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McCain Assigned a Grade of “C-” for His Running Mate Decision

09-03-2008 04:19 PM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: Strategic Vision, LLC

/ PR Agency: Strategic Vision, LLC
Dallas, TX/September 2, 2008 – Michael E. McGrath, decision-making expert and founder of Decide Better!, has given a grade of “C-” to Senator John McCain’s decision to select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. The overall grade reflects an assessment of each of the most important decision criteria for selecting a Vice Presidential running mate.

On June 16th, McGrath distributed a memo to each campaign outlining the five critical factors and recommending a process for deciding on a vice presidential nominee. The memo offered no partisan agenda, nor did it promote any specific candidate. Rather, it offered 5 categories of factors that should be considered when selecting a running mate that would constitute a good decision-making method.

The selections that each candidate make with regards to their Vice Presidential running mates are the most important single public decisions of their campaigns, and these decisions will be used by the American public to judge the overall decision-making abilities of each candidate, providing a preview for how they will make decisions as President of the United States.

The 5 factors that McGrath outlined to the candidates are:

1. Suitability to be President of the United States
2. Suitability to be the Vice President of the United States
3. Chemistry with the Presidential Nominee
4. Electability and Assistance with Electoral College Strategy
5. Grooming to be the Next President of the United States

He also suggested a weighting for each of these factors since some are more important than others and should be considered as such.

“Senator McCain’s decision was disappointing in that he seemed to have emphasized limited political criteria in his decision,” states McGrath. “In particular, he doesn’t appear to place much value on the most important criteria in my recommended weighting: the experience to step in as President if necessary. Historically, 20% of the Vice Presidents became President due to the death or resignation of the President, and Governor Palin has very limited executive experience. In fact there are thousands of people in the US who have more executive experience than she does.”

“Governor Palin also has no national experience that would prepare her to do the job of Vice President.”

“I do not believe that the concept of a balanced ticket is a valid decision process. McCain, 72, does not become 58 with the selection of a 44 year old running mate. The presidency isn’t a job sharing position,” McGrath notes. “If McCain is elected, he’s the 72-year-old President. And if, for some reason, he is no longer President, Sarah Palin would be the 44-year-old President with very little experience.”

“In my view, McCain should receive a “C-“, an extremely poor score, as he failed to accurately weigh the various factors important to this major decision.”

Last week, McGrath examined Senator Obama’s decision to select fellow Senator Joseph Biden to be his running mate, and assigned him a “B+” for his decision – far from a perfect score.

A more in-depth breakdown of the scoring, as well as the original text of the memo sent to each campaign, can be found on the Decide Better website at

Michael E. McGrath is a decision-making expert and the founder of Decide Better!, a company designed to help people make better decisions in their everyday lives. By making better decisions, everyone can make a better life for themselves. His first book, Decide Better! for a Better Life, is now available.


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