He suggested that Mr. Quayle was a mistake and that George H.W. Bush should look at other prospects, according to the Arizona Republic.
“Once you’re burned like this,” Mr. McCain said, “I think you’re going to look at somebody like Dole or [Sen. Alan] Simpson or one of those who clearly have been heavily screened.”
Mr. McCain said the questions over Mr. Quayle’s service were serious enough to overshadow the Republican ticket.
Reporters speculated that Mr. McCain was among those whom Mr. Bush considered that year, but the senator from Arizona said he was never vetted and thus would be a bad replacement for Mr. Quayle.
While assuring reporters his background was clean, he said, “if I were George Bush, I would certainly not take anybody’s word for it.”
Eight years later, Mr. McCain was vetted and lost graciously, heaping praise on Mr. Kemp and on Mr. Dole for his selection.
“I think it’s Kemp, and I’m going to love it,” Mr. McCain told the Associated Press.
Mr. McCain gave the convention speech that formally placed Mr. Dole’s nomination before the committee.
In 2000, Mr. McCain fought George W. Bush for the nomination and said he didn’t want to be considered for the vice presidency, although Mr. Bush’s team reportedly scouted his interest late in the search.
In 2004, Mr. McCain reportedly considered running with Mr. Kerry on the Democratic presidential ticket. Mr. McCain denies giving it serious thought, but some are still betting that Mr. McCain will pick Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, or a maverick Democrat this year.
If Mr. McCain goes with the Dole model of a Kemp figure to boost enthusiasm, Mr. Jindal, Mr. Romney or Mr. Cantor might be the choices. Mr. Pawlenty could fit the bill for a loyal pick who would fulfill the traditional running-mate duties of attack and defense.
Mr. Reed said the decision matters.
“This is the first time the voters get to fully see and understand the candidate’s decision-making process,” he said, “and it says a lot about how he would be commander in chief - not just in picking the individual, but the process he would go through in making that selection.”
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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