Former Sen. John McCain, when selecting Sarah Palin as his 2008 presidential running mate, mimed shaking a pair of dice before telling his advisers, “Fuck it. Let’s do it.” The report comes from an upcoming book by New York Times political reporter Jeremy W. Peters. Axios confirmed the conversation with a top McCain source.
According to the book, Insurgency: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted, the discussion occurred at McCain’s Sedona, Ariz., ranch in August 2008. Peters wrote, “Mark Salter, a longtime aide to McCain, cautioned him that voters could see a Palin pick as discordant with the message of readiness and experience that the campaign had been focusing on as a contrast with Obama, a forty-seven-year-old first-term senator. ‘There’s worse things, John, than losing an election. You could lose your reputation,’ Salter told him.”
McCain strategist Peter Schmidt “also thought Palin was a risk but said maybe it was one worth taking,” Peters wrote.
“What you’ve got to decide is would you rather lose by seven going for it?” Schmidt told McCain.
When McCain consulted his wife, Cindy, about Palin, she told him, “John, it’s a gamble.”
“This made McCain’s face light up,” Peters wrote.
“Well, I wish you hadn’t said that,” McCain responded. The late senator, who Peters described as “an avid craps player,” next “balled up his fist and blew on it, then shook it like he was about to roll a pair of dice.”
“Fuck it,” McCain said. “Let’s do it.”
After McCain’s selection was announced, Palin went on to carve out a political path taken later by Trump. During the campaign, Palin accused then-President Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists;” Trump, during his presidential run, repeatedly claimed Obama was “the founder of ISIS.” Palin frequently bashed reporters as the “lamestream media,” a precursor to Trump’s attacks on what he called the “fake news media.” Palin and Trump both pushed the “birther” lie about Obama, falsely claiming he was not born in the United States. In early 2016, Palin publicly endorsed Trump’s candidacy for president.