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. Dah

    McCain 72 shes a beauty queen that lacks foreign experience.

    I mean wow I watched The Andy Griffin show and the mayor/gov. there in that town was a bright light "?"

    Not a winning ticket, but a play at Hill's voters, here's your chance you handful of PUMAS. You now can come out of the closet and actually support your party. Dirty ol man, shame on you! Cindy you better stay close! Words of wisdom...........................don't go far.

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. tracey conway

    Who in the world would support someone against abortion, does she want to see us go back to the days of "the cider house rules" when women died getting the procedures, although I would never have one myself I believe it is important to have cafe alternatives for women. Some get raped, there is incest and great pain for many. I am a councelor and most women have decided adoption but we need to provide options

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  3. Rich Sullivan

    I think most of the democrats talking heads have approached this all wrong and have taken the republican bait by challenging her experience. As an Obama supporter I view this as an admission by McCain that experience and spending years in Washington does not qualify you to lead the country a theme that McCain himself was previously running on. Thanks John for admitting that this should not prevent Obama from leading the country and once again changing your mind. Now lets make this about the issues.....

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. A Marylander

    As an American – forget the political affiliation – I am completely outraged that Senator John McCain would so seemingly lightly invoke in every American's life an individual that could possibly be a heartbeat away from the Commander and Chief of the United States of America. Every American should be shaking their head in utter shock that a Senator – a United States Senator – would be so reckless with the livelihood of Americans. Secondly, as a WOMAN – I am affended unlike I have never been affended before. To think that simply choosing a running-mate just for the sake that she is a woman in hopes of appealing to other women is a complete slap in all women's faces and goes to show he really thinks women's heads hold no brains. Lastly, Gov. Palin should be the most outraged for being asked to be a political pawn. The judgement of both McCain and Palin is more than questioned!!! Their true concern for the well being of Americans is also more than questionable. God we pray for the citizens of the United States of America.

    August 29, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. kbrown

    This is so wrong. This is another example of how John McCain and the Republican Party will go to any length to win back the White House. I am very insulted as woman. John McCain has made the worst choice he could have ever made, and all of the GOP party is praising him for his decision. This is proof enough that we need change and change is what we need immediately. This country is already ruined, I think the other countries look at us and laugh. I used to think that no more warm could be done to the United States but now that we know who his running mate is, I am personally terrified at what the both of them could do to this country. This is really serious we all should take a look at what could happen. Look at the state of our country as it is now. With that ticket we could all go to hell in a hand basket very quickly, as for Sarah Palin no one but the people in Alaska knows who she is. Hillary was more ready to run the country than she is. Sarah Palin is not a viable candidate for anything. Not to mention her special needs child. As a mother I would want to be with my baby at such a young stage in her life. This is utterley ridiculous. I am flabergasted at such a disrespect for the White House and the country this is VERY VERY VERY SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. Jaw-dropper

    Unbelievably STUPID choice by McCain. Her voice is grating. Her resume is a joke. Biden will destroy Palin. A hockey mom? OMG!!

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  7. jam

    McCain choosing Palin is too pathetic! How dare he think women will be swayed to vote for them just coz he now has a woman on the ballet.. How foolish or ignorant does he think women are anyway? It doesn’t take even a kindergartener to know where this country is headed with 4 more years of a Bush look-alike.. As Hilary said, "It's not about me." .. I'm sure Ms. Palin is a fine person, but she is NOT what this country needs.. McCain has been quoted saying she is exactly what this country needs.. He has really gone out to lunch on this one folks..

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. vince

    I'm just gonna say what alot of men are thinking...I'd date her in a heartbeat. However,No way can I vote for this ticket. Seriously John?????

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. Kim

    All I can say is "Wow". McCain has no judgement and he is out of touch. This is not about Obama or McCain or Palin or Biden or Hillary.

    It is about the country. So McCain wants to pick someone who isn't qualified to run our country in the event he croaks just to pander?

    And his number one criteria for a VP was someone who could take over?

    McCain, I fear for our country with your judgement in the White House and the potentiality for Palin to take over..

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. Laura

    I am so excited about Sen Mccains VP pick Gov Palin!!! She seems really awesome. I was on board completely with obama however after hearing him on tape saying after a child survives an attempted abortion it would be a waste of money and resources to bring a new MD to help and that it ultimately undercuts the womans choice. After hearing that I couldn't in good conscience vote for someone who ultimately does not respect the sanctity of human life. I am so excited that this awesome surprise choice was made she will bring in to the RNP some needed excitement. She seems so genuine and real. I really love her youngest son's name Trig. I'll baby sit!!! I'm a nurse!!! I'd be honored. Anyway congratulations!!!

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  11. Mom@44

    Pro Life Doesn’t end after Delivery ..or once every 4 hours a day!
    I Remarried, Decided to have child at 43. Previous marriage have child who is 30! Tubes tied decided to have them reversed....Knew risks. we wanted to have a child so much we went to another country. Returned home 3 months later learned were pregnant! we were so happy and couldn't believe our good fortune! 26 week pregnant I had complications. in hospital for 2 months. From 1st day in hospital was told i would loose baby.(OH....MY HUSBAND AND I DECIDED TO REFUSE THE TEST FOR DOWNS AND OTHER ISSUE'S FOR THE SAME REASONS S.PALIN ) & decided to have our child! This precious child was ours and we would love him or her no mater what! My heart bleeds for this little child whose mother has chosen to take on such a position on which would in my estimation is full time. It is well known a child who spends full time with mother gains so much in every area of development! How could a MOTHER give up helping her child be all that they could be, developmentally, whether downs or otherwise! Narrrisiccism comes to my mind
    As a mother,48 years old. with a 3&1/2 yr old Sarah needs to get her priorities right....ask any woman who has difficulty getting pregnant later in life because their job was more important.
    In Sarah's case..O.K.she has 4 healthy kids, but I feel this child needs her more at home. It seems she feels she has done that long enough.
    A working mom la la la is the best pick >>>How can the fact that she has this 4 month old precious gift from God make her more suited for the job of V.P. I feel it makes her the closest to an absentee mom and all her other children are old enough to look after themselves.
    She is pro -life? Good for her when she must have enough money to have someone other then the baby's mom who knows her smell, voice touch, after having a child grow inside her and know it's upcoming changeages she will face walk away at 4 months the child still needing all the skin on skin contact to feel love from Mom .this beautiful little gift from god ... my point.... abortion" depending on the definition” before or after" then call it "ABSEENTEE MOM" maybe that would make Mom’s such as this feel better about having the child and then not being there!
    Possibly that is why we have so many children who have so many psychological difficulties! This child needs you......
    I think she is an attack dog and has many faces.. Attack dog/Mom/Politician/Wife/ mother?????ask the youngest child in 15 years? The baby needs YOU!

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  12. Erica, WI

    PS. He also announced his decision just to undercut the AMAZING plan that Obama laid out last night. More politics as usual!

    August 29, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  13. Sarah Smile

    I love it when libs get jealous. Governor Palin has more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined. The only budget Obama handles is for his Senate office staff. Community organizer for POTUS? I think not.

    August 29, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. Rita

    McCain is insane! Whether we are Republicans or Democrats is this really what is best for the country? Palin will one day probably be very qualified which is not now. Country First? McCain proved that he is the one who wants the presidency at any cost. I am concerned about Americans making decisions based upon emotion, sexism, racism, religion. We are supposed to be educated people. How in the world can McCain think that his decision is one that is good for the country. I am so disappointed in him and the Republican party. Folks, let us all focus on the real issues of war, the economy, energy, environmnent, health, poverty, ethics, foreign relations, etc. Let us vote for qualified leaders who have answers to our problems that will move us forward. Let us use our intelligence and leave our emotions and religion where they belong–at home.

    August 29, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  15. Experience says Republicans..

    You crazy..... The only experience this woman has is over a group of 7000 people in Alaska... He is crazy.. If he croaks she suppose to control millions and millions of lives in the U.S...? At least if something happened to Obama.. Joe Biden can take charge and has the experience... Obama has at lease experience in Washington this woman never been to Washington.. She is from the woods...She probably promised to give him sex on the side for the job.. thats would be the only reason to have her in the office... HAHAHA

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  16. Iowa girl for Obama

    McCain is a USER & this is another perfect example.....he left his wife for a younger woman, flips his pow time out like an i.d. badge every chance he gets and now chose a woman for his vp. The only thing that comes to mind when I hear his name is SLIMY!!!!

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. Pru McDonald

    McCain's choice of an unknown with almost zero experience is an insult to Hillary Clinton and all the many well-qualified women in politics...

    So she's a woman.....Like ANY woman will do?!

    Obama is a born leader, with intelligence and substance; Biden was a great pick for his VP.

    I think this illustrates McCain's total lack of judgement and responsibility to the American people... Is it senility?!

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  18. Diana

    Dont judge until you have heard her speak...your not voting for VP your voting for President....and I feel safer with McCain than I would with Obama.....hes proved where he stands and there isn't many of us who could have gone thru what he did honorably...he believes in what he stands and stands for ..... just read e-mails about taxes and what Obama wants and what McCain wants sure wish I could send it to everyone in America.....boy would you change your mind in a hurry if you liked Obama..................GO McCAIN

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. Moe

    eight yeas is enough

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  20. Denise

    I cannot believe McCain chose someone he only met 6 months ago once and then he calls her and asks her to be VP without any prior meetings and discussions. What an irrational, irresponsible, and clearly politically motivated decision. Seriously, he can NOT vouch for her or her experience or lack of at all- HE DOES NOT KNOW HER! Now, if something happens to him- we will have a Commander in Chief without a record of experience OR a record of judgement on economic issues and foreign policies while we are fighting 2 wars and this close to another economic depression? I heard an interesting analogy that picking a VP is like setting up a will. If something happens to you, who will care for your children? Would any of us truly give our children to someone we had only met once within the last 6 months at a convention? Well if elected, McCain would be over 300 million plus "children"! This is reckless and unforgiveable. -Denise in TN

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  21. Mike Dallas

    I am not sure which is more disturbing, the fact that McCrypt made such a hair-trigger and impulsive VP choice or Palin for willingly allowing herself to be used as a policitcal pawn. Most women, I would like to think, if you knowingly bring a special needs baby into this world, would realize, you should be giving the child more attention not less. While admirable to have a baby she knew was going to have Down's syndrome, abandoning it to further your poliical career is not.

    Both McCain and Palin's decisions are selfish and self-serving and are disturbing on many levels, because neither takes into account the possible effects.

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  22. sandra ross

    I wonder why no one from the democratic party has brought up the possible reality that mccain chose palin for her lack of exposure in washinton?meaning she is not tainted by the status quo so prevalent there.

    August 29, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  23. Bernadette Dee

    I am stunned at the choice of Palin for V.P. This is insulting to all women in America. She is a complete unknown with a sparce resume to say the least. She is a lightweight. This rediculous choice will be rejected by all thinking, concerned Americans. McCain is demonstrating his complete lack of respect for the American people by this choice. This shows a bizzare lack of judgement. Do we really want another President who shoots from the hip, makes gut level decisions, is not the least bit introspective and is completely out of touch with us?

    August 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  24. WH DC

    You may lure some of the less intelligent Hillary supporters but I would hope the majority are smart enough not to fall for this ploy. Pat Buchanan said tonight this "girl" is a ex-beauty queen. Proof that they don't respect women, they just use them when they need them.

    August 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  25. Jenn J.

    Democrats are dancing in the streets tonight, with the choice of Palin for VP. It is not her lack of experience that is the issue with me; rather the fact that she is so clearly of the same cloth as Bush when it comes to taking care of her cronies and big oil interests. She is a Republican through and through, which may shore up the Republican base, however, the middle 1/3 of this country is not so ignorant as to choose a ticket that is so clearly on the same path as the current administration. Our country is a mess right now, and yes, we do need change. Obama may not have the experience of McCain, but he has shown sound judgement when he has been in office. He has shown that he will be a leader of the people and by the people, not one who will consistently cowtow to wealthy interest groups. I knew very little of Obama before the campaign began, but everything that I learn in terms of his stance on issues and his values in terms of our country point to a man who can and will turn our great nation around and bring us back to our former magnificence. This patriot, union member and caregiver of a spouse with a terminal illness cannot wait until January 20, 2009, when the change that so desperately needs to happen will begin.
    Obama/Biden '08

    August 29, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
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