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Former vice president Dick Cheney said in an interview with ABC News that Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) decision to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 was “a mistake.”

“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate,” Cheney told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “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.”

On Fox News Monday morning, McCain responded testily, comparing Cheney’s opinion of Palin to his position on torture.

“I’m always glad to get comments four years later,” the senator said. ”Look, I respect the vice-president. He and I had strong disagreements as to whether we should torture people or not. I don’t think we should have. But the fact is that I’m proud of Sarah Palin.”

Cheney becomes one of the few high-profile Republicans to say publicly what some inside the party say privately — that Palin was a bad choice. Palin’s time as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee was marked by an awkward interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, and since then, she has seen her unfavorable rating rise significantly. Today, she is one of the most unpopular politicians in the country.

The former vice president, in his first interview since a successful heart transplant, suggested that Palin’s selection wasn’t well-handled.

“The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’” he said.

Cheney has been deeply involved in picking GOP vice presidents in the past, including helping George W. Bush in the process that eventually led to Cheney’s selection in 2000.

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