McCain on Palin: 'The Courage Is What Impressed Me'

updated 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

After the announcement of his vice presidential pick Aug. 29, Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin and their spouses, Cindy and Todd, talked to PEOPLE's Sandra Sobieraj Westfall:

Senator McCain, of all the candidates you considered, what drew you to her?

JOHN McCAIN: Obviously I found her to be very intelligent and very well-versed on the issues. But I think the important thing was that she's a reformer. She's taken on special interests since she ran for the PTA and city council and mayor. The courage, I guess, is what most impressed me.

Given her young age and relatively short résumé, why is she any more ready to be President than Sen. Barack Obama?

JOHN McCAIN: I don't think she has a short résumé. She first ran for office back in 1992. That's 16 years. I think that's a pretty event-filled résumé.

Governor Palin, a woman on the ticket is what a lot of Hillary Clinton voters wanted to see. What's your message to women?

SARAH PALIN: Certainly in this election cycle, women aren't finished yet. And women can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.

How are you dealing with your son Track [an Army private] going off to war in Iraq?

SARAH PALIN: Anxious but very confident. He's ready.

TODD PALIN: He's been trained for this mission, so we've seen that confidence in him. We're, of course, nervous.

Mrs. McCain, what does Governor Palin need to know about working with your husband?

CINDY McCAIN: He works hard. And she's a marathoner. I don't think she will have any trouble keeping up with him.

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