The Person Who Vetted John McCain’s VP Choices: “What I Learned”
A. B. Culvahouse discusses the process.
The vetting of Sarah Palin was no less rigorous, just compressed. She was a late addition to the short list, catapulted into contention by the campaign’s calculus that a woman would broaden the ticket’s appeal. Our team of lawyers churned out the expected detailed written vetting report—only we packed eight weeks of research into less than one. We pulled information from Alaska-centric websites, including her local critics’ blogs and copies of Wasilla church sermons.
Assisted by the candid information Gov. Palin provided, we identified and reported every issue that subsequently arose (with one exception: her husband’s membership in the Alaska Independence Party).
That includes her daughter’s pregnancy, which the governor raised in a private discussion, and the ethics investigation into the July 2008 dismissal of Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan for allegedly refusing to fire the governor’s ex-brother-in-law, which later became known as “Troopergate.”
…I advised Sen. McCain that because her duties had never encompassed foreign policy or defense issues Gov. Palin would not be ready to be vice president on Jan. 20, 2009—but that I believed she had the presence and wherewithal to grow into the position. I summed up her selection as “high risk, high reward.” I stand by that advice.