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. Scott919

    This is an insult to women and it shows that even in our society today, we often confuse progress with slander. <<<

    Oh rubbish. It might have a lot more to do with the fact that Palin has FAR fewer negatives than anyone else on the short list, she is a proven reformer (she cleaned up one of the most corrupt state governments in the USA, hammered big oil, and boosted the state economy), and a maverick herself. She fits McCain's message perfectly.

    Furthermore, while Obama talks about he he WANTS to change things, Palin can talk about how she HAS changed things. This is not at all an insult to women. Perhaps the insult is immediately believing this woman has no merits without finding out first.

    August 29, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  2. Sue, MN

    McCain's pick of Palin to try and woo the 18 million Hillary voters just goes to show you what a low opinion he has of women. To think that these smart, intelligent women who supported Hillary because of her position on the issues would switch and vote for McCain because a woman is on his ticket is downright insulting. Palin is the anti-Hillary. Why would a Hillary supporter vote for her? She's against everything Hillary stands for and she stands for everything Hillary is against.

    August 29, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. Christine from Midwest

    I am shocked and angry that the Republican Party and John McCain showed such poor judgment in choosing an unknown, small time govenor with almost no experience to be his running mate. It is almost unbelievable that this nation's security could possibly be in the hands of an elderly, out-of-touch career politician and a young hocky-mom from Alaska. I know that if those two are voted into office, I won't sleep until they are out of office! Republicans generally stand for conservative values, which includes a nuclear family with a mother in the home. How can she profess to be a conservative when she spends her time in politics when she has five children, and one of them is a Down's Syndrome baby. She should be caring for her children and not running for VEEP.

    August 29, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  4. Terri

    I was a Hillary supporter because of her experience and genuine concern for the American people, not because she was a woman. I have always based my vote on the persons abilities not the party they were affliated with and I would hope the rest of the American public would do the same. To the other Hillary supporters out there that are complaining about her not being picked and will cast their vote for McCain or not vote at all doesn't that choice go against everything she stood for? McCain's choice today was yet more proof to me how out of touch he really is with the Hillary supporters of America. I will be voting this year for Obama because I believe he can make a change for all of us.

    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  5. Sue in MI

    Vote Democratic! At least we know one of them is qualified to be President. McCain is clueless, and Palin is an NRA anti-conservation, pro-drilling, anti Roe v. Wade conservative...another Bush clone! Just what we need to totally destroy this country. We'd be bombing Iran before Jan. 21, and the troops will never come home. Then they'll start on Russia, and hey, why not N. Korea? After all, we're the world's police now, thanks to Bush.We cannot afford 4 more years of tax cuts to the rich while the rest of us struggle to buy groceries and gas. They are clueless!

    No thanks, NO MORE, NO McCain NEVER!

    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  6. Margareth-FL

    I cannot believe ,McCain is Nuts He's lost my, parents votes ,,,,,,he could" pick alguem better , Senator Barack Obama you got my vote!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  7. frannyarm

    I think those who believe that this choice is hurting Obama have lost their minds. I know there are people in this country who adhere to party politics, but to think that Palin has hurt Obama, Wow! Folks, Obama's speech has not been kicked to the corner because of the choice of the beauty queen, the one whose husband works for an oil company in Alaska. I teach Geography, but please remind me. Is Alaska part of the United States? I guess that's not fair. I do like Mike Gravel. I actually wished he was the nominee.

    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  8. Sara


    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  9. Woodland, CA

    Game Over. Far from the most competent person for the job. This is not about Palin, it's about McCain's totally reckless choice of a woman that is not even remotely qualified to step into oval office heaven forbid anything ever happened to McCain. His decision making is now in question and this choice makes it impossible to vote for him or them.
    Seeing Palin in news reals all highlights her lack of judgement as well. Any NRA member and responsible gun owner knows everyone should wear ear and eye protection when firing a weapon – ridiculous, all of it.

    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  10. ADM

    To: Wiser

    You would vote for McCain because he picked a woman that he only met one time and he expects to help him run the country ? You are planning to vote for him because of a woman. I am a woman and I will not vote her just because she is a woman or because Hillary did not want. You need to really think about you are doing. McCain is an older candidate and this one could very well run this country in the near future and that makes me very afraid. II do not know why you call yourself wiser because your statement is not wise. Would take someone tinto your home that you met one time and have them run your home?

    August 29, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  11. Constance

    Where is this woman's FOUR MONTH OLD SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD in these presidential ambitions of this Sarah Palin? How in the world can this woman accept a job that will consume her life, all her time, all her energy above her family when she has an INFANT? A very vulnerable Special Needs infant at that?! Where are the comments from the "conservative right" the "moral Majority" while they watch a mother abandon her baby to a nanny or whoever to raise for this job. This woman's priorities are messed up. As a nurse who sees too many kids left alone in hospital's with strangers, I am simply totally speechless that this woman believes she is "free" to pursue her fabulous career and have yet to hear one comment about how in the world can she juggle a job like the Presidency and be an adequate mother to a special needs child. As a nurse, I see too many parents who are so rich that nannies raise their kids, or parents who are too poor and too ignorant to know how to raise their kids, or parents who are simply irresponsible and do not raise their kids. Our families are our country's base and I know it sounds so sexist to point out. The reality is this woman is taking an all consuming job and I am questioning how can it be possible for her to mother her child and be Vice-President or even President? Working mothers make choices and the best choices with the best outcomes for small children are mothers who work around their child's needs. They do not take a job that will consume their entire being to the detriment of a child. What is this woman thinking???? What is this country thinking if we don't notice that this is just not what are families are like???? Where in her priority list, if her vulnerable child is not first, does this country fit? It must be somewhere behind ambition, after greed for power, after glory and name, perhaps riches...then comes the best interests of the country THEN follows what...her vulnerable special need child? This woman is messed up and her priorities are cock-eyed. A qualified VP candidate –woman or man is fine but this one is not free to commit to this job. Her special needs child should be her current commitment and I can't figure out why this country or John McCain doesn't see this as an important issue.

    August 29, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. John

    I love it how the Dems and supposed "women" on this board are seemingly offended by McCain's selection of Palin as VP. Jealous is probably the more appropriate word.

    August 29, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  13. Rhonda Davis

    McCain has insulted every single American by making a joke out of our Presidential election. He's opted for a cheap publicity stunt instead picking a qualified running mate. He's a shell of a man who has sold every last scrap of his dignity to extremists. The John McCain that suffered for American ideals in Nam wouldn't stop to spit on the pathetic coward that's currently running for President.

    August 29, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Mary

    I hope that the Hillabots are happy...they may actually someday have their woman in the white house...thanks

    August 29, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  15. LA

    As a woman I am totally insulted. Obama, first off brings intelligence to the ticket. I know Americans have gotten used to the C student, but remember when we used to choose the A students. President of the Harvard Law Review. Undergrad in foreign relations from Columbia. Then we have the Constitutional Law professor! Then we have the Civil Rights attorney, and he brings 8 years under his belt as a state legislator and 4 years under his belt as a U.S. Senator. John McCain and the far right can try to match her LESS THAN TWO (2) years of experience in a state that has less than 700k populations all they want, the math does not add up. Obama 12 years elected office experience/Palin (2). Sorry it does not even compare! Hillary did not put 18 million cracks in the ceiling for Ms. Beauty Queen to take advantage. John McCain sure has a thing for these beauty queens. Obama I didn't get it before, but now I totally get it when you say its judgment!!! This is a bad day for America. The republicans have turned our nations politics into a circus. Ms. Palin wants to set women back 100 years. HELL NO! McCain/Palin NO WAY, NO HOW!

    August 29, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. Obama/Biden

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!?? Does McCain take American women for idiots!?? Does he really think that because we (Hillary supporters) are a little disappointed he can get us over with an Alaskan bimbo!?? This is an insult to women's intelligence!!!
    McCain is such a hypocrite! Wasn't he th one killing people over Obama's "lack" of experience?? This just shows that all this is about politics and politics only not the welfare of the American people. McCain does not care about us at all. What if he drops dead (God forbid) sometimes after taking office? He's actually going to entrust our dear country to a VP that has no experience whatsoever! I am startled!

    Please people do the right thing and vote for Obama and give America a real chance at change!

    August 29, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  17. Bill from California

    I find most of the comments here from the koolaid drinkers to be extremely thoughtless. I personally don't care for either of these first seat candidates, but Palin certainly leaves me with a very impressive first impression. She certainly has a thin experience record as does Obama. but her accomplishments on ethics and even against her own party demonstrates her honesty and character. I like her more than the other 3 for sure.

    August 29, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  18. twicebitten

    I guess those of you who are intent on voting for the comedy duo of Mcglum and Numb would like to be bitten for a third time. You deserve everything and then some if this duo wins the election.

    August 29, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  19. Betssi

    It sounds like Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter know palin better then Mcain. I agree with Robert from seattle "DAN QUALE IN A DRESS" that's just.... GENIUS!! She flew to Flagstaff, Arizone and then to Sedona, Arizone....or was that the other way around.... either way i'm sure MCain has a house in both towns.

    Hands vote goes to...................


    August 30, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  20. Jerry

    My first reaction to Palin was a similar sentiment shared by many on these boards...What the heck was McCain thinking? Obama/Biden is a sure thing with this blunder. After meditating objectively on this, I'm starting to reshape my opinion on the Palin choice for veep. It will be interesting to see how both parties spin Palin, but my guess is that the Republicans will leverage the Dem's anticipated criticism of Palin's lack of expereince and parley that into indictment on Obama's minimal expereince. Absent Obama's oratory prowess and magnetic personality, there is little that separates Palin and Obama, experientially. He is a first term senator, she a first term governor. While she has no foreign policy experience, Obama's is meager by comparison. GOP can at least point to Palin's executive experience and commander in chief of AK nat. guard as presidential qualifications that Obama lacks. Obviously, this is purely political, though not just to capture the disenfranchised Hillary supporters. What at first seemed a bone-headed call by McCain packs plenty of compelling political intrigue. Time, press spin, and Palin herself will tell of the genius or travesty in this veep choice.

    August 30, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  21. mike

    McCain just proved his judgment is terrible. How do you decide a Vice President after one meeting? Obama spent months vetting and meeting with people.

    Palin, although seemingly a nice person, is totally unprepared for VP of the United States of America.

    Her next to Joe Biden should be interesting. Night and day as far as experience and foreign policy understanding.

    August 30, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  22. ricka

    me again, i was wondering how good of a mother she will be to her 5 children when she is never home. was she thinking of them when she accepted?? or is political ambition more important to her. why in the world would a mother of 5 kids give up a normal life with her kids and husband for washington. i can see hilary because she has one grown and on her own. and even if a man had 5 young kids how could he disrupt their lives that way. if i had the life she has in alaska i sure would not trade it for washington, but i guess we all have different priorities.

    August 30, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. John

    @vic nashville,Tn and all Hillary Supporters

    I am really disappointed to see all her supporters indicating voting for McCain.

    It seems you just followed her for being a woman, but not for what she stands for.She is a iconic figure, who have fought for great cause.By supporting Mccain/Palin ticket you are insulting her efforts.Hilary stood for a change, to get this country back to tracks. So now why is a person, who is pro-life, a pro gun and exactly opposite of Hilliary's ideologies,being even considered when you believed Hillary for all her policies...

    People think for what you are voting for and not for whom you are voting for..

    Such a great champion of rights and change is disgraced....if you vote for McCain/Palin ticket

    August 30, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. T J Reichel

    I was one of those women that had not yet decided who I would vote for until today...I told my conservative family members during the primaries that John McCain was the only Republican I would vote for. After today's announcement of his VP pick I decided I would be voting for the Obama/Biden ticket. His pick of a VP seems like a ploy with no concern what might happen to the country if he could not serve.

    August 30, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  25. KimFromNJ

    He's trying to bring the Clinton voters over based on gender instead of merits. It shows a lack of respect for the Clinton voters.

    August 30, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
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