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. RJ

    Alaska! Alaska! This is a diverse country. How much diversity is in Alaska??
    Does she even know that McCain is one of a very few who owns 8-11 houses and still has servants

    I guess thats the diversity they seek.

    August 29, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  2. sue

    After the Democrat's display last night (and this was a green convention???) I will vote for any one who is not connected with the wastefulness demonstrated last night.

    August 29, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  3. David

    wow I guess we should all vote for john mccain since he has a hot vp choice oh look at that she's a woman too hello Hillary supporters jump on in the water is safe....................NOT!!

    August 29, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. Morten


    Obama was top student from Harvard, spent 8 years in state legislature, and almost 4 years in the senate. Among other, he has served on the Foreign relations committee... His age is similar to that of other world leaders when they start serving; JFK, Clinton, Roosevelt, and Grant were all younger.

    Sarah has been governor for less than two years and is even younger...

    How can anyone argue that she has more experience??? LOL

    August 29, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  5. Dan Muig

    John McCain, has a very serious judgement deficiency. Americans would have hoped that after all these many months of silence and secrecy about a VP choice, that John McCain was actually interviewing and aggressively searching for the best possible choice of a VP.

    No, it simply looks now that after all this time the best he can do is to select a running mate that he has only met once, and knows nothing about her.

    With that kind of judgement what will McCain do in selecting his Cabinet and other presidential appointees. He will probably do it in his sleep.

    Very poor judgement. Very reckless. I am very shocked & disappointed.

    August 29, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  6. John K

    As a Democrat I can't vote for her.............and wouldn't..................but I can still look!

    August 29, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. steve

    only seen her one day and she is already a better choice than oboma

    August 29, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  8. Democrat for John McCain

    I am thrilled with this selection. It is not necessary for John McCain to know her well. Palin's accomplishments speak about herself. Barack has a clean slate and Biden is arrogant old man. Vote John McCain.

    August 29, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. Patricia

    PUMA people wanted H. Clinton because of her experience – so they said. Actually they wanted her because she was a woman and they refuse to vote for a Black – race bias painted all over their movement. Now a PUMA supporter says this will make it easier to vote for McCain. See, they didn't want Clinton for her experience – they just wanted a woman (and are racists).

    Palin is getting attention today because McCain needed someone with speaking ability to fire up his party. With a major in communications, she will do that very well.

    HOWEVER, McCain has spent his entire campaign boasting of his foreign policy experience and that the country needs him so badly. He is 72. What if perhaps she is left to lead the country. He has met her once, she looked good on paper, and she could be our next president. NO MCCAIN, NO WAY, NO HOW. This is FAR too scary.

    August 29, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  10. Rosalyn

    Well, we Know one thing for sure McCain enjoys the company of younger women.

    August 29, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. ricka

    McCain has chosen the path of least resistance, like water running down hill. He did not want to be upstaged by people who can do a better job than he can. we all know McCain is a ladies man. look what happened to his first wife. his current wife must be a bit nervous. Good ol John McCain might be out shooting moose with his new lady.
    seriously i think he must have fell in love at first sight. i wonder how ms McCain works into this, He sold our future on a good looking woman. either that or she has more charm than is known.

    August 29, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Refreshing! I was a Democrat for McCain until I dug deep, listened to Hillary's speech, and softened to the Obama/Biden pick. I am now voting Democrat. However, McCain's pick is refreshing from the Republican side and I hope she does well on this journey.

    August 29, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. Boston For OBAMA

    Very poor judgement dislayed by John McCain. He must be very desperate. Senator Hillary Clinton's supporters will not fall for this ploy. ROE V. WADE is now on the table. Paulin herself is under investigation in her corrupt state of Alaska. What was he thinking?

    August 29, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  14. Disbelief

    I can't believe McCain didn't pick Romney. Obama is doing well in the west and in Michigan. I felt like Romney could have quelled that. I didn't like McCain because I favor Obama's policies, but his choice of Mrs. Palin is downright scary as hell. She was the mayor of a town of 6500 and governer for two years of a state w/ a population far less than Dallas.

    I want to thank all the Hillary Clinton supporters who are now supporting Barack Obama. As a Barack Obama supporter, I will do whatever I can to get her elected in the future if her supporters come through this election. To all those so called Hillary supporters who are voting for McCain I say GOOD RIDDANCE!!! I'm tired of you attention seekers saying you're voting for McCain... go AHEAD.. be ignorant. You'll have no one to blame but yourself is McCain is elected. Hillary is young enough to be president after Obama. Be patient. 16 years of Democratic rule sounds pretty good to me!

    August 29, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  15. Happy_DEM

    Population of Alaska: 683,478
    Population of Chicago: 2,833,321

    What great experience Palin brings to the table compared to Obama, job titles aside. A clerk in Mayor Daley's office is as qualified as Palin to be VP of this country. Wonderful day for Dems. Those Clinton supporters that will still vote for McCain will do so b/c of Obama's color and they were never going to vote for him in the first place.

    Obama/Biden 08

    August 29, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  16. jm from sc

    Obama made the right decision in choosing a running mate he could work with rather than trying to play games to make history and get nothing done. For those of you who feel like he should have chosen Hillary, you should do as she did and let that go. Hillary did not want to be VP because she was offered something better in an Obama administration. She is satisfied and we should be as well. First of all, the notion that she was done wrong by the choice Obama made was created by the republican to set the stage for McCain's risky choice.

    McCain actually thinks women are dumb enough to flock to him just to make history.

    Obama/Biden 08

    August 29, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. Loren

    Well, I guess McCain knew he had no chance of winning against Obama and Biden. So what he did was to select a good looking woman (who is certainly smart as well) so that every other american woman be they democratic or republican would vote for her not mentioning american males of both sides. This choice shows how desperate the republicans have become.

    August 29, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  18. kristin

    You have got to be kidding! No more do the Republicans have a leg to stand on in the inexperience debate.

    How careless of McCain to choose the person for such an important position after only one meeting! This is judgment? I think not!

    I am confident that the Clinton supporters will heed her words at the convention and ask themselves why they voted for her – was it for her or for what she stands for. Palin stands for nothing that Clinton stands for and it is SO INSULTING to think that the Republicans are under the impression that they can woo Clinton's supporters simply because Palin is a woman. All I can say is never underestimate a woman scorned!

    August 29, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  19. Pat the Punk

    For anyone questioning "experience"... Palin has *more* actual governing and executive experience than OBAMA, and Palin is NOT running for President, but VP. Think about that, folks. Also, you should be voting thinking about whether a candidate might or might not die (these are mostly Democrats). It's a simplistic, desperate and a disgusting type of thinking.

    August 29, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  20. Even Steven, CO

    Well, I was a fence sitting indie voter until this week (have voted Dem twice in the last twenty years, and voted 3 times Repub) I watched Obama's speech last night and just saw McCain unveil this whopper of a decision today.

    Obama and Biden are getting my vote to get this country moving again.

    Sorry McCain, you just made yourself look like McClown. Man, are you kidding me? Over Romney? Over Ridge???

    August 29, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  21. chocked55

    How interesting! Obama was critized by Republicans for not having any experience, but Mc picked someone that has no experience either and thinks that Alaska being next to Russia makes her expericenced on foreign policy.
    I am not sure how she complements Mc on the ticket? Hmmm!
    President Bush had no experience when he entered office and on the 2nd term look how bad our economic has become.

    August 29, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. Selena

    The people that are saying Palin is a great choice are just being phony and are really scared deep down that MCSame is showing signs of dementia!!!!!

    GO President Obama!!!

    August 29, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  23. Amy

    OH. MY. GOD. Is McCain out of his mind?!?!? What was he thinking?!?! They just handed the presidency to the Democrats on a silver platter. I can't vote for McCain now. I was already hesitant with his old age and state of health, and now he makes a horrible choice for VP. It seems his mental health is already deteriorating as well!!!
    I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Obama/Biden ticket is now more appealing to me.

    August 29, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  24. caligirl

    What an insult to Hillary Clinton. Palin doesnt hold a morsel of experience compared to Senator Clinton.
    How desperate McCain is to win over women votes.
    We know his scheme and it will not succeed!
    I am a women, however I would be frightened to hand over the presidency to hs choice of vp when dealing with this countries economic crisis AND not to mention McCain had only met her ONCE! What type of judgement is that? Unsound, unwise and out of touch!
    We cannot afford eight more years or wreckless judgement!
    Theres too much at stack!

    August 29, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. Brett

    I am a Democrat, a proud one. And I absolutely LOVE Sarah Palin. I applaud you, Senator McCain!

    August 29, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
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