en. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he chose then–Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) as his running mate in 2008 instead of rival Mitt Romney because Palin was a "better candidate" for his ticket, rejecting rumors that he passed on Romney because of his tax returns. McCain's team vetted both candidates, and Romney turned over two decades' worth of tax returns as part of the process. McCain said he can "personally vouch" that Romney's returns contained nothing disqualifying. The senator's 2008 campaign strategist Steve Schmidt backed up that claim, but said Romney's personal wealth was a red flag. "We knew it would be a big liability that the presidential and the vice presidential candidates together owned more than a dozen homes," he told The Huffington Post. "It was like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit. I mean, come on."
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