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. Yoichi Kawamura

    Refusing Federal earmarked funds to build a bridge is not an example of independence and being a maverick; it is an example of how rich Alaska is from OIL money. Alaska makes so much money from OIL that the residents (from a very less populated state) do not have to pay STATE income tax; in fact the STATE pays them. They have TONS of money to do what they need to. It's easy to have courage and say no to money when you have wealth. The rest of the country does not have the luxury that Alaska does (saying no to Fedeal funds). We have to deal with limited financial resources and unlimited needs and have to make hard choices. This example does not show us if she can make the hard decisions – only the easy ones.

    August 29, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  2. sandra-california


    August 29, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. Soccer Mom

    Wait, he picked her after only meeting her once! What a gimmick to try and get female voters. It won't work. Call me old fashioned, and I am a working MOM, but if we had a 4 month old baby with special needs both my husband and I would not be looking at that as a time to advance our careers especially into a job where time with your family would be minimal. Not with a premature infant. Yet she will be applauded for her family values to outlaw abortion and punish women and doctors, even in cases of rape or incest.

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  4. Jesse Walker, ALASKA

    As a lifelong Alaskan native and a Republican, I can faithfully say I will NOT be voting for McCain and Paulin due to the slightest chance that she becomes the president of this country. She rules as if in a dictatorship, not listening to others opinions and making poor decisions in the process. She has been under investigation for the firing of a govenment employee who stood in the way of her family issues, and lost the state millions of dollars trying to bankroll a dairy farm because it was HER idea to do so. In fact, she fired all of the Board Members who told her not to do this and replaced them all with a new board of her friends who voted for her to bankroll the dairy, which went under and lost millions for us.

    It is scary to think she will be in charge of all of you if anything happens to the geezer in her corner.

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. rachael

    LAME...Im switching parties, OBAMA 2008

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  6. Judie

    I feel like I am watching Tina Fey impersonating Sarah Palin on a Saturday Night Live episode.What was he (Mr McCain thinking)?I as a woman find this appoinment an insult to women all over the USA.
    The only happy women I can think of (with this appoinment) would be Evangelical's.G-d help us (the women who fought for Roe V Wade).

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. JB, Kansas

    I am speechless. An undergraduate degree with a minor in political science, member of City Council and Mayor in a town of little over 5,000 and a year and 1/2 as gov. of a state that has more rain deer than people is all it take to be second in command of a world super power??????! Wow! We must seriously question McWar's judgement. And her's for accepting. She has 3 young daughters and a 4 1/2 month old infanct son with special needs that she will obviously never see. Wake up America.

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Tempered

    Thank you, John McCain! Your desire to pander to the PUMA crowd has just highlighted your desperation, your lack of understanding, and your poor judgment. If you had chosen a truly experienced woman, we democrats might have been worried. But someone you just met 6 months ago? Who had phone interviews with - not you - YOUR STAFF? And then you saw her for the 2nd time on WEDNESDAY? As in two days ago? What?? I guess you must have heard really good things from all 8500 residents of the town that she formerly governed as mayor. I've had cans of food in my pantry for a longer time than this woman governed even at the state level. Seriously??

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. Linda from Arkansas

    What a joke. McCain should be ashame. I once supported Hillary. I am Obama All the way. America get out and vote. Your voice will count more than ever now. Obama and Bidden ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. Truth B Told

    MSNBC's use of breaking news with the caption how many houses does Sarah bring to the ticket is crude beyond belief. But think of this, for them to stoop this low means that the choice Mccain has made has hurt them to the core. Last nights hope has turned into today's despair.

    August 29, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. Stefanie, Texas

    So we have McCain who wants to go to war with any country that disagrees with the US and we have Palin who says she hasn't followed the Iraq war much. Wow, the Republicans really have great foreign policy.

    August 29, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. Joe

    What was he thinking? This is a not-so-veiled attempt to attract moderate Democrats, who will see right through it. This choice says volumes about McCain decision-making abilities. He's known a maverick with an bit of a temper. This shows him as someone who likes to shoot from the hip, but who knows where the shots will land. That's not someone I trust making on-the-spot decisions with nuclear weapons or our servicewomen's and servicemen's lives, much less the long-term affect on my children's lives. Talk about an "impulse buy" at the checkout!

    August 29, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. Cheryl

    She will be absolutely WONDERFUL for the Party and for the White House. McCain could NOT have picked a BETTER candidate!!!! Cannot wait for all women who really WANT CHANGE to get behind this WOMAN who has the guts to bring it on!

    August 29, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. D-California

    Loser McCain, I'm a woman that would never vote for a beauty pagent with no brains, just cutie pie smiles and phoney beliefs...and his wife was a beauty pagent winner, and he picked one for his running mate, he is a dirty old man!!! She has no qualifications, but she's cute, that all and that's why he picked her! We're not stupid McCain! You hillary people should see through this!!!

    I want a OBAMA/BIDEN! Take the idiot McCainaics and trash them!

    August 29, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. Wanblitz

    Gov. Palin is a great choice! What I'd like to know is why Campbell Brown of CNN is so negatively biased against this woman. Journalists are supposed to give the public a balanced view of the news. As a Harvard grad student who has taken courses in journalism, I wonder if Ms. Brown realizes how obvious her attitude is to CNN viewers and how her emotional displays detract considerably from her credibility and professionalism as a newsperson. Chill out, Ms. Brown and give Ms. Palin the benefit of the doubt. Someone took a chance on you at the start of your career, remember?

    August 29, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. Herman In LA

    All you women out there should be same to be picked just because of your anatomy.

    August 29, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. WHAT

    McCain' s zipper made this choice.

    What are the evangelical's going to do when they find out she believe in and promotes EVOLUTION? McCain won't have those votes.

    August 29, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. sharon

    BTW in reference to Campbell Brown and no bias/no BS...this is the no BS part and she is just pointing it out. Good for her.

    August 29, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. Jose Correa

    I flew in late last night back home to Connecticut, all airport restaurants and shops were closed with their gates down, but the employees were sitting after their work watching their TVs and listening to what Senator Obama had to say, doubt anyone would stay after a long day of work to watch McCain and listen to what he would have to say.

    August 29, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. SUE, Michigan

    Judgment? Not so much. Experience? None. Chemistry with McCain? Who knows? Wonder if she's up for a biker beauty pageant with Cindy?
    But evidently what she does have is ties to oil, a desire to change the Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade, and probably lock up homosexuals as well.
    Oh, and she has a handicapped infant who will now be taken care of by whom? And where? Alaska is a long way from the campaign trail.
    Oh, and I guess the most important qualification-she said "yes." Like I said, zero judgment. This race is now Obama's to lose-can the Democrats blow THIS one too?
    Hillary supporter for Obama!

    August 29, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  21. Willa-PA

    Just saw a PUMA person on Chris Matthews, forgot her name already...looked like a real bitter sour puss, if her face looked any more stearn she would have broken the camara lenses...pathetic!

    August 29, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  22. Nap76

    The bottom line is McCain picked Plain not for her qualifications but simply to draw backers of Hillary Clinton as evidenced by some of Plain's first comments targeting Hillary supporters directly.

    This is clearly a serious lapse in judgement on McCain's part – he simply doesn't understand why American's backed Hillary because if he did understand he would never have picked Plain – Hillary and Plain may both be women but you could drive a the space shuttle between them on the issues. People backed Hillary because she represented their values – Plain does not.

    Bottom line – If McCain doesn't have the judgement and ability to understand his fellow American's and he didn't have the judgement and foresight to stand against the war in Iraq then how can we elect him to be President? Obama got it right – It's not that McCain doesn't care i- He just doesn't get it.

    August 29, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. Laura

    Palin is a logical choice for the Republican party trying to reconnect with their base of very conservative, NRA, Christians. Palin is right in line with them. I am personally offended by the choice as I apparently with millions other women are qualified to be VP. Women have fought for decades for equal pay for equal work, and with all minorities have fought against tokens. Mrs. Palin is not the best choice for VP she was chosen with a callous and paternalistic view of what women want. and need. If McCain wanted a woman on the ticket why was Kay B. Hutchison not contacted? Oh that's right there is a single issue divide. I have never been so offended by a national party!

    August 29, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  24. tex

    wow!!!! what a blunder. the libs will eat him up. just because billary almost got in does not mean a woman is ready to lead,but thats exactly what mcolds handlers think. so good job up until today john but its over. we will now be led by a black,muslim,liberal p.o.s. so thanks

    August 29, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. jeff

    Graet Move.
    Obama and his team can not say she is not experinced enough. She is only 3 years yonger than Obama and she is the govenor of a state.
    She has some actual expeiriece that Obama lacks

    August 29, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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