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. moi

    The selection of Governor Palin is an insult to women voters. If Senator McCain respected women as being thoughtful and intelligent voters, he would have realized that gender first was not the correct priority in his selection criteria....that we women vote for qualified candidates male or female. He lost my vote with this choice because there is nothing compelling about Governor Palin, nothing...and he showed his true colors by putting the country at risk to further his own political gain. His most important first decision as a presidential contender was apparently conducted on a whim.

    Some day Governor Palin may prove to be an essential force in American politics, but there is no reason at all to bring her forward and sell her prematurely as that now.

    August 29, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  2. Jane with a brain

    We have just received orders to produce 500,000 new bumper stickers that read: McSame and Mrs. Plain 2008

    I'm a hardline republican woman but I'm voting for Obama/ Biden.
    I'm not that crazy to put a NOBODY in such a high officer, even if she has a pretty face.

    August 29, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Don Lang

    Who cares. Hillary Clinton knew Bill Clinton for decades. She trusted him with her life, child and career. He still undertook some interesting activities in the oval office with an intern. People's character can be learned quickly – and in th Bill/Hillary case, no matter how well you think you know somebody, they can be someone completely different.

    August 29, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. tara

    I think its great!! I couldnt be happier! Go Republicans!!!!

    August 29, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Begala said it best on Larry King tonight. Would a parent entrust their child's life with a person whom they've met only once? Then why in the world should we place Palin in the position to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States? We'd be entrusting her with the lives of 300 million Americans - including 3 million of our own brave soldiers!

    August 29, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  6. Bob

    I wish that there were a way to exclude people from making 'staged' comments – i.e. the supposed Clinton supporters that say how wonderful this is. There might be 1000 or so people in the USA who actully feel this way, but I suspect that those on this comment page are activists who have always supported McCain (and actually hate Clinton).

    Secondly, this is a pathetic pick, they met once. My goodness.

    Palin was out of her depth as govener (ask her staff) and now she could be the Presedent....yikes!

    August 29, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  7. Mother is MD

    Has anyone noticed that in some parts of Alaska, where the oil and gas pipelines and fossil fuel originates is over $7.00 a gallon?!!! Would Palin's "maverick" policies do the same for the rest of the country? If this is the price of gas in the state with the Alaskan pipeline, what's next for the rest of us should she become VP/President?

    August 29, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  8. Greg

    Good job, McCain! Sarah Palin is a brilliant choice. McCain proves that he will go his own way and do what he wants. He will run a different show than Bush is running and really shake up Washington. Democrats will naturally attempt to promote their flavor of "change" but that's socialism and America doesn't need that garbage.

    It never made sense to pick someone who was a prior presidential candidate. They lost already; the American people spoke in the primaries...they didn't want them. Not to mention all the videos out there where they make negative statements about each other.

    August 29, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  9. Jackie, Chicago

    Because of Palin I'm donating the max to McCain-–is that clear enough?

    McCain/Palin 08'

    August 29, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  10. CAtoAR

    McCain has not only shocked me back into the political process but actually has me shopping for bumper stickers and yard signs. Palin was a masterstroke - McCain has shored up the conservative base and has solidified his reputation of his ticket as one of true change. Much like Bill Clinton recently observed: do you vote for the ticket that talks change or the one that will deliver it? In an already narrowing race that showed all the momentum with McCain, this will push them over the top. Watching the panicked fear-mongering of the democratic pundits on TV just proves how much they fear for their own ticket. Being unable to match their own presidential candidate against even the bottom half of the Republican ticket (seems like a candidate for the chief executive should have, ah, gee, I don't know, EXECUTIVE experience?!) they are attacking everything from her appearance to John McCain's health in their desperation. McCain's choice a "hail Mary"? I think the coming weeks will show where the real desperation deservedly lies...

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. Chamberlin

    At McCain's age he should have picked someone with at least some foreign policy experience. I think even lots of conservatives are going to be put off by this woman. No real Hillary supporter would support her.

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  12. Eileen from Maine

    He didn't need to talk to her more than once. Karl Rove told him she was his only chance of winning the election. It doesn't matter neither McCain nor Palin will be Governing. They will continue to get permission from Karl Rove before they can even speak in public, just like George W. Bush.
    Wait until Sarah finds out she is a token, selected to be a nursemaid for John McCain.

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  13. dbr

    "I may not have any national political experience, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn."

    PS: God save the country.

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  14. Art H

    I think this is a lousy choice and a poor and ill-thought decision from McCain, frankly.

    This is not a job interview for a small town mayor. This is a person who could, in a heart-beat, become the president of the most powerful country on earth.

    I thought Obama picked a weakling when he picked Biden but weakling though he may be, he has got enough sagacity to steer the country, should such a requirement come up.

    McCain's choice on the other hand, is a hasty and hurried decision, intended to leverage off the dissatisfaction that people have, with Obama not picking Hillary as his running mate, which makes it dangerously immature and I question his judgement for presidential level decisions. But in the process, he skipped over highly intelligent and capable potential VPs like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty and went for this small town amateur. She is already under an ethics investigation for trying to influence official decisions in favor of her family members. How much more ill-advised could the decision to pick her get ?

    McCain will take a bath come November – is my prediction. With a pick of either Romney or Pawlenty, I personally would have been in his corner but this choice is an insult to my intelligence and hopefully has the same effect on others too, who will steer clear of a McCain candidacy. I will be sitting out this election cycle, since neither choice is too appealing.

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. Sherry

    As one of those more mature women who strongly supported Clinton, I am insulted that McCain thinks he could win my support by choosing someone with no experience and or exposure to national government. I would never vote for a candidate based on gender.

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. gerry

    She is a mother who has 5 kids,one an infant who is breastfeeding and has downs syndrome. Oh,and dont forget a husband. And she is going to be vice pres? Sounds like she is spreading herself pretty thin. As a working mother of three, who comes home exhausted, she must be the off-spring of superman and wonder women. Who is she putting first? Mabye her ambition.

    August 29, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Steve

    I spent more time in the showroom checking out my last vehicle than John McCain spent with the person he wants to be vice president?

    August 29, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  18. J in VA

    So this woman is going to leave her 7 month old down syndrome infant to go chase after McCain on the campaign trail all over the country. Yep, it's obvious she has her priorities straight

    August 29, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  19. Andrew

    So she's a woman and governed more reindeer than people. i had no idea mrs. clause had an interest in politics.

    August 29, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  20. Stephanie from AL

    Congrats to Palin on being the first Republican female to be nominated for Vice President. I'm sure she is a wonderful person – BUT after asking "What does the Vice President do day to day?" I Can not support her or McCain. She is for everything I would fight to my last breath against.

    August 29, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  21. Mom of 3 in GA

    In 2007, Palin was asked about the war in Iraq and responded by saying "I haven't given it much thought."

    Way to go, McCain....clearly, your vetting team sucks.

    August 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  22. kingdavid1

    Thank you John McCain for the birthday present. You have sealed the door of your own coffin. Im a little confused why you would pick a PTA type hockey mom who has absolutely no experience. I wouldn't let her run my coffee shop. What is John McCain smoking???

    August 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  23. smith

    Well, GOP never care about America people. They only care about themselves, she is not the right choice. So she has been chosen only to get women vote from a democrat!!!!!!!!!! Where are those pround republicans they aren't even in number to elect McOld? GOP cannot even rely on IT own poeple. This is just suck.......... All women should see this as an insulte McCain wanna used you as a lidder to get in the top and then trash all of you. Borring party

    August 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  24. OutsiderBen

    I read a bunch of fake Hillary voters here (Same old Republicans games). I know how to play these games just like everybody does but even here we can show some honesty for ourselves at least.

    One good thing I'v noticed to Ms. Palin, she is very charming and she is out played by McCain. I kind of see him pointing a gun on her back and making her speak whatever she has been told. This is such a shame for US POLITICS, in this case by Republicans who are desperate to win this election, very suspicious move by McCain, I think he is not a loyal man, he is willing to do whatever just to win this election for his personal reasons.

    People are so blind and emotional to change political views. I dont care about Republicans nor Democrats, I care about my family and who is runing my country, I dont have any emotion in politics and I suggest to people, you can change your political views during the day as long as you are familiar with that and you think that choice is right for you and your family then GO FOR IT.

    I choose Barack Obama because he has this charisma to bring our country in positive ways, he will keep us together and he has a good heart.

    I wouldnt be so sure to vote for McCain especially after today, we dont need a 72 years old president. We are a country of THE DREAMS, NOT THE NIGHTMARES.

    Mr. Bentley

    August 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  25. Adam

    J. McCain has been down in the polls all the time, just because all the attentions have been focusing always to Obama. McCain now wants all attentions focused on his camp by making a surprise choice of an unthinkable VP, creating waves of all kinds of good and bad talks, which will last for a long time– long enough to shift all good attentions away from Obama until the election day. This is a very smart strategy.
    But, It is wrong time for McCain.

    August 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
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