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. M. Brown

    Given McCain's comments about how his wife could win a wet tee shirt contest during a Sturgis motorcycle rally leads me to think that he is thinking with the wrong head. How he could pick an unheard of Governor of less than a million people goes to show that his judgment is that of a man that cares less about who would succeed him than using gimmicks, smoke and mirrors to get to the oval office, that is so lame and remember that he will be close to 80 years old when his first term ends. Has not America learned? Anyone who believes that Ronald Reagan wasn't having memory lapses before leaving the White House is insane and McCain seems as if he can't deliver the simplest of messages unless he is reading from cue cards.

    August 29, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Tylenol 666

    I heard he chose her because her mom Likes Abba – Dancing Queen as well 😀

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Brian in VA

    playing cards?..Let's play a game...reread all of these posts substituting DNC for McCain and Afrrican-Americans for Palin. Then maybe all of you feminists will see how ridiculous you sound.

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. Mashawnda Dowell

    We don't even know how Barack knows Biden. I feel that CNN should blog about issues and do more contrast and compare, and what's right for the people of the US...than gossip. This site might as well be TMZ 🙂

    I will be voting for the Obama/Biden Ticket, for many reasons. Oddly, I am very thankful that Barack took his selection seriously. He could have selected Mrs. would have made people happy and smile and be joyful...yet that is not what's best at a time like this, and he based his decision not on what trendy and wanted, but whats best for the people.

    I like a person like that–regardless if they are Rep or Dem. It makes me feel like I count.

    Trust me...he could have easily selected Mrs. Clinton. Yet, did not. He repected her and her husband...and left it alone.

    I am glad he selected Biden, and with the strength of the Dems. There is no question our party is focus and determined to win.

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. Joan

    I cannot believe that Faye (who is on the Campbell Brown program) would even make the comment that Sarah Palin is qualified on foreign policy because her son is serving in Iraq! If that is the case, then every family in America who has a love one in Iraq is qualified....John McCain had a HUGE pool to choose from. What an insult! She also says that the "feminists" are the people who are insulted by McCain picking Palin because of the Hilary Clinton comparison....I am in no way a feminist, just an average American woman, and I'm insulted that a Republican advocate on a respected news program would even insinuate that Hilary would be a reason for me to be upset about McCain's runningmate and not because of who McCain's runningmate is as a person........

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Jim Jones

    Republicans touting Palin's experience in balancing a state budget overlooks what state, Alaska. With huge oil revenue, balancing the budget there is like balancing the budget it Iraq... no great claim to fame.

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Pat from Cali

    How? He did "rock paper scissors" with Lieberman until they got bored. And said, "Call the beauty queen. This ticket needs more eye candy. Republicans don't care about issues. Neither does PUMA so any gal will do."

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Experience! Who's kidding Who? I would take Palin for President over Obama. If you consider we are voting for President AND VP... McCain-Palin is the perfect balance.

    McCain may be the oldest Pres for first term at 72, but this is 2008. Lincoln was 51 when first elected 148 years ago. But, what was the average life expectancy in1860? I think McCain will make it through 4 years with or wtihout skin cancer.

    All the experience on the Democratic ticket can't match that of McCain. Let's take the proven America, John McCain.

    August 29, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Sue

    I think this was a brilliant move by McCain.....this was all McCain. The fact that Palin is not from Washington and not part of the "good ol" club could defintely change alot of peoples minds. And her son is in Iraq serving...what more do you need than that when it comes to foriegn polcy? I believe McCain chose Palin because they believed in the same things. I honestly believe it has nothing to do with Hilary Clinton's supporters...Pilan is pro life and a conservative! I mean seriously....

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. JT

    How can McCain plausibly make the claim that he wants to end our dependence on oil? The state of Alaska gets most of its revenue from oil. Do you really believe Sarah Palin wants an energy policy that will hurt her home state?

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  11. Sharleen

    No way, No How, NO McCain or Palin !!! She does not even come close to Hillary, so don't even go there. Hillary has been in the forefront leading the party for years and years. Woman don't need another Right Wing, Anti choice, Gun slinging, soccer mom who doesn't believe that Global warming is real, in any leadership position. Maybe it is OK for Alaska, which has a population of less that the city of San Antonio Texas, but Not for me. Obama is a man who will take us out of this backward thinking Republican debaucle this country is currently in.

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. Walt

    This is a pure political gimmick and sad. Everyone in America should be offended. If the women that supported Clinton go for this insult then it will settle what I feared all along. It is not about the best candidate. It is about electing a woman. Sort of reverse discrimation, but I digress.

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. alcamadus

    The question you have to ask yourself is this: Was I voting for Hillary because she was pro-choice, or was I voting for Hillary because she was a woman?

    Obama is pro-choice. If you are pro-choice than vote for him. But if you want a woman in the white house, and be the first woman Vice-President in office. Then vote for McCain-Palin. Because it seems like the above comments are mixed. It's either "I hate this because she isn't pro-choice. Or, I am so glad that he chose her because she is a strong, dignified woman."

    Make your choice.

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. TK, Dallas, TX

    Maybe when she is critcized she can use the fact that she was picked by a pow to defelct any criticism

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Sharon Antes

    I cannot believe he chose her. I am so insulted. I never was going to vote for McCain but geez – what a joke and how dare he think just because women liked Hillary doesn't mean that we would vote for just any woman.....She needs to go back to her 5 children. And by the way, I have several friends that have children with down syndrome. They are making a big deal about her not having an abortion......Come on people. My friends didn't have an abortion either when they found out about their children – I don't think they are qualified for VP and neither is she!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Jacqueline

    This pick is insulting to the women he is trying to reach, Palin is very right wing and the women he is targeting are independents and disaffected dems.

    August 29, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. arnolde

    So Palin told Newsweek she couldn't support Hillary because Hillary was a whiner! And now that ticket expects to win over the Clinton supporters? LOL

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. Kevin-Seattle

    Transparent and Desperate pick.....McCain has demonstrated poor judgment. Pandering at your best!!

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. SomethingStinks

    I don't understand how anyone who supported Hillary can turn around and vote for McCain when they are on total OPPOSITE sides of the value pole. Makes no sense., You should have just voted for McCain in the first place, there is no way in hell u can agree with Hillary and McCain at the same time. Don't buy it !

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  20. P Kellar

    I cannot believe I just heard Bay Buchanan say that Gov. Pallin has a son going to Iraq so that qualifies her as knowing about foreign policy. What a hack! Does that qualify her to sit Down with Putin and discuss Georgia? I can hear it now, "No I am not a Diplomat, but I play one on TV". What is it about having a son in Iraq that qualifies one as having Foreign Policy experience? She has been "too busy" to pay much attention to Iraq, even though her son is going there? I don't get it, sadly, in a much bigger sense – neither does Gov. Pallin or John McCain! Please spare us from the drivel of commentaters like Bay !

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Johanna

    I don't understand why discussion of McCain's age is unacceptable. There undeniably a significant chance that a 72-year-old male will die or become unable to serve as President for 4 years. So the qualifications of his VP are more critical than anyone else's before. And he picked one of the least qualified VPs ever. I find that insulting that he chose his short-term political gains over the long-term potential implications for the entire country. No one can seriously argue that Palin is qualified to step up to be POTUS and a leader on the world stage. So I find this choice to be obviously political pandering, and insulting. I obviously take this election a lot more seriously than McCain does. Do you????

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. Dems are stuck in the fix they rigged

    Obama played safe....

    McCain was the maverick for change.

    How ironic is that!

    Biden is old, white, male and entrenched washington insider. The alleged reasons for NOT going with Hillary.

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. Jen

    He met her once??? HA HA HA HA

    August 29, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Sam

    I watched cnn everyday but today i notice one thing (No Bias No Bull)
    Are you kidding. I just witness bias and bull on the show when they were talking about senator Mc Cain Choice for VP
    The cnn reporter (Brown) was so upset and it seem that she was steaming.
    If she is an Obama supporter its a good thing but do not use the cnn platform. What i found disturbing was that she said the VP didn't have any experience neither does senator Obama and i will ask that before making a comment that she do some research to see what is the job of a senator and a Governor

    No Bias No Bull that is a joke.

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. David

    While some say Obama doesn't have the experience needed for the Whitehouse he has proven his readiness, he can mobilize the public, has great judgement, has the wisdom to know to surround himself with subject experts and has demonstrated great intellectual acuteness. Just as he has done his whole life he pulled himself up.

    Palin on the other hand was pulled up, she has not proven herself worthy of such an important post, made even more important by McCains age.

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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