Time has some interesting revelations about the choice for Vice President when Tim Kaine was considered but ultimately passed over:
There was no great way to explain putting someone with no foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. If we chose him, we would need to rely on some of the same language we had used on this issue as it related to Obama — judgment vs. Washington experience, a new foreign policy vision vs. the status quo — but doubling down would make it twice as tough for us to roll this boulder uphill.
Later that night, we held a conference call with Obama to brief him on our day. “Well, it sounds like you both are for Biden, but barely,” he said. “I really haven’t settled this yet in my own mind. It’s a coin toss now between Bayh and Biden, but Kaine is still a distinct possibility. I know the experience attack people will make if we pick him. But if that really concerned me, I wouldn’t have run in the first place. My sense is — and you tell me if the research backs this up — that Barack Hussein Obama is change enough for people. I don’t have to convince people with my VP selection that I am serious about change.” (Read “Obama and Biden’s Chemistry Test.”)
But the money quotes are all about Sarah Palin:
We always knew this day was going to be a pain in the ass. Coming right off the exhaustion and exhilaration of our convention week and VP pick, we would have to jump right in and deal with theirs. But [Sarah] Palin was a bolt of lightning, a true surprise. She was such a long shot, I didn’t even have her research file on my computer, as I did for the likely McCain picks. I started Googling her, refreshing my memory while I waited for our research to be sent.
But here she was, joining our real-life drama. And given her life story, coupled with the surprise nature of her selection, her entrance to the race would be nothing short of a phenomenon. But I also thought it was a downright bizarre, ill-considered and deeply puzzling choice. The one thing every voter knew about John McCain’s campaign at this point was that it had been shouting from the rooftops that Barack Obama lacked the experience to be President.
Summoning the wisdom from “the philosopher she turns to most”, besides Mother Theresa, then campaign adviser Anita Dunn offered advice on Palin, whom she had worked against unsuccessfully in Alaska’s 2006 governor’s race:
…warned us that she was a formidable political talent — clearly not up to this moment, she assured us, but bound to be a compelling player and a real headliner in the weeks ahead. (Read about where Sarah Palin is going next.)
“All of you on this call should watch video of her debates and speeches,” Dunn counseled. “The substance is thin, but she’s a very able performer. And her story is out of Hollywood. She’ll be a phenomenon for a while.”
The Obama campaign was mostly annoyed that McCain had chosen a VP nominee that, they claim, had less experience than Obama:
Our strategy with the other potential picks would’ve been to start by saying that choice X subscribed to the same failed George Bush policies as John McCain; all they were doing was doubling down on the same out-of-touch economic policies that had hurt American families. We should have gone the same way with Palin. But McCain had been haranguing us for months about experience, and we were incredulous that he had picked someone with zero foreign policy experience who had been a governor for less time than Obama had been a Senator. Galled by the hypocrisy, we moved in a more aggressive direction.
We decided to call McCain on the experience card directly. The value was in making him look political — essentially, calling him full of shit — and we sent out a release making that clear. “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” it read. “Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need; it’s just more of the same.”