WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said it was “a mistake” for Arizona Sen. John McCain, R, to pick Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate in 2008.
Cheney headed George W. Bush’s vice-presidential search in 2000 before becoming Bush’s running mate. Of the Republican selection process four years ago that led to Palin, he said, “That one I don’t think was well-handled.”
Palin hadn’t “passed that test” of readiness to serve as president because her political experience was limited, Cheney said in an interview with ABC News. The television network showed portions of Cheney’s remarks Sunday on its “This Week” program. The full interview is to air Monday.
Cheney, 71, said demographic and political factors in the selection process “are important issues, but they should never be allowed to override that first proposition” of being ready to serve as president.
“I think that was one of the problems McCain had,” Cheney said.
Palin was “an attractive candidate” but the fact that she’d served as Alaska governor for less than two years raised questions about her “being ready to take over” as president, Cheney said.
“I think that was a mistake,” he said.
Cheney said that it was “pretty important” that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney handle his selection process differently. Romney is expected to announce his running mate before the party’s national convention Aug. 27- 30 in Tampa, Fla.
Cheney said that there are typically two lists of vice- presidential possibilities - a “big list” that includes politicians who want to boost their standing at home and a “small list” of hopefuls who are seriously vetted.
“The test to get on the small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable to be president of the United States?’ And that’s usually a very, very short list,” he said.