Sarah Palin eyed VP slot early in 2008

Months before Sarah Palin was tapped by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the No. 2 spot on the 2008 Republican presidential ticket, she already had her eye on a more national role, according to a flurry of e-mails that the then Alaska governor sent to staff members.

“Is it possible to get hooked up (maybe by Nick Ayers?) with someone from the McCain campaign?” she writes in a message dated Jan. 29, 2008. “Let them know my relationship with the state party (McCain goes through the same thing on Nat’l level), so party will never hook me up as they could have/should have to speak to candidates before Super Tuesday.”

She also mentions former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, another GOP presidential primary candidate, saying that she “should talk to Huck’s people too.”

Even then, she was thinking about a role at the nominating convention, and set strict parameters for what she would say:

“And if I’m asked to speak at any convention, I only will if I get to put together a candid, blunt ‘change your ways, GOP’ speech that demands change in leadership or folks are going to bail.”

By February, 2008, the idea of a bigger role was raised by Palin aide Frank Bailey, who circulated among Palin and her staffers a San Francisco Chronicle piece reporting that Palin “could become the popular favorite to be Sen. John McCain’s running mate.”

By March 4, when McCain was well on his way to becoming the presumptive nominee, Palin started receiving e-mails from supporters raising the idea of her joining the ticket. She forwarded them to her staff, stoking the buzz that would continue throughout the summer.

Six months later, she was fielding e-mails about the rules for gubernatorial succession in Alaska, a message from conservative writer Bill Kristol asking her to call him, and reports that her state Web site had crashed from all the traffic.

Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.
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