September 8th, 2010
09:39 AM ET
10 years ago

Palin pick 'panicked' Meghan McCain, made her cry

Sarah Palin on the campaign trail with the McCain family in 2008.

Sarah Palin on the campaign trail with the McCain family in 2008.

(CNN) – Her father's surprise pick of Sarah Palin to be his running mate so shocked Meghan McCain that she became hysterical and "panicked," the Arizona senator's daughter told Jay Leno Wednesday.

"I found out an hour before I went on stage with her. I think they were scared I would say something or whatever. Like the rest of the country, I had no idea who she was and I was actually crying on the bus on the way to the rally," said McCain, who is promoting her new book, "Dirty, Sexy, Politics."

"And then I found out who she was, and I remember being on stage and distinctly thinking, 'God, let her not have any skeletons in the closet. Please God.' And if you see any video footage of it, I looked panicked," she added. "I was scared, just really scared. I didn't know her. "

McCain has not been shy to express her rocky relationship with the vice presidential candidate, whom she has since described as a "time bomb" in her new book.

"It was just one thing after another," she told Leno. "In politics it's about knowing what's going to come at you and I really didn't know anything."

In her book – released late last month – McCain also takes aim at how campaign manager Steve Schmidt went about picking Palin.

"How the Palin selection process and announcement had been handled seemed to highlight things that were innately wrong with our campaign and with the tactics of Steve Schmidt, she wrote. "It was a risky move-one of those things that can wind up being genius or the stupidest decision of all time."

Schmidt and Palin had a now-famous contentious relationship, capped off late last year when the former Alaska governor repeatedly questioned his competence in her autobiography. For his part, Schmidt has said Palin would prove "catastrophic" to the GOP if she was the nominee in 2012.

Meanwhile, when it comes to whether McCain would support a potential Palin presidential bid in 2012, she said her heart actually belongs to another likely White House hopeful.

"I am so sick of this us-versus-them mentality," she said. "I just want a candidate that's going to stop being us versus them.   So right now I am team Romney."

Her comments came shortly before the release of a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showing more 52 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of the former Alaska Republican while 38 percent have a positive view.

Filed under: Meghan McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Matthew in Pittsburgh

    Why should anybody care what Meghan McCain thinks about anything? She's just an ordinary, unimportant girl whose father happens to be a senator.

    Why should anybody care about what Sarah Palin does? She's a normal, apparently decent human being who happened to be thrust into the spotlight way above her skill and ability level.

    Just ignore them both!

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. TruthHurts

    Don't worry, we were all scared. She is the reason McCain lost.

    September 8, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Dave

    One air head complaining about another to hype her book sales. I expect this from the National Enquirer, not CNN

    September 8, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Meka

    Megan McCain, called it right. John McCain should have been so smart!

    September 8, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. JFK

    And now we know who Palin is... the horror story that wont quit!

    September 8, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Mark

    I think a lot of republicans were crying that day. But they really should have been crying back in 2000 when McCain lost the GOP nomination to George W.

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Bill from GA

    She cried??

    I laughed.

    I thought it was a big joke.

    Then I realized, Who the hell would want to be the president stuck with this mess? What better way to throw an election than to pick an idiot like Palin for a running mate.

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Darth Vadik, CA

    This title is misleading, as usual. Meghan was just worried for her dd, and this had nothing to do with Sarah. The dislike of Sarah came later after Meghan got to know her...

    Good for Meghan

    September 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Yahbut

    Unfortunately, Meghan McCain sounds like a silly little girl.
    She should have been around politics enough by now not to react that way and, if she were going to react that way she should know enough just to keep her mouth shut.

    September 8, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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