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. Tim

    This raises a real concern for me. I was planning to vote for McCain, but now.... The age and health of McCain will now be the primary focus of the media. The real issues will be clouded by this "shoot from the hip" stunt. Governor Palin may be a great governor for Alaska, but to be so close to the most powerful position in the world? I am not prepared to take that risk with my vote.

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  2. Mary

    As Obama pointed out, it's JUDGEMENT that counts in this election. And Mr. Experience just showed all how reckless he is, how he would even disregard his advisors and supporters with this choice of VP. This woman may well be the govenor of Alaska, a state that seldom even enters into ANY discussion unless you're talking drilling, but she is not VP material.

    McCain you blew it.

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. Osman, Santa Barbara

    Let's see, the top of Democratic ticket has very little experience while the bottom of the ticket has tons. The top of the Republican ticket has tons of experience while the bottom of the ticket has at least some experience governing a state and a town.

    I don't know, I'm a pro-choicer, but I have to admit that McCain's pick is brilliant. He keeps his base happy while expanding the appeal of his ticket. Democrats who are critical of Palin's experience only open up Obama's lack of experience governing anything at all. At leasy Palin has governed a state. Moreover, Palin fought hard to win her seat. Obama won his Senate seat by default.

    It is definitely going to be an interesting election. Probably as close, or closer than 2000.

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. curvacious one

    Palin has the same amount of foreign policy experience as the rest of us. Yet some feel this is a great choice. That means they think I'm partially qualified for the VP position. HEY MCCAIN I'M TALL, SEXY, AND A FORMER BEAUTY PAGEANT WINNER. Drop Palin and come get some.

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |

    McBush is an OLD FOOL..... what a stupid choice for VP and worst since Dan Quayle.

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Bob Stephens

    I think McSame used the same kind of judgment picking his VP choice as he did when he dumped his first wife for Cindy. Bad!!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Dennis from CA

    Even California Governor Schwarzenegger would be more qualified for the position if we really need to have a governor for VP. What in the world was McCain thinking? That settles it for me... Obama gets my vote!

    August 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. dejah

    This is a very disappointing pick. Sara Palin has NO experience that would qualify her for running the country in the event of McSame's demise. Not only that, but she's corrupt. Do McSame and the GOP think that nominating somebody with so little experience (woman OR man) is wise? If the Dems had nominated someone so poorly trained and so underqualified, the GOp would be screeching.

    We can't take four more years of the GOP underestimating people's intelligence, dividing the country using religion and sexual misogyny and hate. Please don't vote for McSame and his sidekick More of the Same.

    What a poor, sick joke this is. I've lost what little respect I had for the GOP. They are clearly NOT a party that should be allowed to run for dogcatcher, even.

    What the HELL were these people thinking?

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. Neal

    Has anyone ever hired an executive for their company after only one interview! Are you kidding me? I don't know if she is qualified or not, but after the very limited time John McCain has spent with her, he does not know either.

    For all of his talk about judgement, this is really just silly.

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. Dion

    Now I'm hearing that this Gov. Palin is lying about her new baby. I'm hearing that the truth is her teenage daughter is the baby's real mom and they hid the pregnancy. But why would a pro-lifer hide a pregnancy? I mean, I've seen the pictures from back when she was supposed to be 7 months pregnant. Flat stomach. And then they say her water broke but she insisted on boarding a plane and flying back to Alaska from Texas to give birth. And she was able to give birth in Alaska? Doesn't make one iota of sense.

    And then there's the issue of her trying to get her brother in law fired. Using your position of authority to exercise undue influence on others? Abuse of power? Is this Bush in a skirt?

    I won't even go into her lack of experience. The scandals alone are enough for their very own season of Desperate Housewives and a Lifetime movie or two.

    It sounds like John McCain didn't vet his VP pick and this one will blow up in his face.

    Obama-Biden '08 & '12

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. jasper

    Interesting read! I agree with everyone who feels she is too inexperienced and conservative to be our VP, especially first female VP. I hope Hilary supporters will see through tthe trick and evaluate her anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, pro-NRA and oil hungry record for what it is and vote accordingly. Plus, I think it's a HUGE insult to Hillary Clinton who has worked so hard (before and during this election) to get where she is today and make the history she has. I think it's highly ironic that a old white man simply appoints/nominates a freshman female govenor to a high position and then raves about women progression and liberation. I'm sure Palin has overcome some great barriers being a woman in policitcs BUT i think there is a VERY thin line between exploiting and empowering. At least in this case...

    I echo all the "what if something happens to McCain" concerns. If Palin became commander in chief she would have no connections with ANY foreign policy leaders/country. She may have some executive experience but she has NOforeign policy experience. This is the area that the US President is most powerful in (even more so than domestic policy because at least the senate/house can check that somewhat). At least Obama has made some connects in his time in the senate and has made a mini-world tour to begin those connections. Worst case senario, Obama has Biden to help him with that. Palin.... im not so sure.

    Lastly, I think this clearly contradicts McCains biggest attack on Obama (experience) and calls into question his ultimate judgement as a leader and decisionmaker.... This choice is a big gamble for sure, but do we want a President who gambles with our future, money, and international standing?

    On a shallow note, did yall see what that lady named her children??? UMMMMMMMMMM

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Michael S. O'Brien

    Senator John McCain is NUTS ! He just lost my vote. Next week is there a baseball, football game on.., or maybe just channel surfing would be better ? What has happened to my Republican Party. I am actually looking at the Demorcratic Party.., Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden. What in the world was he and staff (his trusted advisors) thinking ? One heart beat from being the President of the United States.., you have got to be kidding.. Well here goes a couple of nights without sleep and maybe my vote.

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  13. Charlotte,NC

    This is an insult to women and it shows that even in our society today, we often confuse progress with slander. Women are still used as props and by default we allow it. I cannot believe that Palin is allowing McCain to advertise her and her children to represent his mischievous politics.

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. dasiy

    We women are not dumb to vote for a women because, she is a women!! What an INSULT!!

    August 29, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  15. Desi

    This woman has not even been to college. This should be an insult to Crist/Romoni they should be pissed. And Americans stop being played, this is serious. THe world is in serious shape. God is sending signals but no one will take heed.

    We all want the same thing I would think. There is only one person who should judge another and say what other people should do.

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

    Im a independent and i think this choice made my decsion for me. IF something happens the mccain i dont want a govonor whos expierence is 2 years of govonor of alaska. She might be a reformer and thats cool for her but i rather have biden take over then her. Obama/Biden 08

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


    1992 – 1996 Wasilla City Council

    1997 – 2002 Mayor

    2002 – 2003 Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

    2006 – Present Governor


    1997 – 2004 State Senator

    2005 – Present Senator

    Please explain how Obama is qualified for the #1 slot and she isn't qualified for the #2

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  18. Closely Watching

    PUMAs, please read and digest the previous ticker topic in which Senator Clinton herself states that McCain and Palin will take the country in the WRONG direction...are you freaking blind or what?
    I chant "We just want a woman, and that's all that really maaaatters...we just want a woman, and that's all that really maaaaatttters. Who cares about the war, who cares about foreclosures, who cares about recession because...(take a deep breath here)...we just want a woman, and that's all that really maaaaattttttters."

    Your leader, your inspiration, your candidate of choice disagrees with this pairing but you are still going to vote for McSamepoliciesasbushandcheney because she is, after all, a woman and that's all that really maaaaatttttters? You are setting your kind back 100 years with this kind of thinking. Think long and think hard come November...this isn't just planning the a schedule around work, the kids, and free time here...this is our future as a country.

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  19. Sharon F., NY

    Another thing, God-forbid McCain dies of a heart-attack, (which is very possible), do you really think this woman who has been a Govener mind you, for ONLY 2 YEARS can be our next President?? If that's the case I'm moving to Canada. I'm sure she is a very nice woman, but the only woman who is actually qualified to run this country is Hillary Clinton. Obama has a steady VP. Whatever Obama lacks (experience), Biden picks up. McCain, how do you claim to have experience over Obama, when neither of you have the experience of being President? It seems you both lack experience, b/c you both were never President! McCain YOU HAVE NO ARGUEMENT.

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. A woman and independent voter

    What happen with the old republican credo: God, Family, Country. I don't want to undermind this lady, but how can she expect to fulfill the duty as vice president or President if something happens to McCain with all those kids specially the baby with down syndrome who needs his mom around for the most time.
    I think that if I was in her place I will be honor and thankful for the opportunity but I will put the well being of my children in the first place.
    Women can do anything but our kids always has to be out number one priority.

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  21. Denny Mac

    Johnny Boy didn't graduate 894th for nothing, this guy spends a lot
    of time looking out his belly button...He did lock in that
    28% that backs George. This may get him to 29%......
    I'm a Navy Vet this ain't going to play down at the legion..

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  22. Laurel

    I applaud McCain on his choice of Palin for Vice President. So why are the liberal media and Democrats saying that she is inexperienced? Obama barely has 3 years as a senator and taught law at a university before that. Palin has been the governor Alaska and before that was mayor for a decade. In my opinion the McCain/Palin ticket brings much more experience to the table than Obama/Biden. Obama says he is for change but what has he done that proves this? He went and picked a VP who is a symbol of old politics. I'll be voting for McCain/Palin in November!

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. VMI Grad

    This is very interesting. McCain, and the Republican party can only try now do defend their pick for Vice President. Palin has achieved significant and impressive accomplishments, however, this pick clearly demonstrates to me that the Republican Party is clearly out of touch with the rest of America. Everyone does not live in a perfect, rich world. By making this selection, it clearly shows their is no connection with those individuals in society who truly have to fight, claw and scratch their way to a credible life. I want a president who clearly knows what it is like to struggle in society. Someone who will understand the inner city challenges in our majory metropolitian cities, as well as someone who gets it that America should take on diplomatic approaches with the rest of the world. George Bush has alienated much of the world with his strong arm approach, mightier than thou attitude. The Republican Party has made a bluder, I certainly pray and hope that you realize it. Republicans are forced to defend McCain now and I know they will do everything they can to defend his choice. But the truth of the matter is that they are scared. I would be too if I just saw a Brilliant speach delivered by my opponent. 38 Million people watched this event, can the Republican party compete. Absolutely not.....thats the fear. Bush continues to drive this country down,..... why has he been so quiet lately....could it be he does not want to give the Democrats more ammunition?? This choice, is not going to win you "The Republicans" this Presidency...I will Vote for Obama and Biden....

    August 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. maryfromtexas

    My fellow conservatives and Republicans and citizens of the world: Stand proud. We elected President Bush 2 times. We will elect John McCain and Sarah Palin! Don't let the rantings and ravings of these ignorant, self-absorbed, morally impoverished Obama supporters get you down. They're panicked. Absolutely panicked. Their hatred and reactivity shows us that. They're so afraid of losing that they have to lash out and quote the same drivel they hear from the drive-by media over and over again because that's all the substance they have to cling to. Feel sorry for them. The poor, demoralized lot of them.

    August 29, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  25. Kevin in MN

    McCain thinks he's so clever to pick a women so he snarf up all the Hillary supporters. I'm no Hillary fan but this woman is not even in the same league as Hillary. How dumb does McCain think women are? I cannot imagine an ardent Hillary fan supporting McCain and Palin just because a woman is on the ticket.

    August 29, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60