Former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized Sen. John McCain's 2008 decision to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate, saying Palin was not prepared to take over the presidency.
"That one I don't think was well handled," Cheney said. "The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’"
Cheney's comments came in an interview with ABC, a segment of which aired Sunday morning. The full interview will run Sunday evening.
Cheney said that while considerations like a person's background, gender or ethnicity are "important," they should never "override" the question of whether a vice president would be capable of running the country.
"I like Governor Palin," Cheney said. "I've met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don't think she passed that test … of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake."
Cheney, who was charged with preparing a list of potential running mates for both President Gerald Ford in 1976 and President George W. Bush in 2000, also provided some insight into the political gamesmanship of the VP process. Cheney noted that politicians would occasionally call and ask Cheney to let the press know that they were on a list of potential vice presidential candidates, because being on that list would elevate their prospects in other competitive races. Cheney said he would sometimes agree.
"But that was the big list," Cheney said. "It was easy to get on the big list."