McCain’s advisers believed she had the presence and wherewithal to grow into the position.

The adviser who led the team that vetted Sarah Palin for John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008 said Wednesday that even though the GOP ticket lost that election, he stands by the axiom “high risk, high reward.”

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, A.B. Culvahouse, an attorney who has helped vet Republican vice presidential candidates in four election cycles, wrote that while the process of appraising Palin was brief, it was thorough.

“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,” he wrote. “I summed up her selection as ‘high risk, high reward.’ I stand by that advice.”

The necessary scrutiny of potential running mates and investigation of their backgrounds can be awkward for all parties involved. Culvahouse describes the imperative of asking a battery of questions so personal, he “would not dream of posing [them] in any other context.”

“Short-listed potential VP nominees are required to hand over tax returns, medical histories, financial statements, court records, and anything else labeled ‘private and confidential,’ while also answering the most probing questions about themselves, their spouses, their children and their extended family,” Culvahouse wrote. “We asked about infidelity, sexual harassment, discrimination, plagiarism, alcohol or drug addiction, delinquent taxes, credit history, and use of government positions or resources for personal benefit. Nothing was off-limits.”

Culvahouse added that even though possible nominees act publicly coy about their prospects early in the process, he predicts few would turn down the opportunity to be vetted by the Romney campaign.


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    May 18, 2012 @ 20:37:02

    Well, that leaves us wondering just whose medical “records” she turned in, doesn’t it?


  2. Syrin
    May 18, 2012 @ 20:40:29

    …investigation of their backgrounds can be awkward for all parties involved.

    There obviously was not any investigation done on Palin! Mccain knew she was being investigated and found guilty of abuse Of power!! He sent his hatchet men to take over the state dept of law. Palins should have served the subpoenas that were served to them! They never did to this day! People still are not getting it! She’s a fraud! All this political persona is a complete lie! Sarah Palin supporting the underdog?!? Only if it serves her. As in pad the PAC paper trail..


  3. nswfm
    May 18, 2012 @ 20:59:26

    The world knows she’s a fraud. Culvahouse is an idiot.

    The Alaskans who have proof of illeglity and all the other stuff on her and are sitting on it are pussies. Not the cat kind, either.


  4. nswfm
    May 18, 2012 @ 21:03:19

    And Syrin, you were the first AK blogger on Palin that I read on the wizbangblog. With the comments about you knew that her older 2 kids were sent away to keep them out of her way, so the above comment was not directed at you.


  5. crow
    May 18, 2012 @ 21:04:27

    Wow, people, you gotta follow the link and read the whole thing. Where is this guy coming from? He claims Palin was cleared of all ethics violations in “Troopergate”. He calls the HBO movie “revisionist”. He claims they vetted her thoroughly and knew about everything except Todd’s membership in the Alaska Independence Party (they missed that?) including Bristol’s pregnancy.

    I’d like to know what her answers were to the questions about nuclear weapons and security.

    I started to read some of the comments but couldn’t get through the first page. I knew the Wall Street Journal had been taken over by Murdoch, but I was unprepared for the degree of ignorance being shown over there. It’s as if they are in a race to the bottom with Fox News to see who can be the more classless.


    • Syrin
      May 18, 2012 @ 21:41:28

      Oh dear! I didn’t read the comments.. I have no more energy to battle against this kind of ignorance!


      • WakeUpAmerica
        May 19, 2012 @ 06:05:06

        Come on now! Low-information voters have to gather somewhere.

      • Just_a_Mote
        May 19, 2012 @ 17:56:11

        WakeUpAmerica(and Syrin), you are so polite. Please forgive my venting(and my vulgarity). I don’t think of it as low-information voters gathering. I think of it as sticky dingleberries cloistering.

  6. 99ts
    May 19, 2012 @ 00:37:00

    These folks sure like to cover themselves – they didn’t have a clue. She had no presence and wherewithal & obviously has never grown into anything.


  7. LisaB
    May 19, 2012 @ 02:14:09

    I agree. I find it hard to believe they would have chosen her had they known she was under investigation by the legislature.


  8. lindak1961
    May 19, 2012 @ 03:09:02

    “High risk, high reward or high loss” There – fixed it for you, Culvahouse!


  9. ivyfree
    May 19, 2012 @ 04:07:41

    What an interesting article. Interesting for what he didn’t say. He said that shortlisted candidates were asked about all these things and the questions asked of Sarah Palin were “as rigorous but truncated.” He didn’t actually say that Sarah got asked all the same questions- she was just “as rigorously questioned.”

    He says every issue identified was brought forth except Todd being a member of the AIP- well, “some people say I didn’t give birth to this baby- honestly! I ask you!” is “identifying” the problem, but because the investigation was “truncated” that might have been all he heard. He points out that the personnel board found her not guilty of abuse of power- that’s the investigation she herself ordered, remember? Because she appointed two members of the three-member board and they serve at her will. They ALL served at her will: that’s how she got away with firing Monegan. The legislature’s investigation found that she had the right to fire Monegan because he served at her will, and could be fired by her anytime she was dissatisfied with him (which I believe is why the personnel board found for her- they didn’t want to lose their jobs) but it ALSO found that she was guilty of abuse of power in her attempts to get Monegan to fire Wooten.

    Just now- it occurs to me that I don’t know when she asked for the personnel board to investigate her. I think I remember reading that she asked for that AFTER the McCain campaign contacted her. I suppose that information is on record somewhere. But asking people you’ve appointed to decide whether you’ve committed an ethics violation when they know you could fire them? I’ve always found irony funny.

    No: read the article through and read it more carefully. It’s very artfully misdirecting.

    Incidentally, I think the “Game Change” movie WAS slightly misleading. It actually made her look better than she really was. That could be because the producers and director thought that it would be more believable. I mean, she’s fucking crazy. They want it to look as though McCain’s choice was plausible, and problems showed up later. They’d never have gotten anywhere with an HBO movie if they showed how reckless the McCain campaign really was, and how little they cared for anything except winning.

    Look, they did NOT investigate her. The Republican leadership in the state said nobody talked with them. The local newspaper wasn’t online and nobody showed up to read their articles. Nobody came forward and said, “They interviewed me.” What that means is they asked her about her history, and then they believed her. It never occurred to them that she was a liar. Now they’re hoping to keep it all buried, because it makes them- and McCain- look bad.


    • jk
      May 19, 2012 @ 06:43:18

      A big thumbs up for everything you’ve written here, Ivyfree.

      She lied and they didn’t care about the truth.

      They said they missed Todd’s separatist past. If they missed something so easily discovered (party registration!), we are to believe they did a good job vetting her?

      Patently ridiculous.

      Moreover, let’s be honest. All they had to do with speak with her for more than five minutes to realize that she was all style, no substance.

      They had a desperate candidate, Sarah Palin had a pretty face. They made a sexist, cynical choice and Sarah capitalized on it. That seems to be her modus operandi.


  10. Game of Life (@TheGameOfLife)
    May 19, 2012 @ 04:52:58

    culvahouse is still trying to save face. If I had vetted her I would had known how utterly illiterate, racist, incurious, backwoods and uneducated she was in about five minutes into the process. Get real, he fucked up royally.

    Why didn’t they know about fast bustol and her dysfunctional siblings and friends? Why wasn’t palin’s mayoral record taken into account? Or was it discarded?

    I believe culvahouse’s vetting process made excuses for palin’s indiscretions, hoping she could be “fixed” later. he also took a gambled that people would vote for an old white man if he had a white, 40-ish, married mother…a distraction as a vp running mate.

    mccain and culvahouse chose dizbo. she would had been perfect if she keep her damn mouth shut. they thought they were the perfect opposite democratic candidate and running mate. “mr. magic man” culvahouse thought he could turn the minuses into pluses.

    As it’s known, palin wanted to use every grade school dirty tactic she could think of, much like she does today, to beat “mr. popular” Sen. Obama. mccain and culvahouse thought any white person was surely better than any intelligent African-American. America wasn’t ready for an African-American!?

    I’m still not convinced he vetted her past her granny tits and legs.


  11. Susan
    May 19, 2012 @ 05:10:47

    We don’t know what went on behind closed doors during the interview. We DO know that Sarah will do anythng to win. Just whose interests was Culvahouse looking out for? How could he have missed so much unless he chose to ignore what he didn’t want to believe? If a smart or, hell, even semi-smart woman had vetted her we would not be having this discussion.


  12. climber357
    May 19, 2012 @ 06:07:33

    Everyone (including me) assumed Sarah had to be as intelligent as the average governor, maybe more intelligent considering her high approval ratings. This assumption was a given.

    Her college degree was a given.

    Her honesty was a given.

    Her maturity was a given.

    IOW, every positive attribute was a given, never questioned.

    Sarah was overestimated in every way except for one: Her stupidity, a breathtaking stupidity found only in the mentally ill.

    Culvahouse dropped the ball, and he ¨biffed it¨ again in this interview.


  13. jk
    May 19, 2012 @ 06:34:28

    “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,” he wrote. “I summed up her selection as ‘high risk, high reward.’ I stand by that advice.”

    Ah, so basically he saw the position of VP of the US as an internship. Good to know these clowns had the best interest of the country in mind.



  14. GeeJay
    May 19, 2012 @ 15:27:31

    At least the voters in 2008 were aware enough to reject the McCain/Palin ticket. Anyone with half a brain realized that Palin was not VP material once she opened her mouth.


  15. Sheesh
    May 20, 2012 @ 05:38:50

    They were in a time crunch to find a candidate who could add some spark to an otherwise lifeless campaign. Somebody who could capture the disaffected Hillary voters. Someone who could outshine the charismatic Dem candidate, Obama. It was definitely high risk. Enter SP-an attractive female Governor with a high approval rating; That was their vetting process. And it worked. McCain surged ahead of Obama in the polls. The risk paid off. That is until the American public had a chance to experience her after the convention. Zero reward.

    Vetting my ass. And Mr. Culvahouse had the temerity to foist this unprepared VP “intern” on the American public for purely political gain.



  16. RJ 40
    May 20, 2012 @ 07:35:08

    What a crock of BS. I read what the vetting Questions of Scaarah consisted of. There were 4 questions. One of which was could she bomb Iraq . No kidding . Four questions. I was gobsmacked at the time at the magnitude of irresponsibility. NOw this lying sack of shit claims she was asked all the questions in this article. Can Rethugs not speak without lying? I answered my own question. NO!


  17. Kate (@AKRNHSNC)
    May 20, 2012 @ 11:49:24

    In Game Change, they spoke of how it took four weeks to vet Pawlenty and Lieberman and yet they want us to believe they did as thorough a job on Palin in 48 hours? LOL, I knew more about Palin than the McCain campaign did after going online for a few hours. I had read about her history as a mayor in name only in Wasilla, where the city administrator did all the daily duties of the mayor while she claimed public glory. To this day, she speaks of her days as the mayor and city manager of Wasilla which is a blatant lie. They were clueless about Bristol. She knew that they would look like fools if they tried to force her out after introducing her to the nation so she took a chance and didn’t say a word about her past. If they had actually vetted Palin, reading the Alaskan papers, learning about how little she knew, they would never have hired her. Schmidt said that if she had been honest in the interview, she would not have been chosen. Culvahouse is trying to protect his damaged reputation but he and McCain have only themselves to blame. They wanted to use her sex appeal and got stuck dealing with her ignorance and are still trying to defend it to this day.


  18. AnAlaskanAlsoII
    May 20, 2012 @ 15:38:18

    Scum bag piece of crap trying to shine a turd.


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