Sen John McCain [feft], and his running mate during his 2008 presidential bid, Alaska governor Sara Palin
Arizona GOP Senator John McCain said Saturday he’s sorry he chose then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the presidential race he lost to Barack Obama.
In what is effectively his memoirs McCain muses that if he could do it over he would have picked former Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
For his part, former Democratic Senatot Lieberman offered that he hadn’t known McCain felt that way: “It touched me greatly,” he said.
Sen McCain and his daughter Meghan, seen in a photo at the family ranch in March, 2018 as the venerable senator battles brain cancer
Young vivacious Alaska governor, Palin started out strong as the first Republican woman selected as a vice presidential candidate. But she soon became a controversial figure. In one case, she denounced as “ridiculous” talk of the Republican National Committee’s $150,000 spending spree on clothing and accessories for the Palin family.
The RNC spent at least $150,000 on designer clothing, accessories and hair and makeup services for Palin after she became McCain’s running mate. The tally spent at luxury retailer included $75,062 spent at Neiman Marcus, $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue, $9,447 at Macy’s and $789 at Barneys New York.
Harder to explain were the goods bought for the larger Palin family such as the $4,902 spent at upscale men’s store Atelier and $92 at Pacifier, a Minneapolis baby boutique.
Gubernatorial candidate Sara Palin in 2006 [left], addressing GOP rally [right] during the presidential campaign 2008
The McCain-Palin campaign said some of the clothing was returned almost immediately because it was the wrong size. Furthermore, after the November election the RNC tried to retrieve all the items. The plan was to return them to the stores, else donate such items to charity.
The McCain campaign and Palin characterized the purchases as legitimate campaign expenses and said there was never any plan for Palin to keep the items.
“Those clothes, they are not my property,” she insisted.
“Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I’m not taking them with me,” she said.
McCain from his Hidden Valley Ranch in Arizona, the senator participated in a nearly two-hour HBO documentary and co-wrote what he acknowledges will be his last book, “The Restless Wave,” both of which are set to be released this month.
The film and the book, in which McCain, a calls for a brand of pro-free trade and pro-immigration Republicanism that, along with his calls for preserving the American-led international order, have grown out of fashion under President Trump.
McCain scorns Mr. Trump’s seeming admiration for autocrats and disdain for refugees, in the book: “He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes,” he writes of the preside believe that, by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, he shares the blame for unleashing the forces of grievance politics and nativism within the Republican Party.
Part of his reasoning then, he revealed was shaped by his advisers warning that picking a vice-presidential candidate who caucused with Democrats and supported abortion rights would divide Republicans and doom his chances.
“It was sound advice that I could reason for myself,” he writes. “But my gut told me to ignore it and I wish I had.”
He calls the decision not to pick Mr. Lieberman “another mistake that I made” in his political career, a self-indictment that includes his involvement in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal and his reluctance to speak out during his 2000 presidential bid about the Confederate battle flag flying above the South Carolina Capitol.
Mr. Lieberman said he didn’t know Mr. McCain felt that regret until he watched the film. “It touched me greatly,” he said.