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. Stop the Madness

    Elite America is showing its true colors. The Republicans are about winning at any cost – not about the people. The Republicans know nothing about a decent living. They drive their expensive cars, having nannies for their 5 kids, and never actually experience life. They don’t witness homelessness everyday, or see students learning in broken down schools or deal with mental illness. They can hire help not deal with it.

    Sarah has not done anything special. We working single mothers have done more in raising our kids (without a nanny), working two jobs, taking care of the household and running a business. I am insulted and disgusted that McCain is using a woman just to win. He is a flip flopper and I wouldn't trust his judgment to make any decision.

    This Republican political arena is all about racism, sexism, age, money and power. The Republicans are scared they are losing power. They are scare of change and want to keep us oppressed.

    We are suppose to be a nation (not McCain Nation as his website states) of diversity (the Melting Pot) not belittle, hate and totally disrespects humanity. Shame on McCain for abusing all the "isms."

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. Terry Onstad

    It's 3 oclock in the rnorning and the baby is up crying, and THE PHONE
    RINGS - What will Sara do???

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. Jen

    I thought that Hillary said it best when she asked everyone at the DNC were they in it for her? A Democrat is a Democrat, and they should stand behind their party no matter what. It is just sick that just because Obama is the nominee you will turn your backs on everything you claimed to be all about, everything you claimed to support. What is Obama hiding, and how do you know?
    As far as Palin, she was a plan to get women voters in, the anti-christ Hillary supporters. Shame on all of you. This country is in sad sad shape, and because you are sore losers, you are going to let it get worse.
    FYI.. she is extremely pro-life, ladies.

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  4. Megan

    Cindy McCain is being replaced. I gues Karma is working!! I am SO disappointed in McCain's party. I guess I will be voting Democrat for the first time since I was eligible to vote. Thanks McCain for destroying our faith in our party. PIG!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  5. firstinblogland

    well spoken Independent.

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. Betty

    And here I had thought my decision had been made after my candidate Hillary lost to Obama. I was going to sit this election out, or write in my presidental choice.....My mind is clearly made up now. No way, No how, No McCain Obama08

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. RD

    can she spell potato

    August 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Carolyn

    Campbell Brown you are doing a GREAT job tonight. WAY to go.

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

    rachael August 29th, 2008 7:16 pm ET

    I am so upset with this decision. What if he wins and something should happen to him?! He's leaving us with HER?! She's under criminal investigation and was placed on temporary leave last week! AND HE PICKED HER! IS HE INSANE?!

    I'm going to have an aneurysm. What happened to Mitt Romney or Pawlenty, or Ridge or even Lieberman!? This is so irresponsible.

    Or worse yet what if Obama wins?

    August 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  10. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    I think McCain was obviously turned down by his first several choices. Can't imagine her being higher than fifth on his list. There are 19 CITIES in the US that have greater populations than Alaska. You are going to see her Vogue Cover all over the place very soon and this quote repeated over and over “I tell ya, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me: What is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?"

    August 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  11. Devin

    What is wrong with people in this country?? You so called Hillary supporters would actually vote AGAINST your own interests out of spite. You said that you would not support Obama even if he chose a woman other than Hillary to be his #2 yet now you praise McCain for his selection of Palin?? Its that same selfishness and lack of critical thinking that have given this country, and for that matter the world, 8 years of crippling domestic and foreign policy decisions. When are we going to learn, will we ever learn??? I feel ashamed to be an American right now. WE ARE A LAUGHING-STOCK!! Get over yourselves people. WAKE UP BEFORE ITS TOO LATE, PLEASE!!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  12. 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...and voting for McCain and his VP is against everything Clinton was stupid!!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. Bill

    Now seriously, republicans, I certainly understand your desire to try to match Obama's wave of change... But after >7 years under your "superstars" – Bush/Cheney – is McCain/Palin ticket the best you can offer?! – it reminds me your 1996 ticket with the viagra celebrity – Bob Dole. Let me remind you that Bill Clinton won that year 49 to 41 by popular vote and 379 to 159 by electoral vote. Well, good luck to you rebuilding your party over the next 8-16 years – hopefully you'll have some serious tickets then!

    August 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Roe

    The republicans are IDIOTS!! I am enjoying watching TV as they put on their phony act to actually believe that this woman is even qualified to run for VP. What a disgrace to even think that women would accept her for Hillary Clinton. This should piss all woman off and if it does not...shame on all of you for accepting whatever is thrown to give a dog a bone. Have a standard will you, you enforce standards in your kids don't you? He has only met her twice!!!! Boy talk about judgment. Hillary is intelligent and smart and truly a hard worker. This choice is pathetic!

    August 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  15. The point

    Personal to "

    There are 15 US cities larger than the state she's governed for 20 months.

    August 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  16. PrinceDLW

    I found this in one of the other chats. Take a read, I think it's pretty interesting:
    I have watched all the debates after her acceptance speech and no one brought up the fact that she, in front of a worldwide audience, broke Operational Security the Military prides itself on. She announced the MOS of her son serving in the Army, and went on to say the exact date and the country her son’s unit will deploy too. She has not only endangered the life of her son, but all the other soldiers in his unit. Senator John McCain never talked about his own son’s service for that very reason. I think it shows the lack of Judgment on the part of McCain’s Camp to not screen her speech and shows her own inexperience on the National Stage. For a candidate who prides himself on National Security his Vice Presidential choice just blew that argument out of the water. So why are we not talking about this issue?

    I've said it once and I'll say it again. If this were a "GAME" the move would be brilliant, but it's not. On the issues, the Republicans SIMPLY, CANNOT, WIN. It is mathematically impossible if you tally a united Democratic base, the Independants and Republicans that have had ENOUGH. The statement from above underscores that this was a knee-jerk reaction to the power of Obama's speach and the unification of the Democratic base. Don't be swayed by the stagecraft. Vote on the issues.

    August 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. BluezMom

    Not only am I suprised by McCain's choice, but I have to wonder why she would want to live the tough campaign trail life and possibly the VP life when she has a special needs child that needs her so much more than the country does.

    August 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  18. daniel

    please Genral Collin Powell endorce Obama, stand for what is right and this race is over by next week after the republica circus convencion [circus because all the clowns with the elefant]

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

    I hope everyone understands this president job is not a JOKE. This is a serious position and doing things to sway dumb people is not right. This is so wrong. I cannot believe that these Rublicans think we people are that dumb. If he was young it would be different.

    I cannot believe this this is so sad. John McCain is a joke and always has been. If he would stop reacting to Obama and actually show he's capable of running this country he might win.

    August 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. Cindy

    I think that it's great to have a woman on board! Go Palin! Especially one who has proven herself . On the news they said she had an approval rating of 80% in Alaska! IF that record won't get it then nothing will. Clinton was a governor and he went to the White House and he wasn't any more qualified either. Her record of taking on Beauracy and taking on the large oil company might be just the ticket we need in our White House!!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Sally

    Thanks McCain, Because of this out of mind's choice, I'm more confidential that Obama will win!

    August 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  22. Jinny

    MaryfromTexas, are you for real?! There are plenty of FAR more qualified conservative women than Palin, who AREN'T under investigation for ethics violations. And ALL of them, in addition to more qualified men, were shoved aside for a completely unknown Barbie?! What happened to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, Condi, and others?

    John McCain is either seriously off his rocker or this is a publicity stunt and she's going to "graciously" withdraw to care for her children.

    What the heck was she even thinking, trying to conceive at her age? We all know the risks. Or is it really even her child?

    August 29, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. Getoverit

    This has Carl Rove's fingerprints ALL over it!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. Francisco Anguiano

    More of the same. This is an excerpt taken from the Ancorage Daily News:

    The press was clamoring about the affair. Palin began responding to feelers from local news media. She said later that her college degree in journalism helped her focus on the public process, and she saw that the media could play a role. Once the story finally unfolded in public, press accounts made Palin the hero.

    (It was a sharp contrast to her attitude toward the Daily News expressed in a 1993 letter, in which a seething young Wasilla city councilwoman called the paper "dangerously biased" for its coverage of Sen. George Jacko, a key member of the Republican majority in Juneau. Jacko had been caught trying noisily to get into the room of a female legislative aide and was eventually censured by the Legislature.

    ("How can you justify your restraint in slamming the Clintons, Kennedys, Marion Barrys and other philandering, chauvinistic left-wingers of the world?" Palin wrote at the time. "Your yellow, liberal rag is so obvious. I pray we will someday have a choice in newspapers again.")

    August 29, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. eric

    I dont know anyone who looks at McCain's vp choice as more then someone who has no experience. she was what the governor of the least populated state in the country. i mean she governes with less then a 5 million, now she is to have beable to think about over 300 million. I am glad that we will make history this next election either the first African- american president or first woman vp, but i feel that McCain didnt make a good choice in the person who is to back him up. McCain says these is change, but how? she has nothing to offer and he is just 4 more years of Bush.!!! wow this is going to be some 66 days

    August 29, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
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