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. apostlek

    Interesting, but first my congratulations to all women as another step towards equality continues.
    The interesting part is now the deciding factor in picking Palin.

    If Obama had chosen Clinton, who would have been McCain pick?
    If the answer is Palin, then McCain made the right decision.
    If the answer is others then I submit to you POLITICS remix.

    August 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  2. Mckee

    McDumb is crazy, McSenile is crazy. Crazy crazy–this is a beauty contest.

    August 29, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |

    I really think McCain is senile and still likes beauty contestant types.....have you noticed that Cindy is wearing her hair long ??? Something weird is going on !!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  4. Janna

    Hmmmm...Sounds like McCain is going through a midlife crisis...AGAIN! He just sent his wife, Cindy, overseas to Georgia AND he stays at home meeting with this woman? This decision was risky, an insult to women all over the US, and from what I'm reading all over the internet McCain has lost voters right and left. And, if elected, does he know he's going to die right away? Sheeshhhh.......

    This brash decision is a PRIME example of how McCain will make decisions about our country. I definitely don't trust him now.

    August 29, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  5. Leo Douglas

    Rush to war. Rush to chose vice-president. America suffers for the war. America will suffer for GOP choice of vice-president. Poor judgment on the war. Poor judgment on vice-president. McBush is really quick on his decisions. Very decisive. Very very eager to become president. Very very very poor judgment!!!!

    Leo – Columbia University

    August 29, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. RJ

    For those that think this is a great pick you are so in the tank for McCain you can't be helped this includes CNN.

    August 29, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  7. Houston TX

    she has a bs degree in journalism from univ of idaho and was a sports caster
    obama has a law degree from harvard, went to columbia for undergrad, and was president of harvard law review.

    give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. Gerry

    WOW!!!! socker mom second in command running the country. Was the Secretary of State (Miss Rice) brought into the picture. She has all the creditials needed to be in that spot....

    August 29, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  9. Bob

    Please...Please get Begala off the air...he is nothing but a disrespectful political hack....calling the President a moron is unacceptable irregardless of who the president is!!

    August 29, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. ThinkSmart

    Im a Hillary supporter now voting Obama, but if he looses I can deal with McCain. But if McCain wins then dies, Im moving to France.

    August 29, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. Amber Rodriguez


    August 29, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  12. Sharon

    Cheap theatrics by John McCain. The announcement was hastily made and the timing was engineered to stomp on the bounce Obama will undoubtedly get from his spectacular in Denver. As a woman, I am insulted and appalled by this outrageous VP choice and by the low-road tactics of the McCain campaign. Palin is qualiied to be president ot the PTA and, if you google it, you'll find that she was FOR the Bridges to Nowhere BEFORE she was against them.

    Lame choice by an out-of-touch, 72 year-old candidate who will do anything to win an election. "Country First" is a total JOKE!

    August 29, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  13. Tommy

    Hey, Democrats, oil your own machine. Use your judgement and vote the best ticket. Nobody is forcing you.

    August 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. Morris

    RECKLESSSSSSSSSS MCCAIN! THIS IS CLEARLY A POLITICAL STUNT AND PALIN FELL FOR IT!!! How can she allow this man to use her family for political gain! Does she really thinks that he takes her seriously! It looks so unnatural! Does not even look real!

    August 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. Hillary08

    This is such an insult to all women!! McCain must think that all American women are complete IDIOTS by choosing a woman who has close to no experience and does not even COMPARE to Hillary. Does he expect that we'll vote for him just because he chose a woman!?!? It's obvious that he doesn't think Palin would actually make a good VP, he's just trying to pick up the Hillary voters who became undecided... Well, thank you McCain for making the election clear for this undecided woman... YOU ARE A SENILE OLD MAN.... OUT OF YOUR MIND!!!

    My vote will go to OBAMA!!!

    August 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  16. BK

    Did you see Obama off script today responding to Gov. Palin? DUH DUH DUH. I can't wait for the debates. Oh by the way Gov. Palin didn't use a teleprompter today.

    August 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  17. Winkzilla

    Palin is a reckless choice. McCain made this choice for very narrow self-interest reasons without regard to American National Security if something should happen to him. Barack Obama showed outstanding judgement to his vp choice and an understanding that the choice must be made with our National Interest in mind. McCain's choice shows that he does not have the American people in mind for his decisions. If he does not have them in mind now, he will not in office as well.

    This decision shows McCain is indeed four more years of fail Republican dogma that puts personal self-interest over our National Security.

    August 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  18. Jim Blasdel

    And Palin is the best person in the nation to be President if, God forbid, something happens to McCain? Oy Vey !

    August 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. unknown

    What in the world was He thinking.... I am an Obama supporter who was excited about the election, but now I am literally on my head to get him elected out of FEAR of what will happen to our country if something happens (which is likely) to the 72 year old idiot.

    John McFool, how dare you choose someone with no experience or even interest in the foreign affairs. Where were his advisors?

    August 29, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. Dan

    Who is Palin??? Why should she be one heartbeat away from the Presidency??
    I do NOT want to hear anyone arguing that Obama is inexperienced… EVER AGAIN!!!
    It is clear to me that Mccain is using women as a tool… just to gain votes for him. The Biden choice is a respectful one, because it was to benefit the country… the Palin choice, I’m not so sure about… it seems as though it was carefully crafted to benefit Mccain only, which is rather disingenuous to women and I hope Hillary voters see right through it!
    It just goes to show you that you do not have to have political experience anymore – you can be a “hockey mom” and be one heartbeat away from the presidency nowadays.
    I can't wait for the debates between Palin and Biden, and she has to explain the difference between Sunni and Shia... she will be looking for Liebermann.
    Plus – I listened to conservative talk radio all day, and understand that conservatives only like her because she is "HOT" – that's it! Because she is "hot." This should alarm every American voter, and raise suspicion for anyone who knows a conservative, because this is what they think about. Clearly the wrong head they are thinking with, if they have brains at all.

    August 29, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  21. dbr

    This is an obvious attempt to steal some of the Barack' Obama's thunder becoming the first African American elected by a major party for the presidency of the United States.

    It's could also be an attempt to add some excitement to a lack luster Republican Presidential campaign.

    August 29, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  22. Denise

    wow – never would have thought mccain would be so clueless..
    i am not a hillary fan...but if i was- knowing hillary not on the ticket is not going to make me vote the mccain/palin ticket b/c palin is a woman..that will not do it for me or this country...and people are scared of the 3:00 a.m. call...can this woman even handle all the distractions...a baby w/down syndrom-a son in iraq-not to mention
    the she ready to lead this country-i can't chance it and you shouldn't either....republicans-you may not be able to admit it but, mccain is 72 & that in itself is scary

    August 29, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  23. J.B.

    Joe Biden will chew her up, and spit her out all over the stage during their VP debate. Especially on foreign affairs...which she has clearly said she has no interest in. And whoever said she had experience in foreign affairs because her state was near Russia needs to really get a clue.

    August 29, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  24. Amy from Virginia

    The only logic I can come up with McCain's VP pick is that all the other candidates must have said to him "thanks, but no thanks". If not, I fail to see how on earth he will get to the oval office!

    August 29, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. Jon

    Sort of like marrying someone you met once at a cocktail party.

    The choice of Palin is definitive proof of McCain's utter lack of judgement. He should concede the election right now.

    Wild Otter

    August 29, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
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