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McCain defends picking Palin after Dick Cheney criticism

The 2008 Republican nominee defends his vice-presidential pick after the last Republican VP slates her credentials.

Sarah Palin did not
Sarah Palin did not "pass that test" of being ready to assume the presidency, according to Dick Cheney.
Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

FORMER US presidential candidate John McCain has defended his decision to pick former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in his election – after the last Republican vice-president questioned her credentials for the job.

Dick Cheney, who was George W Bush’s vice-president for eight years between 2001 and 2009, said the choice of Palin – who was relatively unknown before being added to McCain’s ticket in 2008 – was “a mistake”.

He told ABC News that he had met and liked Sarah Palin, describing her as an an “attractive candidate” – but said her relative political inexperience meant she had not “passed that test… of being ready to take over”.

Though many observers have retrospectively questioned McCain’s decision to add Palin to his ticket, Cheney’s comments made him the highest-profile Republican to openly criticise her nomination.

In response, however, McCain took to Fox News to defend Palin and said he was “proud” of her.

“I’m always glad to get comments four years later,” McCain laughed, saying he and Cheney had had many policy disagreements on matters such as “whether we should torture people”, even though he respected the former vice-president.

The fact is, I’m proud of Sarah Palin. I’m proud of the job she did, I’m proud of the job she continues to do. [...]

I’m proud of what we did.

Cheney’s daughter Liz also questioned her father’s comments, taking to Twitter – where she is far from active – to vent her disagreement.

“Rarely do I disagree with best VP ever,” she wrote, referring to her father, “but @SarahPalinUSA [was] more qualified than Obama and Biden combined. Huge respect 4 all she’s done 4 GOP.”

Cheney’s interview with ABC News was his first since undergoing a heart transplant, an experience the former congressman and defence secretary said was life-changing.

Read: ‘Sarah Palin’ stripper booked for US Republican convention city

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Gavan Reilly

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