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. Mel

    I think it may work to some degree however just because people won't know what to make of her. This however, is a sad new low for elections – seems more like an eppisode of Jerry Springer – She stole my pantsuits!

    Complete gimmick and unbelievably hypocritical. I think it is sad that McCain thinks Americans will fall for such shallow cheep tricks. She is the opposite of Hillary on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE!

    August 29, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. lynn

    I'm so confused. Are they trying to throw this election? Do they simply want the Dems to come in, clean up their mess and then, once all is in order again the GOP can run some real candidates in 4-8 years?
    Palin is NO Hillary!
    It's an insult.
    Once again, the Republicans are playing politics. hopefully the women AND men of this country are finally on to them once and for all.

    August 29, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Tony

    McCain only picked Sarah Palin to get women votes. McCain always saying experience, experience,experience and he goes and picked Sarah Palin? McCain is a heartbeat away from having Palin as Commander of Chief. How can McCain pick someone who he only met once before and also, McCain met Sarah Palin on Sunday in Arizona. After 1 meeting for VP and McCain picked Palin for VP? How desperate is McCain? Look like McCain is very desperate to win.

    August 29, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. JT

    Did anyone notice that McCain picked the oil state governor to be his running mate. If there was an easier job over the last two years than Governor of Alaska over the last two years with skyrocketing oil prices, I want it. While the rest of us were paying at the pump, the Alaska government was raking in the royalty revenue.

    August 29, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Bush the Sequel

    He has met her only once? A person he doesn't even know, with no experience next in line to the most powerful position on the planet?
    John McCain just proved that having experience does not mean you have good judgement. Jay, get a clue, she does not have "years of experience", she has 18 months govering a state smaller than a medium sized US city. You are the pathetic one.

    August 29, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Susan

    To fill this position with someone mccain doesn't know AT ALL simply because of her youth and gender is an insult to all patriotic americans. mccain is quite old, with a previous cancer diagnosis, and he is leaving this country in her hands, before all other choices? appalling. it shows how little mccain thinks of women, in that he thinks one is as good as any other (she's a woman, therefore hillary supporters will want her!?!?!?) here's one hillary supporter who would never fall for that brand of bait and switch! OBAMA '08!

    August 29, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. Deneen

    Rush L. stated "Now we got a babe on the ticket." What does he think we will vote for her just because she is a woman? Woman are not eye candy. We are so much more than that.

    This is not a game of chess. McCain is putting the future of our country at risk by selecting someone with little to NO experience. She is not a Hilliary Clinton.

    My vote is the Obama/Biden ticket.

    August 29, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. McCain is loosing it now for good

    when I hear people saying one hour after the announcement that "Sarah Palin has an excellent record !!!" and so on, it bocems clear once again that they'd vote once again for ANYBODY just to keep the Republicans in the White House.
    This is exactly WHY we got 8 years of total disaster politics!

    August 29, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    David Gergen is right, I am an Independent who was on the fence. John McCain just gave Barak Obama my vote.

    August 29, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. MikeH

    McCain's Harriet Meyers Moment.

    August 29, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. Dems are stuck in the fix they rigged

    Great for McCain.

    Hillary was my first choice and Obama was my second choice.

    Then the Obamabots got ugly, vulgar, negative and vitriolic and they lost Obama my vote.

    Now it is NEVER Obama.

    I do not want my democratic party to ever again use nasty chicago style hateful strategies that turn democrat against democrat and divide the party.

    Learn that harsh lesson or lose all future elections.

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. Kelley

    I don't understand what everyone thinks is wrong with her. She has run a state for two years, which is more time than Obama has spent in the Senate.

    After the statement that came out of the Obama campaign earlier, demeaning and belittling Governor Palin, its obvious why Hillary was never considered HIS VP choice. She's a woman.

    I take offense at his campaign's statement and it's just another reason why he won't get my vote.

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. Alsha

    How can bay say palin can sell her self better. Im an individual an im voting social because i feel like its a fluke to get a woman just because obama didnt choose hiliary. Mccain will not recieve my vote i personally think thats a slimy move.

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Jeff

    I am republican who didn't like John McCain until today. This is a great decision; I laugh at those who criticize her "lack of experience" and being a heartbeat away from the presidency. Obama is a nobody ; what hypocrites.

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Mike



    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Janna

    I think Sarah Palin is a great choice for John McCain. I am a woman and am excited, not only that a woman will be Vice President, but I love Gov. Palin's dynamics, the amazing things she has accomplished in Alaska, and the new energy she will bring to the Republican ticket. I think she cna McCain compliment each other greatly!

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    I was going to vote for Obama until he picked Biden to run – how boring. Then I was going to sit this election out - and I have voted in every election since I was old enough to vote. But this middle aged professional woman is JAZZED about the Palin choice and am now ready not only to VOTE the McCain ticket, but am willing to work for the party. It is not because she is a woman, it is because she is smart, and has proved she is unwilling to bow to the old boy political bigwigs. She takes a stand - even when unpopular - and sticks to it. GOOD JOB MCCAIN

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    > Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Barack Obama, and HE is running for the #1 job.

    Oh right.. being the mayor of podunkville gives you a lot of experience. I can't wait until Biden tears her to shreds.

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |

    Excellent choice.

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. Sharon Davis

    Governor Palin has about as much stage presence as a kindegarden teacher. I just cannot imagine this women representing the USA in negoiations with world leaders.

    Honestly, was this the most qualified candidate for the job or just the self-serving selection by a desperate campaign?

    August 29, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. van nguyen

    A great, great, great choice Mccain!

    August 29, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. CM

    So what happens to her as a VP pick if she is found guilty of abuse of power as governor?

    I mean really this the best you could do? You met the woman once. I think this really shows that you're not in control of your campaign and party.

    August 29, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. A Canuck

    Wow!! From my perspective above the 49th parallel, I am surprised at the amount of hate and abuse that is being poured out on Governor Palin. It makes me wonder now if the Dems are a tad worried...else why would they rant and rave over a none starter. If she is such a poor choice for VP won't the average US voter figure this out without all of the vitriolic hatred?? It makes me think of the old saying, no one kicks a dead dog.

    August 29, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Dellis

    This is Pandering at its worst. John McCain "would" rather win an election than a war... and he still may not win. Palin is not Hillary. Hillary would eat this woman's lunch. Palin is probably a good Governor in Alaska but picking her to get Hillary voters is insulting to woman. Change the name of the Republican Party to "Pander Express"...... absolutely shocking and ridiculous choice.

    August 29, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. Nicole

    I will be up front and say I am voting for Obama. I'm from Illinois and I have seen him in action and have great respect for him and what he stands for. The only reason that I can see John McCain picked Governor Palin is because she is a woman. She does share the base Republican party values – but so do many, many more individuals and have greater experience to represent this country on the world stage. That John McCain would pick a woman and expect women everywhere to fall in line and to pick up votes because he added a female is an insult not only to women, but every person in this country. He contradicts his own words about having someone qualified and I am disappointed in what this choice represents to the American people.

    August 29, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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