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Former McCain Campaign Chief: Sarah Palin Made 'Short List' Because Of Gender

Ab Culvahouse Sarah Palin

First Posted: 03/13/11 12:00 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:40 PM ET

In a profile of the man who was responsible for vetting a running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential campaign, the former manager of the political operation is mentioned suggesting how Sarah Palin landed on the then-candidate's "short list," Ben Smith reports.

In the story featured in the latest edition of the Washingtonian on attorney A.B. Culvahouse, which is currently unavailable online, the one-time campaign manager for McCain suggests Palin made the cut because of her gender. According to an excerpt of the story relayed by Smith, McCain had requested that at least one woman be included on the list of possible contenders.

"As the clock was running out, [campaign manager Rick] Davis says McCain asked to have at least one woman on the short list. His advisers went back to the long list and plucked out Palin's name," the magazine reported.

When Palin's name was raised as a possible running mate, she reportedly joined the ranks of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Florida governor Charlie Crist, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Senator Joe Lieberman, who were considered as potential picks.

While some have attributed McCain's 2008 loss to Palin's role in the campaign, Culvahouse himself said months after the election that he believed the former Alaska governor would have been prepared for the job. HuffPost's Sam Stein reported in April of 2009:

The lawyer responsible for vetting Sarah Palin as vice president insisted on Friday that the Alaska Governor was more than qualified for the job.

"She would have been a great vice president," said Washington power lawyer A.B. Culvahouse at an event at the National Press Club. "And as I told John [McCain] she would have been ready on January 20. I don't think many people would.... She has lots of presence. She filled up a room. Me and two of my most cynical partners interviewed her and we came away impressed."

Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the 2008 election, details about the internal operations of the McCain campaign began to surface that portrayed Palin in a less than favorable light.

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Filed by Elyse Siegel  |