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. Dan

    I don't see the big deal when she has more experience than Obama. Let me just add that Campbell Brown was a complete disaster tonight. CNNs credibility just went right out the window... again.

    August 30, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. NoKoolAidDrinker

    You obama supporters kill me. You talk of experience!!!! I would take Palin over Obama any day. I think McCain made a better pick after one visit then the democratic party after following Obama for the past year. I guess you people are sexist because you are saying something negative about a woman.

    August 30, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. coral

    I am a 58 year old woman, one who serves the mental health community as a prescriber. I was a hippy, commune member in the 1960 and 70's (lived in Berkeley), consider myself a "new ager" (so to speak) as well as a spiritual person, However, as I have aged and gained in wisdom and service, my values, my ideals, my beliefs coicide with conservative values. I was a Hilary supporter, and when she was not chosen I decided to go for McCain. Now that he has chosen Palin my heart rejoices with a joy I never expected. God Bless America and God Bless our future President John McCain and Sarah Palin!

    August 30, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. Holy Moley

    Holy political spin Batman! This is a total disaster. No one can honestly say if John McCain dies that Palin could be commander in chief. Now before the spin doctors descend ... if the same happened to Barack Obama (heaven forbid it happen to either - they're both honorable men) then Joe Biden would take the reigns.

    Let me think - Biden or Palin.

    Done thinking. The answer is obvious. Biden is by far the better VP choice with his extensive experience. He's the best back up. Palin cannot stand on her own as commander in chief. She simply hasn't got the experience. Being a mayor and short-term governor isn't good enough.

    Also, Barack was chosen by 18million people. They believe he has the experience to move forward. So comparing his experience (in the Senate no less) to Palin's is ludicrous. Did everyone suddenly forget about his history?

    Honestly, this Republican move holds no sway. BTW - what about economics? Mitt Romney must be going crazy right now ...

    August 30, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  5. LaVon K Hummel

    I didn't know McCain was santa claus... He is though. When I woke up today and turned on my TV.. there she was Parlin, the most wonderful gift a democrate could get. thankyou santa, McCain.

    August 30, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  6. John

    John McCain has let this country down. The first job of a Presidential candidate is to choose a running mate that is capable of becoming President. This is particularly true for one who is old and in frail health. If John McCain were to die or retire for health reasons, we would leave our military under the control of a woman who has less than two years' experience governing one of our smallest states. This is unconscionable.

    Before you argue the same goes for Obama, consider that when Obama ran he had to convince voters that he had the ability to lead despite his resume. It is possible that a person could be ready for the job without a heavy resume, but it was up to us to decide. He convinced Americans that he was ready to lead. He now has a former President vouching for his abilities. Whether you believe he is ready now or not, he still had to prove it.

    John McCain, having chosen someone unqualified based on nothing more than his gut (or, worse, politics) has potentially put this country in danger.

    August 30, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  7. J.V.Hodgson

    A maverick doing maverick things but a strong political drive in the choice i.e to get at disgruntled Hilary supporters and other women voters. There was no consideration of CIC aspects, Economy, health care etc experience/judgement...well???. Is she a potential President ?( Quite important I understand to you the Media and voters!?) If those do not rebound against the Republicans, something is just not quite right somewhere!?

    August 30, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  8. Norma Ott

    Does Mc. cain feel confident about his choice? Does is my question...first I was completely surprise, then I watched the announcement and just see he there?

    August 30, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  9. Slider

    I just read Begala's report card on the choosing of Palin, and it is exactly the response I would expect from a Progressive steeped in the sewers of Leninist thought.

    How could anyone with such a high forehead have such a Cro-magnon mentality.

    Son, I don't know who at CNN thought you were qualified to be on a news program, but if you are even considered remotely intelligent by anyone sucking oxygen, then there's hope for every ape in Africa.

    Palin is going to beat the pantsuit off Obama.

    August 30, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  10. US Citizen

    Of all people, Obama should not be critical of Palin's resume. She does have more executive experience than Obama. Palin is a quarterback, not a cheerleader.

    It's funny that people like to continue to mention McCain's failed marriage. What was Obama doing during that time period? Wasn't he investing his time in drug use?

    August 30, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  11. Alicia

    Hey all you Clinton supporters who are supposedly insulted by the choice of Palin,You are all big hypocrites in the true sense of the word!!

    Why is it so amazing when a woman is running for President as long as she is a Democrat??? When a Republican who is a woman is actually nominated it's an insult because she doesn't agree with YOUR views???
    Your Savior Obama put himself first and his personal feelings against Hillary and CHOSE NOT to pick her even if it meant losing 18 million votes!!
    All you liberals are the same, your for CHOICE as long as its YOUR choice. There is no such thing as having an opinion other than yours !! To CHOOSE NOT to have an abortion and choosing LIFE. Can it be so horrible CHOOSING not to take the life of a baby?

    August 30, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |

    I would lik.e to ask McCain what happened to country first? He accussed Obama of using Iraq as a political ploy but what does he call choosing Palin? Obama is RIGHT and McCain is WRONG. Choosing Palin is purely political and has nothing to do with putting COUNTRY .


    August 30, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  13. Craig


    August 30, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  14. Chris in Hawaii

    Wow. Thanks McSame. You got my favourite candidate elected. OBAMA. What McCain doesn't realize is that Barrack is no dummy. Can't the Republicans see that Barrack is stacking the deck. That is why he didn't pick Hillary. He wants Hillary in the Senate where she can do the most good. Think about it. Obama/Biden in the White House and Clinton and Pelosi in the Congress. Hello Republicans/McSame? Barrack was right, McSame just doesn't get it.

    August 30, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  15. andre

    u so stupid how can u meet someone only once n have full confident in that person to be the vice president of the united states u always make wrong decision thats why u cant be president of the united states, BORAK OBAMA IS THE REAL MAN

    August 30, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  16. clueless wonks

    Liberal media? get a grip. They are all owned by huge conglomerates that need to sell ad space. That's the only goal, there is nothing else. Journalism runs second chair. I thought only liberals had conspiracy theories.

    McCain just needed to get some play, that's why he picked her.

    On the experience thing: What sticks with me is this, Columbia, Harvard, Harvard Law Review, Constitutional Law professor at University of Chicago vs Idaho State Journalism major.

    August 30, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  17. Susan, Wyo

    As a Democrat I am thrilled at the spectacular stupidity of McCain's choice; surely this pandering to the far-right will open the eyes of independents. To the Hillary supporters who said they're voting for McCain because of Palin (an anti-environmentalist anti-choice creationist wack job) – buh-bye, you're idiots who won't be missed. We'll register new voters who unlike you have the ability to think instead of shooting from the hip.

    Obama 08 & 12.

    August 30, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  18. Equules

    McCain is insane! He had Romney for economy! Giuliani, 911 NY hero! Condaleeza Rice! Much more name recognition! He just went for someone no one really knows, not even himself! This choice was a total last minute act of desperation! I'm shocked that Palin would allow herself to be used this way, target Hillary supporter's and think that just because she is a "woman," she can gain their support, when they don't even agree on important issues. Hillary, she's NOT!!! The secret mystere' has been announced and I think there are a lot of voter's that are more than disapointed. They are worried! Hope is fading fast for the republicans who were waiting with anticipation for a more intelligent choice, only to be shocked and disapointed instead. I imagine McCain's convention will probably put me to sleep! It's time to cross the party divide, unite and become one America. I'm on board with Barack!

    August 30, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  19. pearl of wisdom

    In most of the blogs, supporters of McCain are hailing Sarah Palin as this "no nonsense woman...reformer not afraid to go head to head with the politicians of any party". I have to laugh at this because for her to be such a "reformer" and "no nonsense" she sure fell for the non sense of McCain. I dont mean to sound insulting but she doesnt stand for strong women across this country. She is actually playing the role of a pawn for the republican party, and that is a sign of a very weak woman. She should have stood up against this nomination. Maybe then I would have voted for her and McCain

    August 30, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  20. Drew, Memphis

    All the anti-Palin aruguments on here have been completely ignorant and ridiculous for two reasons:

    1: How can anyone doubt Palin for the sole reason of lack of experience? Her experience is more than comparable to that of Barack Obama, Democratic nominee for PRESIDENT!!! If Obama wins we get a President with NO EXPERIENCE... just hype and talk... Time after time after time, the Democratic talking heads (CNN) are asked one question, "List specific examples of Obama's experience and platform"... And time and time again they fail to answer the question... (i.e. Dukakis, Cafferty, etc...)

    2: All of the so-called "Hillary supporters" who are so outraged that McCain chose Palin should be ashamed of themselves. I guarantee that 95% of the negative Palin comments have been based solely on 5 minutes CNN information. Do your homework, research her platform, develop your OWN opinion. If after that you are still so "outraged" then so be it.

    August 30, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  21. Starr Dittmann WA

    Oh Lord, McCain is fidgeting in her entrance speech. He fiddles with his fingers continuously. She seems to be slightly trying to face this new surprise... it shows all over her face that she does not feel she deserves this position. Honestly, do you really want her to be our NEXT PRESIDENT ... in case John McCain succumbs to sickness or worse? He is too old to run for the next 4 years and THIS WOMAN is NOT EXPERIENCED enough to make Presidentianl decisions. You know, if she had a civil rights movement or was shown giving more than (worrying about how she looks) I might have thought it was ok but she does not take HILLARY CLINTONS place. Barack Obama and HIllary worked hard the past 2 years in their campaigning. OBama has struggled through his entire life and this woman Sarah, ... people said they did not know OBAMA and he chose Biden due to his strong political experience and the experience in foreign policy plus being the chairman of the committee. THis woman is much less experienced than OBAMA or any other republican governor, mayor, senator or otherwise. The only reason John chose her was to lure women voters and side swipe men voters with her looks as it is already working on GLENN BECK... He is totally mesmerized by her looks and changed his mind about McCain because of a young beautiful inexperienced woman.. hahahaha Glenn you are a joke!!!

    August 30, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  22. Brian Austin,TX

    This is purely an act of desperation. America this is an example of how Republicans play politics.

    If you elect this out of touch old (would be the oldest elected in history) man it is bad enough.

    To leave it to this woman who lives in her own world out in the corner of the Earth, has hardly any experience (WAY less than Obama, to all you Obama haters), and is purely a ploy to get votes for the twisted and failure guaranteed agenda in play is irresponsible and absurd.

    This country does not just desperately need, but IS READY FOR Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

    Please Americans you have to know by now what is going on.

    For the love of our country and countrymen (and women).

    VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN in 2008!!!

    August 30, 2008 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  23. ADM

    To Debi, IN

    I would rather have inexperience at the top as long as experience was on the bottom to help and also teach the top along the way because if something happens to the top, experience can take over and we would be in pretty much good hands. If experience was on the top and inexperience on the bottom and if something happens to the top then inexperience would take over and then we all would be s$rewed.


    August 30, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  24. jaison Biagini

    guess what, in 2006 she was for the bridge to nowhere!!!

    August 30, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  25. Pauline Montano

    I believe that Senator McCain is a very self-serviing individual. Not only has he chosen a woman of very little experience, he has also chosen a woman with children. Her obligation is not to McCain and his political agenda but to her family, If she is such a staunch conservative who decided not to have an abortion and knowing full well that she would be having a Down's Syndrome child–why is she putting this four month old baby aside for her political ambitions? All day she has been tauted as a conservative gun-toting, fish-loving maverick like McCain and in the background walks her husband with her baby! If elected would her priorty be to sick Down's Syndrome child or a trip to the Middle East? Shame–she will either abandon the obligation to the baby she chose to have or her obligation to the USA–Wonder Woman she is not! These two politically irresponsible mavericks have lost my vote. A Conservative in NM

    August 30, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
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