2008 Republican Party vice presidential candidate selection

This article lists those who were potential candidates for the Republican nomination for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 election. On March 4, 2008, Senator John McCain of Arizona won the 2008 Republican nomination for President of the United States, and became the presumptive nominee.

2008 Republican vice presidential nomination
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  Sarah Palin by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Nominee Sarah Palin
Home state Alaska

Previous Vice Presidential nominee

Dick Cheney

Vice Presidential nominee

Paul Ryan

McCain held an event with Alaska governor Sarah Palin, revealing her as his vice-presidential running mate on August 29, 2008 (the date coinciding both with McCain's 72nd birthday and the Palins' 20th wedding anniversary[1][2]), at the Ervin J. Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, the day after Barack Obama's acceptance speech.[3] The McCain–Palin ticket ultimately lost in the general election to the ObamaBiden ticket. John McCain later in life came to regret the pick.[4]

Selection processEdit

Sarah Palin was the GOP choice for Vice President. At a speech in Norfolk, Virginia, McCain told supporters that regional considerations would have less bearing on his decision than the candidate's perceived ability to take over the office of the presidency–and the candidate's "values, principles, philosophy, and priorities."[5] One factor that McCain had to consider, more so than did his opponent, was age. Had McCain won in 2008, he would have (on January 20, 2009) been the oldest person to assume the Presidency in U.S. history at initial ascension to office, being 72 years old. Other factors to be considered were shoring up the conservative base, choosing someone with executive experience, expertise in domestic policy (to complement McCain's foreign policy focus), and electoral college calculations.[6]

McCain initially wished to choose Lieberman, his close friend and the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, as his running mate; however, Lieberman's liberal record (voting with Democrats 86.9% of the time in the 110th Congress)[7] and pro-choice stance led McCain's aides to veto the choice. Close aide Mark Salter preferred Pawlenty, while the campaign manager Steve Schmidt preferred Palin. By picking Palin, Schmidt argued, McCain could snatch the "change" mantle away from Obama.[8] McCain, rejecting 'safer' choices such as Pawlenty or Romney, instead chose Palin as his running mate.


Media speculation on John McCain's possible running-matesEdit

After his selection by Republican primary voters as presumptive presidential nominee, news sources and political pundits began to speculate on whom McCain would or should choose, based on the candidates' ability to enhance the Republican ticket, personality (ability to work well with McCain), and preparedness for assuming the office of the presidency. The Associated Press reported that McCain had composed a list of 20 or so potential running mates.[9] Over two dozen names had been offered as viable potential running mates by the Kansas City Star,[10] the Salt Lake Tribune,[11] the New York Sun,[12] the Indianapolis Star,[13] the Saint Louis Post Dispatch,[14] the Times of India,[15] and The Globe and Mail.[16] This list includes both names that had been mentioned in several sources and some much less likely candidates:

Members of CongressEdit


Federal executive branch officialsEdit

Other individualsEdit

Declined interestEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Lieberman became an Independent in 2006.


  1. ^ "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is John McCain's VP choice". New York Daily News. August 29, 2008. Archived from the original on December 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "Longview Palin family proudly hears news that relative is McCain's pick for V.P." The Daily News. August 29, 2008. Archived from the original on December 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Mooney, Alexander; Bash, Dana; King, John (2008-08-28). "McCain settled on VP pick, sources say". CNN. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  4. ^ "McCain regrets picking Sarah Palin. Now he tells us".
  5. ^ Bosman, Juilie; Jeff Zeleny (2008-02-09). "Dems stump hard, McCain talks running mate". San Francisco Chronicle.
  6. ^ Hillyer, Quin (2008-02-14). "Who Wants to Be a Vice President?". The American Spectator. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  7. ^ "The U.S. Congress Votes Database". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  8. ^ Evan Thomas (2008-11-06). "Campaign 2008 Secrets: McCain Gambles on Palin". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 9 November 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  9. ^ McCain Easing Into Role of GOP Leader
  10. ^ "Who should be McCain's running mate?". Kansas City Star. 2008-02-13. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  11. ^ Burr, Thomas; Matt Canham (2008-03-02). "Could dogged devotion earn guv a VP spot?". Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  12. ^ Geraghty, Jim (2006-12-06). "McCain Hints Minn. Governor May Be His Running Mate". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  13. ^ "Pence suggested as McCain running mate". Indianapolis Star. Associated Press. 2008-02-11. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  14. ^ Mannies, Jo (2008-02-12). "Blunt in running as McCain's running mate?". STLtoday. Saint Louis Post Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  15. ^ "Jindal can be McCain's running mate?". The Times of India. 2008-02-10. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  16. ^ Agrell, Siri (2008-02-14). "Age and identity politics likely to influence choice of running mate". Toronto: CTVGlobeMedia. Retrieved 2008-02-15.