Amy Hollyfield
By Amy Hollyfield February 4, 2008

That's the ticket

Republicans have often questioned Sen. John McCain's conservative stripes, and the idea that he was a potential running mate for Democrat John Kerry in 2004 stokes their suspicions even more.

The advocacy group Citizens United Political Victory Fund is currently on the attack, launching an ad that at first appears to be aimed at Hillary Clinton.

"One candidate voted against the Bush tax cuts, both times. ... And was even mentioned as a running mate with John Kerry."

A photo of Clinton slides over to reveal McCain; the narrator says, "Hillary Clinton? No. John McCain."

We checked the claim on McCain's votes here.

As for the charge that McCain was mentioned as a running mate with Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004? That's true.

There are many, many references in the media to the idea that McCain was possible for the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket. Here are just a few:

• In March 2004, reports about the offer prompted Good Morning America host Charles Gibson to ask McCain about it in an interview on the show. McCain answered: "John Kerry is a very close friend of mine. We've been friends for years. Obviously, I would entertain it. But there's, I see no scenario, no scenario, no scenario where I, I foresee no scenario where that would happen."

• After Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate in July 2004, the Washington Post reported that Kerry initiated phone calls to McCain about a possible crossover ticket, "but McCain made clear he was not interested."

• A February 2007 article in Vanity Fair magazine titled "Prisoner of Conscience" says: "Kerry felt close enough to McCain at the time to make multiple and serious inquiries about McCain's interest in running for vice president on a national-unity ticket (and McCain basked in the courtship, even if he knew nothing could ever come of it).

• And, in an April 2007 interview with the Web site myDD.com (Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics), Kerry says McCain's people approached him about being on the Democratic ticket. Responding to suggestions that McCain had approached prominent Democrats about switching parties, Kerry says: "It doesn't surprise me completely because his people similarly approached me to engage in a discussion about his potentially being on the ticket as vice president. So his people were active — let's put it that way."

We're not saying McCain gave the idea much thought or even that he was offered the job, but it's clear he "was mentioned as a running mate with John Kerry." We rule this statement True.

Our Sources

MittRomney.com, Campaign press release, "Welcome to Massachusetts!" Feb. 4, 2008

New York Times blog, "The Caucus," Romney Links McCain to Democrats — Even Kerry, by Michael Luo, Jan. 28, 2008

Good Morning America, Interview with Sen. John McCain, March 10, 2004

ABC News Transcripts, "Good Morning America," interview with Sen. John McCain, March 10, 2004

Washington Post, Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate, by Jim VandeHei and Dan Balz, July 7, 2004

Mydd.com, John Kerry: McCain Approached Me About Joining Dem Ticket in 2004, by Jonathan Singer, April 3, 2007

Vanity Fair, "Prisoner of Conscience," by Todd S. Purdum, February 2007

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Amy Hollyfield

That's the ticket

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up