting woman especially those who believe in the advancement of woman. To choose someone based on sex is pathetic. It would be different if he even knew her or had some type of political relationship with her but just to pick her now just because.

    McCain is McInsane..... Sad Choice.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  14. Delois Thomas

    I listen to CNN on a regular basis. My family often point out there are hundreds of other channels availavle. In all my watching I have not heard you say Barach Obama did not ask Hillary to be VP. Maybe he asked her and she refused. Do we know for sure.

    Gov. Palin is to be commended by for being a good mother, so am I and millons of others. She gets sympathy for caring for a child who is challenged, so does millions of others and my own family. She has our prayers for her son going off to war. I also pray for many other parents whose children have gone to war many times,some who did not return.

    If she is such a wonderful candidate, why did she even mention these things, as part of her resume for VP, and possible Commander & Chief.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  15. Sean

    First a Trophy wife, now a Trophy VP! What mistake will McGAFFE make next?

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. mike

    If you had any inkling that McCain had any sound judgment; it should now be confirmed that HE DOESN'T!!

    Wow ...

    What a moron ... I bet he overrode everyone else in his vetting committee to choose her ...

    I think the old coot is only thinking of trying to replace Cindy McCain at one of his 10 houses ...

    LOL what a joke ... Obama by at least 20 % points ...

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

    Palin said that her dismissal of Monegan was unrelated to the fact that he had not fired Wooten. Palin said that members of her staff had made contact with public safety officials regarding the trooper, though she said that her staff's contacts with the commission were not directed by her and she had little knowledge of them. She also took disciplinary action against one member of her staff who had mentioned her and Wooten's family connection to Monegan's staff.[65] In August 2008, the Alaska Legislature hired Steve Branchflower to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal.[66] Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who is overseeing the investigation, says that the Palin administration has been cooperating and that subpoenas are unnecessary.[67

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. Steve

    He has known about her for six months. He has known her for six days. I think he just shot himself in the foot. Nice try. I was voting for Obama anyway, but they are going to have fun with thisone on the campaign trail.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Starling

    For the Hillary supporters who are now planning to vote for McCain:

    Why were you a Hillary supporter originally? What about her positions and policies appealed to you most strongly? What made you feel she was most qualified of all the candidates on the Democratic side?

    I'm curious, because many of Hillary's more vocal supporters don't seem to have a clear idea of what her positions on the issues actually are.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. D T

    What a joke this site is. I put up two posts against obama and you didn't put up either of them.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. Adam

    Can you find a more left leaning commentator than Campbell Brown?

    CNN- you are better than this? Pull Campbell Brown from the Air and tell her that her job should not be to take the news of Sarah Palin personally. It makes her look incredibly shallow.

    She needs a reality check.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. Rebecca Netherland

    GOP forced to select a Clean oil candidate to fill in, to steal the electro votes from florida. No big oil $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to run the race unless you go in big oil dirrection.

    August 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. me

    OMG AGAIN!!!

    Someone at CNN NEEDS to send Campbell Brown on a vacation!!!

    SHE jumped down the guests' throat.....not the other way around!
    She is a JOKE!

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

    McCain's choice was clearly impulsive. I think in making this tactical decision, he got scared by Obama's celebrity status and ability to draw crowds. If he wanted a woman, there are more seasoned republican females with well known conservative opinion.
    Obama is a more serious candidate with his choice of Biden and McCain with his choice worries me as a maverick.
    I wonder what kind of judgement will go into his decision making if he becomes President.

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

    Campbell you are a joke!

    August 29, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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