“With time running out — and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable — he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.
“They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe [Lieberman] or [former Homeland Security Secretary Tom] Ridge.”
“In the final stages, two Republicans familiar with the process said, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, emerged as a key advocate for Ms. Palin.”
If true — that McCain’s personal first choices were Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge — that’s interesting. It shows his personal preference would have produced: (1) a running-mate with whom he had a close personal relationship; (2) a strong national security ticket; (3) a pro-choice running-mate.