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. Hank

    WOW!! First major decision for McCain and he chooses someone he met once!

    I can't believe she is the best that the Republicans have to offer. Pretty sad. She is governer of one of the least populated states and has had prior experience as mayor and school board member!!!

    WOW, If this were a title fight it would be OVER

    August 29, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. Jan Wilson

    What? I am shocked by McCain's running mate choice. I am a staunch democrat, so I am happy with his "maverick" decision. Does this person have any education?

    August 29, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  3. Dave51

    Dana doesn't know squat.

    It's a fabulous team whether you're are a dem or rep; lib or con.

    Cnn, pulled you head out of the sand and look at reality.

    August 29, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. clinton supporter from Michigan

    This is the best example of the fact that John McCain is "out of touch".

    John McCain thinks we wanted Hillary because she was a woman. He forgets that we voted for Hillary in a DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY!!!!

    What he doesn't know is that we wanted Hillary because she was the woman who would promote OUR issues! Don't count on us as Hillary voters...We are not fooled! Mommy with a gun isn't going to fly!

    Barack Obama and Joe Biden are more supportive of issues than a pro life, pro gun pro Bush same as the last 8 years candidate.

    I'm still angry, but now I'm angry at John McCain!!! Now I'm going to vote for Barack Obama.

    August 29, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. Florida voter

    HAHA A woman vice-president!!!! Obama had his chance with Hillary, but in the end it was Mccain that picked one. How ironic.

    August 29, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. BR

    So its so easy to get to a VP position....possibly a future President of the most powerful country. Its very scary indeed. Seems like this is even scarier than the terrorist threats! Palin has absolutely no foreign policy credentials nor has any experience steering an economy out of doldrums. McCain is desperate and is out of ideas. He thinks he is smart by choosing her, he has the evangelicals in line and garner some of the Hillary backers, all in one go. Too bad it ain't gonna work this time. Enough of the Bush McCain war mongering right wing losers.

    August 29, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. ron

    Obama preaches change, picks old washington politician for running mate. McCain also says it's time for change picks forty four year old woman. both republican VP and democrat presidential nominee will have to get on the job training. question, who would you prefer to be leaning on the job, top banana or second banana.

    August 29, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Jeff in Los Angeles

    This pick reeks of desperation. I am sure as more news comes out about how he chose her, the fact that he only met her once, the more this will have the shapings of a bad pick.

    The guy spoke to her once, and after he saw Obama didn't choose Hillary, he jumped on the political option. If anyone will sacrifice Country over winning an election its John McCain. Not the pick that proves it, but HOW he chose her, only for being a woman. He only met her once, there is no way he knows anything about her. I bet she wasn't even vetted. McCain is taking a longshot on the only way he can steal withe WH.

    August 29, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Keely

    Mr. Independent -or so you call yourself a Mr. Sound more like a Mrs. in disguise. Can you please tell me what Senator Biden is lacking in experience that Senator Clinton apparently has other than her gender? Furthermore, since your use of the word "idiot" seems to be your favorite word, I would like to share my thoughts: I think you're an idiot, and a female is disguise, not to mention a republican.

    August 29, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Curtis

    If he is willing to offer someone he's only met once and only known for 6 months the second-in-command spot, how well do you think he's going to run a country? By making more seat-of-his-pants decisions? That's how we ended up in the middle east.

    August 29, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |


    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. Nsilo John

    Are you guys going to vote for Obama just because he's black?
    Are you guys going to vote for Mc Cain just because he is against abortion and hates gays?
    Are you going to vote for Obama just because he's handsome?
    Are you going to vote for Mc Cain just because he is a veteran?
    Are you going to vote for Obama just because he gave a great speech or...
    Are you going to vote for Mc Cain just because he finally put a female as VP?


    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. Mark from Arlington, Texas

    Wow. They met one time and now she is the VP pick. Sorta like going on one date and proposing the same night. Unfortunately the VP ramifications have are much more serious. Unbelievable.

    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. corporategiftsandgiftbaskets

    Fantastic idea!
    Wholeheartedly agree.
    Why not?
    No baggage!
    No crazy cracked out husband going around screwing and screwing things up.

    Cannot wait to see how this plays out.


    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. angela

    McCain made a wonderful descision. As I Stand with one foot on the democratic side and one on the republican, I am now one of those 18million cracks that is giving my support to the republican party. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, she has shown her ability to multi-task with her devotion to her family and country. And she still has her feet firmly grounded in christian values, and is reaching for what she believes in,She stands her own ground with the good old boys of washington and is a voice for all of us.

    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Reminds me of corporate America- when someone surprisng ends up with the job you wanted and you just say how the heck did that happen. McCain had so many other high caliber women to pick from.
    (Condoleeza Rice, Susan- the senator from Maine, etc) I'm sorry but is he thinking with his pants ? I think she is a fine person and mother but just not quite the level I thought he'd choose. I thought McCain's weakness was economic issues- what are Palin's iideas to get the economy going other than build a pipeline in Alaska.


    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. arturo Cuellar

    will not vote for john mccain ticket

    August 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Oh lord, the democrats accuse Palin to be thin on foreign policy...what is obama's record on foreign policy...please someone tell me. Other than missing every important vote I don't think he has any.

    I forgot....he went to Germany, gave hot dogs and beer and a rock concert to the public there. Of course they loved it....that's what he is doing with all the American??? money he is raising.

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. rusty

    It's been less than 24-hours since Obama made his historic speech and then -BOOM – a historic move by the republicans.
    Another reason why I will vote for McCain. He is a REFORMER indeed- in words and deed.

    McCain/Palin 2008

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |


    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. demwit

    Palin won't get any more womens votes just because of her sex than Obama will get just because of his race.

    Oh wait....

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. Vince

    sgp August 29th, 2008 7:23 pm ET

    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.

    Yet you are totally cool with Obama having NO FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE. It's bad that the future VP is inexperienced but great that the future president is inexperienced. Got Cha.

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  23. Dale

    McCain is NOT thinking. This is the worst choice who could have made. It wouldn't matter if Palin is male,female, or anything else. She was only picked because of her sex and that is the highest form of sexism.

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. Ryan in N. Cali

    Maybe he met her online.

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. nkm

    The shrillness, frenzy, and meanness of several anti-Palin comments is amazing and, I believe, is actually reflective of their fears about her positive impact on McCain’s chances of prevailing in November. Some of the smart dems are yet to figure out how to deal with her in a rational way

    August 29, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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