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)

    Obama/Biden have won already. There are a lot in this country who will vote for a black man and not for a woman, white or not. And a vote for president is a vote for vp. Anything could happen, remember Regan? How close that gunshot was? And Ford? That was close too. Women are smarter than to fall for this woman for vp gimmick. Makes me even more sure McCain does not make good decisions.

    August 29, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  2. P.O.

    McCain does not care about the issues we Americans are facing today. If he did he would not have made this awful choice. Poor judgement again!!

    August 29, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  3. rcasteel

    I find it funny that some people are bringing up her experience. Gee whiz folks Obama is as green as a gourd.

    I guess it is much better to have a green president than a green VP. (LOL)

    Hillary supporters are insulted. Boo Hoo. If Hillary is so strong why did she bow out early rather than get defeated. Also remember Obama didn't choose Hillary either. I have to admit, it was an excellent choice on both candidates part.

    August 29, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. billy

    Being a mayor of a city of 9000 and less than two years as governor sure as hell does not make you qualified for VP. Ask yourself this, if something happens to my candidate can this person handle the job? This has proven to me that John McCain cannot be elected President if these are the kind of decisions he will make.

    August 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. Bad judgement

    McCain said Obama would like to lose a war to win an election, he is willing to risk his country to win this election. When the dusts settles the craziness of this VP choice will become clear to most people. If Mccain was in the army he would be up for treason.

    No her inexperience is NOT the same as Obama's Obama actively sought the job; has expressed definite views about international relations and debated Hillary for 2 years.

    The fact that Sarah Palin took the job after clearly not having considered it suggests a quality in her that is dangerous. Can you imagine the call in her hands?

    We now have a situation worse than W. A woman with something to prove. This is not mysogyny. Governor Palin is not ready and that John McCain chose her shows terrible judgement. Republicans, please help us, you CA NNOT support McCain

    August 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  6. Ginger McNamee

    Shock and Awe. Oops they did it again. The republicans certainly are consistent in their ability to insult and alienate. As a stay at home Mom and Hillary supporter, turned Obama supporter, I am dumbfounded at McCain's choice for his VP. McCain has sent women a strong message. He really doesn't get it. Hillary was Presidential material. You can't just thumb through the phone book looking for a female to throw on your ticket to satisfy all those, "uneducated female," Hillary supporters. McCain is using this woman in the most vile way.

    August 29, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. Marian, NJ

    Through the primary I supported Hillary Clinton. Once it became clear that she would not be the nominee I was waiting to see who would EARN my vote. I was open to voting for a Republican for the first time. Until McCain insulted my intelligence by the chioce in his running mate. In his decision to choose Sen Biden, Barack Obama showed that he was looking to select someone who would contribute to the conversation and, just as important, someone who is more than capable to be President. McCain on the other hand has chosen the path of political expediency just to try to get elected. Does he honestly think he is fooling anyone into thinking that this was done for any other reason?

    August 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Brian

    McCain met her once before selecting her? That's putting "Country First"!!!

    August 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. Tracey Shumar

    This is just unbelieveable with the Republicans, McCain picking this women for his running mate for VP and hardly knows her and dont know much about the war or what is going on with this war,give me a break, I dont care if she is a governor of Alaska and I am women and believe me this is sooo off the wall,you talk about someone who has judgement , he is so far out in space and the Republicans are scared out of their wits because in the end there is need for change in this country and we will get the change with Obama. What a fool John McCain is, he blew it

    August 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. Chris, Antioch, CA

    This pick is not fully about attracting Hillary voters ( it is to an extent, and that is very cynical). But more so, it's to get the base out to actually vote for McCain. Palin is evangelical and very, very Pro Life. And if this does inspire the base, that scares me even more. That the GOP would come out in full force to put someone so unqualified, so green, in the second most powerful office in the world, and let's face it, there would be a great chance that she would step in and serve as President. This is reckless, dangerous. The more I think about it, it scares the crap out of me.

    I really do think that McCain just lost the election. Elections are not decided by the base. They're decided by the majority of voters who are independents. Independents 99% of the time will choose the more sensible / safer ticket. With this choice, McCain just conceded the Safe Ticket to Obama. Thank you very much, you old, old fool.

    Obama / Biden 08 and 12

    August 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Samanta

    There are going to be some stupid people who will vote for McCain even with the robot as his choice. This woman is the poster child for what not to be when you grow up. The Republicans and Obama haters will never admit this is a bad choice, but in their heart they know that it is. Her claim to fame is that she decided 4 months ago to have a baby even thought it had Downe Syndrome; so has millions of woman why does that make her special. McCain is doing what he does best playing with the minds of the stupid, and there's a lot of them out there.

    Rice would have been a better selection than this. So many people want to say she is an outsider he stood up the Government, but actually she feel to the Lobbist who want to slaughter all the widelife in Alaska. She is a man in a dress.

    August 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. Watson

    I think it was strictly a political move, if something ever happen to him she would be President.Think about that !!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. BKB

    I am shocked by the stupidity of John MCCAin. I am democrat but even I was not so cynical as to believe that repubs would put another dumb...a after the last 8 years. Republicans are uneducable!!!!!!!

    Futher what kind of mother leaves her 5 children one with special needs and an infant to campaign 100 hours and week and oh by the way be a heart beat from ruling the world.

    August 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. RTW

    The reason McCain likes to know people close to him well is because then he knows he can trust them. Do you think he can fully trust Palin yet? No? Why pick someone you barely know. This pick shores up his base but at what cost? Hilary voters will be drviven away by this obvious attempt to court their vote.

    August 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. dude

    Harriet Miers all over again. Too little experience. Not to mention she is big supporter of Nazi sympathizer Pat Buchanan.

    August 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. Dave

    Maverick – One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.

    Why do people continue to call McCain a maverick??

    McCain's mantra should be Campaign First, and NOT country first!

    And to think that just when the country starts to move in the direction of equality, the REPUBLICANS continue their condescending and disrespectful politics designed to "divide and conquer". I HOPE that every self-respectable female notices that McCain's actions are pure and simply DANGEROUS, SEXIST and POLITICAL. And I think McCain is only trying to exploit her and it sickens me that she would try to exploit Hillary and Ferraro by mentioning me today.

    For a party noted for attacking affirmative action, this has to be the BIGGEST contradiction. McCain is saying that Palin is the most qualified person in the Republican Party after meeting her 1 time.

    1 Time! Unreal.

    August 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Voting for Obama

    People meed to wake up and stop being childish.McShame is only playing you dumb Its funny. Obama didn't do HRC nor did the DNC. You feel like that because you didn't get your way...You all underestimated Obama.... Vote McSDhame and your lives will be even more effected by this awful economy.Think its tough now. He wants to continue Bush's policies!!!!!!!!! Grow up!

    Obama/Biden 2008! Lets take the White House and America back from the sorry Republicans Dems.... Ignorance never wins!

    August 29, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. joyce

    I would rather have seen Mitt Romney picked as the Vice-Presidential candidate but after reading all the above comments about Gov. Palin not having enough experience, had to respond.. She's been the Governor of Alaska for almost two years, served as Mayor of Wasilla and was elected as our Governor as we all were fed up with all the corruption in our state politics.

    She has done a superior job and as for being under investigation, yes, she is, since one of our "fine" troopers threatened to kill her father then the "protect their own" union reps kept him on the job. Any other person doing this same thing, would have been fired.

    As for experience, she has more executive experience than Obama has had in his lifetime and instead of promising "change" of which he has no plans, Gov. Palin has already proven herself by making those changes.

    August 29, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. Samantha G.

    McCain fathered Sarah Palin's child and he's trying to keep her quiet by giving her a VP nomination.

    August 29, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. DeMJ

    Scary but also funny. People were jumping all over Obama's experience and now they are praising McCain for choosing an inexperience VP. I guarantee you if the democratic didn't have a good convention, we wouldn't be having this blog.

    If Obama win, it be interesting. Cutting 95 percent taxes seems crazy but we were able to spend billions in Iraq so anything is possible. I still wished he had picked Hillary but then again maybe Hillary didn't want the VP job? Them two would had won it by a landslide.

    If McCain win, I probably crack up ( I actually cracking up now because I won't be surprise if he does win, after all, Bush been re-elected, right?). Some of you said that women aren't stupid to fall for McCain's move. YOU ARE WRONG! As time goes by, many people are going to doubt Sara Plain and this is when all women start relating to her struggle. The pick was Brilliant even though we know McCain is using her.

    Personally, I feel safer with Obama and Biden. But given the history of election, McCain may win a close one and if he does, we will struggle once again.

    August 29, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. Kevin

    When do we get to see a VP debate?

    That's going to be like the Patriots (Biden) taking on a Pop Warner team (Palin).

    August 29, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  22. Chris Fichtner

    I turned on the news, saw the two of them standing together for 10 seconds, and noted two things: (1) McCain kept glancing downward (was he monitoring her behavior or checking her out?); (2) McCain kept fiddling with his wedding ring. What does that tell us? He's not really even at ease with her himself; he's trying to re-tool himself for the 21st century, but like Barack said, he just doesn't get it. The man's unconscious.

    August 29, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  23. Mary Shannon

    John's dementia has set in!!!! As a women I am insulted.

    August 29, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. Ken

    I'm a republican and this choice sucks. How can McCain go after Obama's inexperience? I mean he's 72 and she'll be a heartbeat away from the presidency!

    How will she stare down Putin, how is she going to deal with Iran, when she's already said she hasn't paid any attention to it.

    No, no, no, I will vote for Bob Barr instead.

    August 29, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  25. Josie WA

    She has said she knows nothing about Iraq 'has little interest in that-she says. You think this a a good choice for a (very) possible Commander in Cheif? She doesn't care about the county or she just thinks that Bush will guide us all without question. Her son is going to Iraq and she doesn't care what is going on there. Obama is well informed about foreighn policy and so is Biden. Have you ever been to Alaska? It's where you go if you can't get a job anywhere else.

    August 29, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
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