(Photo: AP Images / Charles Dharapak)
Sen. John McCain was wrong, Dick Cheney said, to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 because she was not qualified to be president.
"I think that was a mistake," the former vice president said during an ABC interview which will be aired Monday on "Good Morning America," "World News" and "Nightline."
When McCain was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, Palin, who was the governor of Alaska at the time, was a late choice to be his running mate. Several of his top choices were either turned down by the delegates for being too liberal or pro-choice, such as former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Sen. Joe Lieberman (who was a Democrat at the time but is now an independent), or declined McCain's offer, such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Cheney led President George W. Bush's running mate search committee in 2000 but Bush ended up choosing him as his running mate.
The number one test when selecting a running mate, Cheney said, is "is this person capable of being president of the United States? And that's usually a very, very short list."
"What about the other considerations? Can you bring a state? Can you reach out to a specific demographic – a woman, Hispanic?" ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl asked.
"Those are important issues, but they should never be allowed to override that first proposition," Cheney answered. "And, I think that was one of the problems McCain had. I like Governor Palin. I've met her. I know her. An 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."
Cheney also said there were a "long list" and a "short list" for picking a running mate. It was easy to get on the "long list." A governor or senator would call him, Cheney recalled, and say that it would help their re-election chances if voters believed they were being considered for the vice presidency. Cheney would then add them to the "long list" and leak to the press that they were on the list. But, the "short list" was the one that included names that were really being considered.
The teaser clip from the Cheney interview was aired on "This Week" and is available at ABCNews.com.
In the rest of the interview, Karl said on "This Week," "you'll hear some of his harshest criticism yet on Obama."