April 18th, 2009
09:28 AM ET
14 years ago

Palin as VP pick: 'high risk, high reward'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.mccain.palin.flag.gi.jpg caption="A.B. Culvahouse said Palin would have 'made a great vice president.'"]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A.B. Culvahouse, the attorney tasked with leading the vetting process for Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, said Friday that he thoroughly scrutinized Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and said that he "came away impressed."

McCain's vetting process came under scrutiny after numerous surprises about Palin popped up in the weeks after she was tapped as his vice presidential pick. Culvahouse said he and his team of 30 lawyers knew everything, including the fact that her teenage daughter was pregnant. He suggested that the campaign staff that talked to the media may not have been fully informed, which "led to the impression that those issues had been withheld."

"Gov. Palin told us everything. Everything except the pregnancy of her daughter was on a response to the written questionnaire," Culvahouse said Friday at a Republican National Lawyers Association National Policy Conference. "She told me there was one issue she wanted to talk about when we went in for the interview. We knew everything going in."

Culvahouse said they started with 26 candidates who didn't know they were under consideration. Once the list was narrowed down to six, each person was given a survey with 74 questions, which he said included specific questions, like "have you ever been unfaithful," but not "what the meaning of is, is."

"Me and two of my most cynical partners interviewed her and we came away impressed," Culvahouse said of his interview with Palin. "I think she would've made a great vice president."

He said he gave her three "leading" questions, asking if she was prepared to use nuclear weapons, why she wanted to be vice president, and if the CIA located Osama bin Laden, but shooting him would result in civilian casualties, what would she do. Culvahouse said she "knocked those three questions out of the park."

Culvahouse said McCain was the "decider," but that he was not allowed to pick anyone that had not been vetted. But when McCain asked him for the "bottom line" on Palin, Culvahouse said the Republican nominee liked the "risk" involved.

"I said, John, high risk, high reward," Culvahouse said. "His response, you shouldn't have told me that. I've been a risk-taker all my life."

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. ron, NYC

    High Risk, High Reward? Sounds like the same mantra that was used on Wall Street.

    April 18, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Arack Bobama

    McCain was a desperately poor candidate and was already stale toast before he brought Palin in. Then his crowds of 300 grew to 20,000. Don't try and suggest that she was anything but a godsend to him. Obviously McCain had sunk his own boat better than the Titanic, but she at least revived it to a respectable level. Ticker and Soros are now trying to destroy her, as with every conservative candidate, on a daily basis. Won't work.

    April 18, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Seriously

    ...and this is exactly how they lost. Morons.

    April 18, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. dittohead using forty names

    And to think many of the people posting here are as smart or if not smarter than Palin and could become Presidential material is what scares most Americans.

    April 18, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. J-S-U-99

    I see she made a very good impression on these people in order for them to pick her to run for VP. I know for a fact that there are alot of GOP WOMEN who was more than ready to be VP and they pick Palin what a joke. I guess it dont take alot ot impress ayone who work for John McCain now he is looking in the mirror calling himself a fool for picking this lady.


    April 18, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    Sarah Palin = Irrelevant then, irrelevant now, irrelevant tomorrow! That about sums her up in a nutshell.

    April 18, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. mk

    Yeah I mean, its only the leadership of the United States why not "risk" it with a woman who is so ill prepared to be the leader of anything she can't keep her own family out of chaos.
    Why or why do the Republican STILL THINK WE ARE ALL AS DUMB AS THEY ARE. Is this some weird disease they have or what???

    April 18, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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