A Washingtonian magazine profile of A.B. Culvahouse, a lawyer who oversaw the vetting of the potential vice presidential candidates during McCain's 2008 campaign, said the short list consisted of Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Florida governor Charlie Crist and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
The magazine profile of Culvahouse is not available online, but Politico's Ben Smith reports that Culvahous said campaign manager Rick Davis relayed a request from McCain that a woman be added to the list:
"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.
In August 2008, the Post's Dan Balz and Robert Barnes reported on the McCain campaign's vice presidential selection process. At the time, it was reported that Palin's name had "occasionally surfaced but rarely as a serious choice," and that "far from being a last-minute tactical move or a second choice when better known alternatives were eliminated, Palin was very much in McCain's thinking from the beginning of the selection process, according to McCain's advisers."
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(h/t Ben Smith)