Welcome to 2008, Dick Cheney. The former vice president told ABC News on Sunday that John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was a “mistake,” echoing what many knew in the run-up to the election four years ago.

Cheney said Palin “did not pass the test” of being ready to assume the presidency, because she had been governor of Alaska for only two years when she was tapped as the Republican’s VP pick.

Aside from ripping Palin for her lack of experience, Cheney offered some insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a presidential candidate choosing a running mate. He said the vice presidential short list is something elected officials use to help themselves in their re-election campaigns. “I had a couple of calls from politicians who’d say, ‘You know, it’d really help me in my race back home, Dick, if I was on the list.’ Done. You’re on the list,” Cheney said. “Then somebody could go leak the fact that they were on the list.”

He added: “But that was the big list. It was easy to get on the big list. The tough part is the small list, the one that’s really under active consideration.”

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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