Author of “Sarah Palin: Out of Nowhere” Frank A. Aquila with Sarah Palin during one of her September appearances in Iowa. Aquila wrote the book to share his early role inside the 2008 McCain presidential campaign advocating for her selection as the vice-presidential running mate and to defend the woman who he believes will run for the White House in 2012.
The California GOP operative, who in 2008 lobbied for Sarah Palin’s selection on the presidential ticket with John S. McCain III, is convinced she will announce for president in 2012, based on his time with her during her Sept. 3 Iowa appearances.
“When she came off stage, she was mobbed like a rock star,” said Frank A. Aquila, the founding president of the South San Joaquin Republicans and the author of “Sarah Palin: Out of Nowhere,” a book about his push inside the McCain campaign to make the then-Alaska governor the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee.
Aquila said he was impressed by the Palin’s composure and charisma during her speeches, but it was the reaction of the crowds, many of whom waited in the rain, to the former governor that convinced him.
Despite his role in her selection, their time together in Iowa was the first time they met, he said.
“She was very nice and she told me how much gratitude she had for what I had done,” he said.
“It was a touching moment when I finally got the chance to meet her. She signed one of my books and gave me a big hug,” he said.
Aquila said it was also interesting to see the private interactions between the Alaskan couple.
“They were like a honeymoon couple, just really sweet with each other,” he said.
Together the Palins seem to be in complete synch with each other, often reaching to bring the other closer and trading little looks to each other, he said. “Todd is a really, really great guy, and I would say she is stunning–she is stunningly beautiful. I was like, golly; up close she is an absolutely gorgeous lady.”
For Aquila the story began in the spring of 2008 when the McCain campaign was building its organization for the general election, he said. He did not support McCain in the primary, but when party organizers to run two counties, he agreed to do it, he said.
There was no way McCain was win California, so although he did what he could to find supporters and put up signs, Aquila said he wanted to make a bigger contribution. “I figured if I have these connections to the McCain campaign, I might as well put in my two cents as to who should be vice-president.”
As he began the project, he focused on three factors, he said. The selection needed to excite conservatives, who were still cool to McCain, could not have a connection to the Bush administration and most importantly, add excitement to the ticket.
“Sarah Palin was not even in my mind at all when I started looking for possible VP’s,” he said.
At first, he went through a list of 24 potential running mates he found online, but none of them had all three factors, he said.
Then, one morning driving to work, he heard Palin mentioned as a rising star in the Republican Party, he said.
“When I did my research about her, I found that she has always been very humble and never vain in anyway,” he said.
“I go into this in the book, she is the un-politician,” he said. “She did not get into politics for her own ego; she first got involved in the PTA out of concern for her children.”
As he learned more about Palin, the more he became convinced that she had all three factors McCain needed in a vice-presidential candidate to win the election. “I just knew she was the one.”
The only thing holding him back from launching his campaign was waiting for Palin to give birth to her son Trig, he said.
“Trig was born on April 18 and on April 20 at 7:33 in the morning; I sent my first email to Brian Forest,” he said. Forest, who was chairman of McCain’s Central Valley campaign, told Aquila he would forward the email up the chain.
In the subsequent months, Aquila kept up a steady campaign of emails and phone calls and personal conversations with anyone who would listen, he said.
Finally in August, he received an email from Robert Pacheco, the McCain’s statewide chairman. “He wrote: ‘Frank, all your emails have been forwarded to the appropriate people and they are well aware of your position on Governor Palin.’”
The next time, it was a phone call from Pacheco the morning of Aug. 29, the day Palin’s name was announced as McCain’s running mate. “He said: ‘Frank, this is Chairman Pacheco, here, I just wanted to be the first to tell you–you got your girl.’”
Now back in Cailifornia where he a full-time peace officer working with troubled youth, Aquila said he busy promoting his book and organizing for the next campaign.
“I share my predictions for the 2012 election, and what I think will be best for this country’s future. Some readers will agree with me, others will not, but my goal is to provide an accurate depiction of Governor Palin,” he said.
Video of Frank A. Aquila with Sarah and Todd Palin during one of the Palins’ September appearances in Iowa: