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. Lori Anfuso

    John McCain Is insulting! Does he acually think I will support Sarah Pladin because she is a woman? Gender has never been as issue. He is an insult to me as well as the the percentage of 18 Million "Hillary Supporters" that may be women. and support her values and beliefs. I will continue to support Barrak Obama and and those of the democratic system. Sarah is not a plecibo for Hillary.
    Go Barack!

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. T. Vandenson

    With this type of judgment, Now we can perhaps rationalize how and why Senator McCain became a prisoner of war.

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. Sandi from Michigan

    I almost feel sorry for the Republicans. They have to bite their lip and smile and act like they are happy about this choice.

    They can take a small pleasure in taking the spotlight off Barack Obamas speech...but what they have to deal with, is the the next 60 days of hearing her speak.

    We know and they know...she is not qualified to answer the 3 am call!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Anna

    I think he has lost his mind !!!!!!!
    Who with any thought would allow this woman to be our vp and quite possible the President........
    Obama has just got my vote

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Ron


    Now that Obama has blown his nose "self admitted" it seems I think he close to being out of bullets.

    Please do not forget the U.S. Constitution, and favor one candidate by unfair sensorship of the comments submitted.


    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Tracy!

    My admiration for his supposed integrity has really eroded over the years. Ever since his insincere support for the Bush candidacy after being being 'Rove-icised" into the ground and now this insult to women! As though ANY woman could be a substitute for Clinton.
    I suppose he would have picked Condi Rice for VP if Clinton had gotten the nomination to appease the Obama supporters.
    How do you spell O-B-V-I-O-U-S ?

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. maryfromtexas

    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. - Charlotte, NC

    Here's another one. When did being vice president change from being an honor to an insult? When Hillary lost? Slander? My dear, get out your dictionary. Women are still used as props? Is Hillary a prop? Is she a prop for Bill Clinton? Would she have been a prop for Obama? I guess so. Strong, intelligent women know better. Unlike most of you who are ranting and raving here, jumping to the fastest conclusion you can, not strong enough or courageous enough to think it through before you speak.

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Fred

    Everyone keeps talking about how Barack Obama has no foreign policy experience. What experience did Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton have? Both came from governorships. Both were good presidents.

    August 29, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. Dayahka

    Both McCain and Palin should withdraw their names from consideration as Republican nominees; McCain is clearly a nut; Palin is clearly naive and in way over her head; she should have removed herself from consideration. This wrecks any chance McCain had of being seriously considered by thoughtful people. This nomination shows McCain to be more style than substance, more interested in doing what he's done all his life–stick his tongue out at authority–than being a mature adult. This is a sickeningly bad selection.

    August 29, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. Maurice

    As a Hillary Clinton delegate, I think it is a great choice. I am
    proud that McCain had the good sense to do what Obama was too
    arrogant to do, pick a woman! If Obama would have listened to the
    majority of democrats, and picked Hillary Clinton, he would have had
    my vote. He effectively said I don't care about the 18 million people
    who voted for Hillary Clinton, I don't want and don't need your vote.
    Okay then, he lost millions of his own party. Now that he made an
    incredibily stupid choice due to his own pride, he has to pay the
    price. McCain is the one asking for our votes and addressing us,
    instead of the Obama campaign simply demanding we get on board like
    good little dems. Well note to you Obama, you had your chance, you
    blew it, and women will not simply go to the back of the party and

    August 29, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Terri in Fl

    Have to love all these GOP bloggers, more than likely sitting in some dingy campaign room, claiming to be Hillary Democrats – I don't think so LOL! Hillary supporters are not some blind sheep that will simply vote for any woman! I couldn't believe the outrage among women today at work – have to hand it to McCain – he sure knows how to anger many, many women all at once! Now that's talent!
    Aside from all of this – this is a very dangerous choice – she comes no where close to Obama's experience AND education! Obama is a Constitutional Scholar – he UNDERSTANDS our governance framework – he has a Juris Doctorate from Harvard! Mrs. Palin has an undergraduate degree from Idaho in Journalism – hmmmm

    August 29, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. Kevin, Evansville IN

    What is disturbing to me, is that he obviously picked her because he thought she would help him win, not run the country. All she is being used for is the election.

    August 29, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  13. Chris- SF

    If gender and race didn't exist, would you PUMA's as you call yourselves really be voting for McCain/Palin over Obama/Biden? You know, if it was all about the issues?

    What about if the Democrats had the Female VP, and Republicans had the Black Presidential Nominee? What I'm getting at here is that if interchanging race and gender would have somehow made a difference in how you'd vote, you my friend should not be allowed to vote.

    August 29, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  14. Disgusted


    If McCain ever gets elected as president and has health problems, this young person with little experience and of not-much-we-know-about (character, temperament, judgement, and policy stance), except for some scandal with his ex-brother-in-law.

    McCain might be comfortable with someone like Sarah who won't challenge him; McCain can't stand Mitt or anyone else who may look better than him.

    He met this person once, 6 months ago. He doesn't even know what this person is like; but no matter, she won't be challenging him, busying learning what VP is about.

    We can't elect McCain. This VP selection (process and result) alone shows how irractic, scary, and dangerous he is.

    August 29, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. ANA

    She wasn't picked because she's a woman.... she was picked because she has influence to push drilling in Alaska. The gender angle is a smoke screen.


    August 29, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. lol


    August 29, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. the bohemian

    Its an absolute insult to Hillary supporters everywhere. I started out and have always been an Obama supporter but Sarah Palin comparing herself to Sen. Clinton is just absurd. Who is she? Her introduction to the people of America sounded like a dating profile gone terribly wrong. "She enjoys hunting, fishing, and moose stew." Really people? Our next VP is going to be a trigger happy moose stew lover?! The only similarity between Sen. Clinton and Sarah Palin is that they both are women. The similarities end there.

    August 29, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Kim

    McCain's VP pick is astonishing. This is the person who is qualified to be one heartbeat away from the presidency? In her speech today, she mentioned her husband's snowmobiling, her PTA and city council experience? This is so transparent, McCain doesn't know Sarah Palin, he has met with her once – this is outrageous. The country is in serious trouble – the economy, the United States is at war. Unbelievable that the Republican Party could praise this VP choice.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  19. Sandy

    Are those pictures of her posing nude in the 80's real?

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. eric

    If the McCain party is working on the angle of these depends on the top of the ticket, then that tells me he doesnt care who his vp is and he asked a mother with a new baby who has down sindrum. what a selfish move cuz he doesnt care for her life or her baby's life, and i cant believe she said yes, where are her thoughts at? Joe Biden almost quit before he even started in the senate, i have a cousin who is "speical" my aunt quit her job and my uncle works 2 jobs to keep them all together. Gov. Palin i ask god to pray for you and your family because you have just been thrown into the biggest fire ever, Sen.
    McCain your SELFISH!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. maryfromtexas

    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. - curvacious one

    Typical. I'll bet you're 300 pounds if you're 100. You should try to become vice president some day. Oh, I forgot, Bill can't run again. Shucks.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. No More PUMA, Obama All the Way

    McCain must have a VERY LOW OPINION OF WOMEN to have totally ignored many, many women that are much more qualified and would have the ability to represent women's issues much more.

    I have another problem with her. I am a full-time mother of 2 - and they don't get near enough time from me. With 5 children, one a baby with downs syndrome, working surely more than 40 hours a week outside of the home, with her husband also doing the same, how is she actually raising her children herself? If she gets the vp job, she will be working, what 60-70 hours a week??? What percentage of attention could she give the vp job with that many children, many of them younger???? I just don't think it's possible to give with that many children while giving them the attention they deserve, just speaking from my experence and all the mother's experiences that I've also seen.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. Darrel from Denver

    It's 3AM, the telephone rings. The President has become incapacitated and the VP needs to step in to run the country.

    Who do you want that VP to be?

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. Lynn

    You can read the desperation in the Republican bloggers (attempting to hide under a "Hillary supporter" disguise) words. You can see Republican pundits doing backflips–saying ANYTHING they can think of–to bring some pseudo sanity to this most insane choice. I am worried about Mr. McCain. His judgment is terrible...couldn't be worse. He is not concerned with the U.S.; he has made that very clear today. Frighteningly clear. Obama is SUCH a safe choice compared to these two clueless dimwits.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  25. William

    We need to ask all of the seniors and Beauty Queens to sign up to be the President of the United States of America. My mom has her BA Degree, she 69 years old, very beautiful and she is an African American McCain could have gotten two for one.

    August 29, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
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