McCain: I Regret Not Picking Someone Else in 2008

Ailing senator says he should have ignored advice and picked Joe Lieberman as VP running mate
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2018 6:11 AM CDT
McCain: I Regret Not Picking Someone Else in 2008
In this Aug. 29, 2008, file photo, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin delivers a speech as Republican presidential candidate John McCain introduces her as his vice presidential running mate in Dayton, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

As John McCain debated his choice for vice presidential running mate in 2008, advisers warned him against the optics of picking Joe Lieberman, a pro-choice Independent senator who caucused on the other side of the aisle. "It was sound advice that I could reason for myself," he writes. "But my gut told me to ignore it and I wish I had." The senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, battered by brain cancer, is, as the New York Times puts it, "reckoning with his history and the future" via a final book and memoir. He calls passing on Lieberman, who also ran as a Democratic vice presidential candidate, "another mistake I made." McCain's sentiment was news to Lieberman, who found out while watching the documentary. "It touched me greatly," he said.

There is a steady stream of friends and colleagues making their way to McCain's ranch in Sedona, Ariz., among them longtime former senator Joe Biden, whose own son, Beau Biden, died of the same kind of tumor that McCain has. "Here John knows he’s in a very, very, very precarious situation, and yet he’s still concerned about the state of the country," says Biden. Biden, said to be mulling a 2020 presidential run, said McCain urged him to "not walk away" from politics. Both men fiercely oppose President Trump, and the Times reports that VP Mike Pence is to attend McCain's funeral in the president's place. The Times has other insights into McCain's day-to-day life, including three-hour physical therapy sessions, "a tall glass of Absolut Elyx on ice," and trading in his flip phone for an iPhone so that he can follow the Arizona Diamondbacks via the MLB app. It's all here. (More John McCain stories.)

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