McCain picks Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, for veep

August 29, 2008

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain picked social conservative Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

rtr21tet.jpgPalin, not particularly well-known nationally, was previously a small-town mayor who beat the Alaska incumbent governor Frank Murkowski in the state’s Republican primary in 2006 and went on to win in the general election.

The 44-year-old one-term governor is an opponent of abortion rights, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and a fiscal conservative — not to mention an avid sportswoman and a beauty pageant winner.

While some social conservatives have been skeptical about McCain as the Republican nominee, will his choice of Palin help win them over? Will the selection of a woman draw some disaffected supporters of Hillary Clinton who were disappointed she was not on the Democratic ticket? Did McCain successfully prevent a bounce for his opponent Barack Obama, who wrapped up his nominating convention on Thursday evening?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Matt Sullivan (Palin appears for the first time as the Republican vice presidential running mate with McCain.)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I quite agree with jvill.

She has a personnell scandal investigation lingering and …

… can u really see her coming from a little Alaskan village to VP in the White House?

Why McCain did not do a background check on her? Are any other clean picks around?

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

Re:McCain & Palin Ticket
You can’t dress the emperor up in new clothes because beneath the ground he has buried an old bone.

Sarah Palin indeed is just the canditate for any political ticket. She is ripe with the vigor and enthusiasm needed to repair an ailing nation. She has honed her intelligence and integrity mixed with social values to already prove a track record of experience and merit. But to drape her badge of honour like a pin of mutual agreement on John Mccain is insincere.

John Mccain is a relic of a past age of politics whose time has come to stand aside and let the people of United States of America lead with their convictions to elect Barak Obama as the next president to lead the country.

When the people speak and their voice is counted there will be a new hope birthed into America. The change created by a dream begins with a thought in the heart that can imagine creation. You as a Nation are about to deliver a new tomorrow with President Barak Obama.
Mary Robertson
Vancouver BC

Posted by Mary Robertson | Report as abusive

The choice of Sarah Palin as the McCain running mate is a weak attempt to secure both Hillary supporters, and social conservatives, in one swoop.

I believe that the social conservatives may take the bait. McCain’s problem is that Sarah Palin is NOT Hillary Clinton; her inexperience and her corruption probe will make her more of a liability than a ticket to the Oval Office.

Posted by Badgerbay | Report as abusive

I’m not a fan of McCain, but given the libs’ responses to the announcement posted here, I’d say McCain hit a home run in the naming of Sarah Palin. It’s clear–they fear the HOCKEY MOM!

Posted by zeb | Report as abusive

She’s been on the short list for MONTHS to those who have bothered to pay attention … she’s at least as experienced as Obama, in touch and relatable – not some Harvard intellectual, AWESOME PICK!

Posted by sb | Report as abusive

This seems to be an attempt by McCain to steal some of Obama’s ‘progressive’ sheen, and possibly even to court the youth vote (the vast majority of which seems to be swinging in Obama’s favour). Palin is a bold choice on many levels. There was some bitterness that a man was nominated over a woman who, for a long time, looked as though she would receive a coronation. Perhaps McCain is capitalising on this underlying sentiment, though after the bridges mended at the Democratic conference this week it may be too late for that. I have a feeling that Palin might give McCain’s campaign the ‘X Factor’ that it was severely lacking in comparison to his opponant. Shrewdly, he’s also back to being the underdog (seemingly a position of strength in this election) by choosing someone so utterly untested in international politics as his running mate. It’s a gamble, but perhaps not as risky as some may think! Though of course I could be wrong and it might just be a very cynical move to grab estranged Hilary voters after all.

Why do you all have to be aggressive with one another? Both the leading candidates are, in their own way, remarkable men who want change in Washington. Win win for all of you Americans I’d say– better than the stultifying choice we Brits face at our next election!

Posted by Mike M | Report as abusive

I really don’t know much about Palin, but I’ve read good and bad things about her so far.

I don’t really understand comments like this, “A thinly veiled attempt attempt to energize his campaign that isn’t going to work. McCain just threw his biggest argument against Obama out the window.”

If you’re trying to compare Palin’s inexperience with Obama’s inexperience, Palin’s not running for President.

Hopefully, given a choice of electing a President with more experience and a VP with less experience as opposed to a President with less experience and a VP with more experience, one would choose a President with more experience. Or were you just thinking that inexperience was inexperience and it didn’t matter if it was the President or VP? (scratches head)

Ther person in the number 1 seat needs to have the more experience.

Posted by MajorTom | Report as abusive

Wow! A beauty contest winner AND a member of the NRA!

Sounds like someone who would be fun to date for a few months.

Don’t think that qualifies her to run the most powerful country on earth!

Posted by Badgerbay | Report as abusive

Have any of you seen the movie pursuit of happiness?

well if you did you will realize that happiness is not an american dream, but the pursuit is. That in mind democracts want you to believe they can give you happiness and thats not life people.

Posted by stacy | Report as abusive

Alaska is corrupt. Alaska is absolutely corrupt. Alaska is owned and ruthlessly controlled by the same oil companies that employ Palin’s husband and rape you when you buy gasoline .

Palin fired the Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety in retaliation for his refusal to fire her ex brother-in-law (an Alaska State trooper).

The high-water mark of Republican sleaze may yet rise as high as the flood stains on a New Orleans whore house.


Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

So umm biden was change? Really that guy is oldschool politian hes not for change he’s the same biden as last year and 10 years ago.

Posted by stacy | Report as abusive

Wasilla, the town in which Palin was once mayor, is a small sleepy town and nothing worth writing home about. How can someone with such little experience bring anything to the table for McCain?

Posted by Bryan L. | Report as abusive

Sarah who?

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive

McCain/Palin: The Ticket That Rocks!

This could very well be a knockout blow for Obama. Already in trouble with female voters and losing ground in key states has spelled trouble. A marginal or safe pick on the part of McCain for VP would have made the race close. However, this is a clear victory for McCain. She’s popular with right leaning groups that have concerns about McCain and she also brings voter segments along for the ride.

Say goodnight Obama!

Congrats Obama……… continue to be JFKlike and you will make this country great once again……..

Shame on you McCain…… 72 years old and throwing that selection out there…… shame on you!! That is a slap in the face to EVERY citizen of this country for your pathetic gimmicktry!!!!!

Anyone remember the Mondale/Ferraro disaster? This looks to be another such losing combination, but this time with a red tint instead of blue. They’ll win more than one state, to be sure, but hardly enough to overcome the democrats. I’ll bet even some of the “safe” southern states are now at risk!

Posted by Chuck from California | Report as abusive

This was a hail mary pass. And it certainly isn’t good decision making for the American people, even if it might help him getting elected. This is awful governing in my view.

She has no real experience on the global stage, far less so than you can say of Obama. Nor I bet in well established relationships with her party’s power brokers. She doesn’t know her way around Washington, which like it or not is needed to get things done. Washington is a world of lobbying sharks and compromise to get sufficient votes in Congress for anything to get done.

The Neilson ratings story is only part of how many watched Obama accept his nomination. Add in people who watched online, on Cspan, on PBS and in the re-runs available, and compare them to audience for McCain and you will see the true state of affairs in this election.

-a lady democrat leaning toward voting republican this shoved me back to the democratic party.

Posted by Elaine Southard | Report as abusive

I love all the Liberals who flatter themselves with the notion McCain chose Palin to capture Hillary voters. While I’m sure thats an added bonus try to think beyond what the media wants you talking about today and consider for a moment John McCains relationship with his party going into this race.

McCain has moved greatly toward the middle on many important conservative issues in recent years and has put many conservatives off for that. There are numerous Conservative Republicans who denounced him when it became clear he would be the top runner and at the same time they announced they’d be staying home on election day because they couldn’t support him. Choosing a VP who gets What American Conservatives are hungry for and gets them to the booth 11/4 makes her an excellent choice to win back disgruntled conservatives and the recent polls show McCain/Obama with a 2% to 3% spread which is crazy close. It’s clear to me by the Democrat/Liberal responses seen here today are of rage and panic because finally for the first time,they realize Bon Jovi may actually have to fight to win this race.

The icing on the cake for me personally will be when the debates begin and the hard questions are asked. I’m stocking up on popcorn and diet sodas in anticipation.

Posted by Janet Johsnon | Report as abusive

This is just like failed Harriet Miers appointment to the Supreme Court. Repubs are picking a person without the experience for the job, but because she’s a woman and born again, they think we’ll just accept her. Miers was wrong for the Supreme Court, and Palin is wrong for VP. Does the party think that we’re not smart enough to want the best person for the job? Palin is the best they could get? Give me a break.

Posted by bb | Report as abusive

you guys know where this is going right? the republicans will use the christian right again like the did last election. pro-life and pro-choice argument is going to be what the republicans will try to push. this will galvanize the christian conservative. palin is pro life and carried a baby with down syndrome to full term. watch her speech at the republican national convention. this fight is far from over if they get the conservatives heated enough.

Posted by MO | Report as abusive

Obama is not heavy on experience but at least he was educated at a decent school (Columbia) and got a degree in POLITICAL SCIENCE. He also has some legislative experience in the his state Senate and the US Senate.
He is likely to be able to handle the Presidency.
Palin went to a pathetic school and her degree is in JOURNALISM… she is very qualified to be a weather girl… but President!!!??? Governor of Alaska is a joke job… hell even Jesse Ventura was a Governor of a bigger state (more than 5 times larger population).

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

Everyone is so touchy here!! Let’s face it, no matter which of these clown teams win, the country will lose! We have a choice between an over the hill, out of touch, flip-flopping, Alzheimer old fart or a man with numerous hidden agendas, an empty suit golden boy!
With these non-choices, we are doomed! Kind of like the choice of death by hanging or death by firing squad. Either way, the results are the same!

Posted by Victoria | Report as abusive

Quite the gamble John Mccain is taking for the election. I can only imagine the kind of gambles he will be taking with Americas foreign policy once he is president.

Totally unacceptable.

Posted by natheya | Report as abusive

Obama is not heavy on experience but at least he was educated at a decent school (Columbia) and got a degree in POLITICAL SCIENCE. And then he went on to get a law degree. Since governing is all about the LAW that is an excellent background. He also has some legislative experience in the his state Senate and the US Senate.
He is likely to be able to handle the Presidency.
Palin went to a pathetic school and her degree is in JOURNALISM… she is very qualified to be a weather girl… but President!!!??? Governor of Alaska is a joke job… hell even Jesse Ventura was a Governor of a bigger state (more than 5 times larger population).

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

Well, they’ve locked in those 3 electoral votes from Alaska, that’s for sure. But wait … Alaska always votes Republican! Darn it – shoulda picked a beauty queen from Ohio!!

Posted by Chuck from California | Report as abusive

Thank God we now have two people we can trust to run our Country.John I believe God touched your Heart and mind which guided you to the choice you made.although you had some great Americans to choose from We/You needed someone that will help you beat Obama and I believe Shrah can do it with you.Joe is looking forward to debating Sarah.Well let him run his mouth and when he stops just read from his speech just a few days before he was ask to run with Obama>>>> “Obama is not ready to run our country”.That came from Joe’s mouth..Another thing,I want to thank you for all that you have done for our Country.You suffered so.
Obama’s Camp made remarks about you useing that to win.As tragic as it was.The Auto accident His Wife was in that took their lives was very sad and I am so sorry that He had to go through that however,How many times has that been reported by Obamas Camp….I Pray that God will be with Sarah’s Son and My Grandson that is also leaving in go to Iraq.
May God Bless you both…Mary

McSame may has well have thrown in the towel with this bonehead pick. Once the media gets through dragging her through the mud for her improprieties as governor of podunk alaska, Barak Obama and Joe Biden will win by a landslide.
Thank You for living down to the GOP’s lowest expectations McSame!!

Posted by BillG | Report as abusive

Palin is anti-choice, a lifetime member of the NRA, does not believe humans are causing global warming, favors drilling for oil in ANWR and teaching creationism in schools. Her political experience is small-town mayor and governor of a thinly populated state. McCain is 72 years old. Do we want this unknown right-wing extremist in the world’s most powerful position?

Posted by Carol Marsh | Report as abusive

The issue at the end of the day for Christian conservatives, is the issue of Justice as the Bible clearly mandate Christian to stand up against injustice: bibleandjustice.htm

And the biggest injustice to the CHristians is Abortion.

Posted by Susan Yekinni | Report as abusive

As a military member residing in Alaska with a child old enough to enter kindergarten in most states and a wife whom has worked in education for the state of Alaska, Sarah Palin is not the candidate you wish to support if education is high on your list of priorities. Schools in her state (specifically the Fairbanks area, interior Alaska) are not in accordance with the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001 signed into law by President Bush. They lack Special Education teachers and tutors for special needs students and students behind the learning curve on the suggested curriculum. Alaska does not fund its schools using state taxes. Rather, it uses federal income tax to fund its schools. Alaska schools refuse to become Title I schools. Title I schools are those schools required under the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001 to provide supplemental instruction to students that are special needs or falling behind in their curriculum. The state of Alaska, under Governor Palin, has cut the aforementioned programs that the federal money was intended to provide for by labeling these students other than special needs in the areas stated and not classifying as Title I. In doing so the State of Alaska, under Governor Palin, deceptively has accepted federal money for services not rendered, while continuing the permanent dividend fund. She is quite a reformer indeed. This is quite a disturbing revelation considered she has mothered a special needs child.

Posted by Scot | Report as abusive

From what i have learnt of Sara Palin so far, i’m not impressed. She used her position as the Governor to settle a personal score (getting a state official fired). One can only imagime what she would do with the power of the vice presidency. Also having a baby at an age when the risk of Down’s Syndrome is significantly high seems cruel to me, but thats just my opinion.

Posted by ken | Report as abusive

As a Republican for 35 years,I was deeply disappointed in the selection of Palin as McCain’s VP. I personally look at whether I agree with the overall values a Party represents, the resume/experience/maturity level(Presidential feel) of a candidate for office, and his/her character and integrity over the course of a career as I make a decision of whom to vote for. Unlike others, I do not vote for someone based merely on gender or color–I analyze the above factors. I actually agree with some major ideologic ideas from both Democrats and Republicans, but have been a Republican because as a business owner, overall I desire limited government and taxes with fiscal responsibility. Also, even though a registered Republican,I will vote for another Party’s candidate based on the above factors outlined as I voted for Al Gore in the last election.
McCain’s choice of VP was especially critical to me because of his age so I intended to look at his VP choice more closely–a factor the Democrats are always using against him. He clearly has more experience than Obama and that was his strong factor with me. Yet, now he has selected someone who has a high statistical chance of stepping into his shoes because of his age, who I believe clearly does not have the experience or qualifications to be President of the United States of America at this point in her career. Obama lacked experience and he was smart to pick a VP to counteract his weakness, even though chances are slim he will die in office. McCain should have done the same–two candidates with extraordinary experience, integrity, and qualifications (male or female of any color) were key to winning the election over Obama–especially due to his age and since he is the underdog. McCain picked his VP strictly based on the gender factor and because she is VERY conservative in order to pick up votes. I believe this is a big mistake which will backfire, & McCain will lose voters on the fence or cross-overs like me that do not want too far right or left. I cannot vote for any ticket with her on it because it is unfathomable to me that she could be our President–which is much more likely to happen as McCain’s VP. I also find it odd that he has only met her once or twice. This confirms to me that rather than thinking of the possible consequences of his selection or analzing who is the better candidate for VP, he merely picked someone who he thought would pick up the women voters and evangelicals who don’t like him. Now I question his judgment.
Unfortunately, John McCain just lost my vote, along with 3 other Republican votes in our household.

Posted by SusanBarrett | Report as abusive

Why did John McCain have such a hard time trying to figure out who to pick as his vice president? The biggest reason that he picked Mrs. Palin was because he thinks that this woman gives him a chance to capture the Hillary Clinton woman voters who were so mad and threatening after it was clear that with no matter of pressure they going to get their wish. But so many of the dynamics are not in place in this case. It really is a completely different situation. If John McCain starts realizing that he made a wrong choice, he may start to lose his Cheshire Cat grin.

Posted by Evelyn H | Report as abusive

I hear alot about Sarah Palin not having enough experience to govern because she is from a small state and cant be commader-in cheif. I have witnessed the Alaska State National Guard Striker battalion, that she is commander in cheif of, here in Iraq quell the extreme voilence in norther Iraq, Mosul in 2006. Before they came to Mosul the base experienced 5-10 morter attacks a week minimum. Shortly after they arrived attacks plunged to only 12 in 6 month while I was there. Then the ALASKA Guard Strickers were sent to Baghdad as Violence was spiraling out of control in early 2007. Their tour extended to 15 months, Allowed General Petraeus’s surge forces to gain the upper hand on the extemist killers that were slaughtering Iraqis by the thousand. The Alaska National Guard Striker Battalion, as a battle harden and proven Defender of Freedom, believes that she is ready to be commader in cheif if called upon!!
Also since Alaska is also the Largest State of our Union with the greatest Natural resource of any State in the union. She has fought to protect from the corruption of excesses. That is why she ran for governor!! And she suceeded. She has a Degree in Jornalism! She has Exectutive Experience. ( OBAMA OR BIDEN HAS NONE) Alaska Has a balanced Budget that Sarah Palin has presided over. (OBAMAS AND BIDEN VOTING RECORD IN THE SENETE HAS ONLY INCREASED THE NATIONAL DEBT OF OUR COUNTRY). Sarah Palin has Military Commader in Chief Experience (OBAMA AND BIDEN DO NOT) What am I missing here? As Far as Forgein Policy. She will have compassion, and empathy for our allies abroad. But make no mistake Russia,Iran and any enemy that would attack the U.S. or our allies. As the news cast have shown Sarah Palin with the M16. She will and knows how to pull the trigger!!

Posted by Ron in Iraq | Report as abusive

I’m amazed at the number of posters who believe McCain chose Palin to pick up Hillary’s disgruntled women’s votes. McCain chose Palin for a whole host of reasons, but mainly because Palin has a reputation of being a Maverick herself. She’s superior on ethics and reform, on energy, on negotiating (including with Canada), and in character and integrity. Palin has an 80+% approval rating as the Governor of Alaska; she is obviously doing a great job representing and fighting for her constituents, regardless of the population number.

With any luck, Palin can look into Nancy Pelosi’s hard opposition to drilling and Pelosi’s investment with T.Boone Pickens. Seems to me to be a conflict of interest on Pelosi’s part.

Palin would be great for a Washington, D.C. thorough house-cleaning: That’s the CHANGE we NEED.

Posted by Brickhouse | Report as abusive

Whow, call a spade a spade; our country is getting played with the venom illustrated in our society with money, power, and greed which “clearly” motivated McSame’ VP appointment;

And the GOP is doing whatever it takes to stay in power and is not in the best interest of the America voters;

Why is it that McCain’s spouse transferring 48% of the American beer market oversea in now in the news? When the on spin Obama associations with others opposed to for example of McCain losing sight of how many homes they own as husband and wife? Money, Power and Greed!

The GOP strategy is clear- keep the negative venom (for as race and the femine movement in this election process) and the American people will not focus 90% of what is real and what is not, in their choice for the best candidate for the job.

McSame really needs a check up for the neck up!

Why is it that, the news media is sheltering the fact that the Russian leader, Putin, advised the Americans to look at their presidential candidates or powers to be involuted the current conditions in Georgia for political gain.

McSame was the first one to put focus on this current condition in Georgia!

McSame, not the American people, not this time! Hell no to the GOP strategy and the disillusion that says that you are the most qualified to be commander-in-chief. This is including your “beauty queen” VP pick.

Wake up America or live with being a joke of the world as “superpower!” and the country settling for four more years of the same strategy being delivered by McSame and the GOP- that have had our country in turmoil for the past eight years.

America, it not about the GOP or the DEM -It is about you! Call a spade a spade and live with four more years of McSame-

Posted by Emmett | Report as abusive

Dead on, Brickhouse!

Posted by Z T | Report as abusive

Thank God for Sarah Palin and the bloggers! Gov Palin has not been in the Senate since 1973 like Biden. There is good news!

Posted by Kate Svagdis | Report as abusive

hey, listen to Sarah Palin in her own words in this NewsWeek Video that was done back in March 2008! Its very telling!

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Palin wants creationism taught in schools. I think this quote says it best… “I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.”
Arthur C. Clarke

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive