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. -pat

    Sarah Palin insinuated that she's ready to continue on in Hillary's shoes... how insulting. She's not even fit to walk in Hillary's shadow. Maybe McCain thought that by picking Pulin as his VP he could change his name to McGain – stealing undecided votes which were originally intended for Hillary. Palin is light-years away from earning these votes. And what an insult to Hillary, as well, a blow to her directly, demeaning all she stands and has worked for. McCain named Palin for personal victory, not because Palin is qualified – being another blow, and this one to Palin herself. He doesn’t even know her, met her only once! Wake up America!

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. me

    The democrats doth protest too much, methinks!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Elisabeth in Nashville

    As a woman, I'm insulted by insinuations that females who have staunchly supported Hillary Clinton will suddenly experience changes of heart simply because Governor Palin is also a woman. While I wish Gov. Palin nothing but the best, McCain's choice reeks of gimmick, making me more confident than ever in my first choice: Barack Obama.

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Obama-Biden08

    I beat she can make a mean mooseburger for McLoser!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Judy

    I'm really feeling that the news media at CNN was really shaken up with John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin. You all are really trying to only say negative things about her, about the selecting process, and are obviously upset that McCain pulled a real surprise.

    Why don't you wait until you know more about her and her ideas and policies before you try to bury her?

    It just shows how much CNN is for Obama and is afraid that this news will work against him.

    Try to be fair...........

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. jim

    this is hilarious....women are not dumb they are not going to vote just because she is a women....they wanted hillary because she was strong and agreed with her values.....palin is a drilling....her husband is a oil man!!! hillary supporters should be insulted

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

    Hillary supporter. Obama and company treated her like dirt. Won't vote for him under any circumstance. Considering McCain. Then he announced his VP pick. Will now for sure vote for McCain/Palin. Ain't that simple???

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Ralph

    Well, well..If you voted for Hillary just because she was a woman, here you go. I voted for Hillary because she was the best, not because she was a woman. I will need to learn more about Sarah before I decide to vote for McCain, or stick with my write in for Hillary. Obama is too much Pomp and Circumstance, all that glitters is not gold. At least an inexperienced person will be a heartbeat away and not the nominee.

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Bonnie

    I'm a Hillary supporter who was still on the fence – until this morning. If Senator McCain thinks Gov. Palin is a substitute for Hillary, he's delusional. I'm now solidly in the Obama camp . . . if you vote for the McCain ticket, you can kiss Roe v Wade goodbye and the Supreme Court . . . I can't even imagine what it will look like. I'm just amazed that Sen. McCain thinks we (Hillary voters) are so ignorant we don't look at issues. Angry and energized!

    August 29, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. ck


    08 &12

    August 29, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Bobby from MS

    who cares he only met her once. She is still more qualified as a VP pick than Obama is as the President pick

    MCCAIN/PALIN 08!!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. American for America

    Wow, look at all the bots running scared! This lady has more experience and leadership than their PRESIDENTIAL nominee!!!! She has actually RUN a state. It just shows again what a slap in the face Obama gave Hillary.

    How can any feminist feel insulted? This is historic. I voted for Hillary but the pro-Obama DNC slapped her down – now you want to reward them?

    Make some sense, please.

    August 29, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. rhonda

    as a democrat I am down right giddy that any doubt in my mind is now gone. McCain's vp decision is absolute pandering to women and transparent to the point of being amaturist by his advisors. Does anyone really think that diehard Hillary supporters will support an anti-choice candidate no matter the gender? I highly doubt it as it would be a slap in her face. If I were Obama I'd call and thank Mccain!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. Bob R

    I ask the question is the left wing media really being fair to Sarah Palin? I suggest not. How many can sincerely and truly believe that Obama won't capture many to vote for him merely because of his skin colour ? No one im sure. Many would even defend the concept saying there are times perhaps in a a nation where certain types of individuals need to come forth ? So if its alright for many democrats to feel it alright to want to see a black man brought into office yes even because of his skin colour why then can it not be argued that bringing in a female on a ticket can't be for the same reasons of a nation showing progression ?

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. JT

    Of course Sarah Palin is popular in Alaska. Alaska benefitted from skyrocketing oil prices over the last two years when she was Governor. While we were suffering at the pump, Alaska's government was flush with cash from oil royalties.

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Jeffrey

    Doesn't sound like he gave this much thought....

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. American born Canuck

    People! Wake up and talk about THE ISSUES!! Race, gender and experience aside, Obama presents a far better plan *on the issues* than McCain.

    As an aside, I have to say that when I first saw the news, it worried me, but the more I see how shallow the decision was, the less I worry.

    Let the debates *ON THE ISSUES* begin!!!

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I believe this was a brilliant move for McCain. There are numerous voters still undecided and this gives them another reason to consider McCain. Of course people will scrutinize Palin's experience but if you look at her history she just may surprise everyone.
    In the long run you will see more interest from the female voters and from those more comfortable with a female VP than President.

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. P Gandhi

    I am a female voter who respected Hillary Clinton tremendously for attempting to run for the top ticket. The sad thing for me to watch is Sarah Palin being "used" – literally used by the Republicans. She may be a maverick but I am sure she is also half way intelligent to know that she had zero qualifications to lead as VP leave alone if she had to step into the President's shoes. She exemplifies to me the type of woman who would not mind getting used so long as she got some fame – and that is NOT a good example for women to see. We need to see women who are mavericks but also intelligent enough to know when to say "No, I don't care that you are losing your chance at winning – I will not be the one you will use to turn around your campaign because I will not be effective – I have no experience. I have no capabilities today to lead this nation which needs economic expertise, foreign experience...."

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Paula

    I am an independent and am completely disgusted by McCain's decision. It is obvious that he only picked Sarah because she is a woman and he's trying to attract other women voters. He chose her not because she is the best choice to help lead the country, but because in his mind this will make him win. I read she is has no experience in economics or foreign policy. This is insane!

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. Sexist Democrats again

    It was done to Hillary, now it will be tried on Palin.

    But, it will be different now.

    former Hillary supporter for McCain-Palin.

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. Levar Patterson

    If we are dumb enough to elect McCain/Palin then I am moving to Mexico because I see NUKES coming our way and I hope they wipe out all the idiots that voted for this ticket!

    August 29, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. John Smith

    CNN needs to fire Campbell Brown. She is rude and totally biased against Palin. I wasnt going to vot for McCain but now I am. Gov Palin is a great pick. If she is one heartbeat from being the commander in chief the what is Obama? Which one is more scary??

    August 29, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Hillary supporter for Barney Smith

    Palin? What is that some sort of sick joke? Buzz off McLame

    August 29, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Big D

    The more that I think about McCain's choice of Palin, the more insulted I feel. She sounds like a sharp and capable person, but she is clearly not ready to move up to the world stage. And the main criteria of the VP is to be ready to become POTUS, with all of the world leadership considerations that come with that. So I can only conclude that McCain is more concerned about winning his election than he is about the future leadership of our country. So I'm insulted that he didn't take his VP selection more seriously (he's only met her once?!) His VP has a higher chance of becoming POTUS than most others have, and the challenges facing us are serious. So why didn't he take this choice more seriously? I take the election of my leaders seriously, but it seems that McCain is only concerned with trumping his opponent for a short-term gain.

    August 29, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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