McConnell on McCain’s VP pick

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell on Friday said Republican presidential candidate John McCain found a reformer without Washington ties in his newly selected running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

During a stop at the Messenger-Inquirer Friday shortly after McCain announced his selection, McConnell said that Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s choice of Sen. Joe Biden instead of his primary opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton “was an opening” for McCain to reach out to women voters, which he appears to have done in selecting Palin.

“Clearly picking a little-known governor from Alaska was an effort to appeal to women voters,” McConnell said.

McConnell said he wasn’t in the loop on Palin’s selection, but he offered his take on the rationale behind selecting the governor, who is only in her second year in office.

“(McCain) was looking for someone who was not of Washington, who has a reputation as a reformer like him and on the foreign policy stuff, he’s going to say, ‘I’ve got that experience. I don’t need it in a vice president,'” McConnell said. “I think it’ll be an exciting choice. It surprised everybody, and I think we’ll all become experts on Sarah Palin in the next few days.”

When asked who he would have selected had he been in Obama’s shoes, McConnell said U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, who was on the short list for the Democrats.

McConnell declined to say whether Palin would have been his to pick for McCain’s running mate, and that “we’ll see in the end whether it works.”

Read about McConnell’s take on McCain’s pick and more about his stops in Owensboro in Saturday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

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