October 1st, 2008
08:35 AM ET
11 years ago

McCain defends Palin against experience attacks

McCain became visibly frustrated during an interview with the Des Moines Register when he was questioned about Sarah Palin's credentials to be vice president.

McCain became visibly frustrated during an interview with the Des Moines Register when he was questioned about Sarah Palin's credentials to be vice president.

(CNN) - John McCain defended embattled running mate Sarah Palin in an interview released Tuesday night, telling an Iowa newspaper he thought she had the” experience and knowledge and background” to be president and that he was “proud of her record.”

McCain ticked off Palin’s achievements with the editors of the Des Moines Register – a swing state paper that endorsed his presidential bid before January’s Republican caucuses.

"So, with due respect, I strongly disagree with your premise that she doesn't have experience and knowledge and background,” he said. “I fundamentally disagree, and I'm proud of her record.”

Later, after continuing to counter Palin’s critics, he pointed to what he called a divide between the press and the public on their view of the Alaska governor. “…You and I just have a fundamental disagreement and I'm so happy that the American people seem to be siding with me,” said McCain.

When editors pointed to similar recent assessments from conservatives, McCain responded “Really? I haven't detected that,” attributing those sentiments to the “Georgetown cocktail party” circuit.

“Some people allege that others may have spent too much time inside the Beltway, and too much time not out in touch with the American people,” said McCain. “Some people that know that Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t address the American people on television.”

Asked later if he had benefited from taxpayer-subsidized health care his entire life, McCain replied that the question had no relation to his ability to understand the concerns of those Americans who had not.

“You know that's an interesting statement, isn’t it?” he responded. “And I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space. And I have never done a lot of things in my life that I think I am familiar with.”

According to CNN's Iowa poll of polls released September 22, before the first presidential debate, Obama held a 7-point lead (50-43 percent) in the state. Iowa narrowly voted for President Bush in 2004, but gave a major boost to Obama's presidential fortunes earlier this year at the start of the primary season.


Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Ummm, John, I think you are mistaken about the majority of Americans "siding" with you on Sara Palin. She is the worst VP pick in the history of this Great Nation! Hind sight is 20/20 and you will see that very clearly after you LOSE the election.

    Obama/Biden!!!!!!!!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Suzanne

    I feel sorry for Sarah Palin because McCain put her in a very uncomfortable position. He used this woman to get votes but had no idea of her skills and knowledge. He is finding out along with the rest of country who she really is. He tried to shield her from the media and keep her on a script but you can't do that for a potential Vice President. Why does a Senator have to speak for a Governor? It's obvious that Sarah Palin focused on all things Alaska and did not keep up with what was going on in the rest of the country. Katie Couric or Charles Gibson did not play gotcha journalism they asked her simple questions and her answers were simply stupid. One of Gov. Palin's credentials is that she has a degree in journalism so she should be able to answer and anticipate some of these questions. Also for the McCain camp to say that the media hates her and is biased is another distracting lie. They bragged that she is a great reformer but she has been kept sheltered. No one knows her positions on issues concerning women or the rest of the country. They call her an expert on energy but that remains to be seen. All we know is that the statements about the bridge to no where, selling her plane on eBaY and having rape victims pay for their rape kits have been proven to be lies or unclear. She said she would cooperate with the Troopergate investigation now we know that the McCain campaign has blocked that. Suppose we find out later that she did abuse her power what then? Sarah Palin seems to be less a Pit Bull with lipstick and more like Dick Cheney with lipstick. So McCain and his Running Mate is truly McSAME

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Lucy

    The scary thing is that both McCain and Palin don't get that she is totally out of her league. They really think she is qualified, just like millions of other Americans (mostly those who voted for Bush). Couldn't McCain have chosen a different Republican woman, one who can actually form proper sentences and not do the valley-girl-airhead thing?

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Amy

    Isn't it pathetic that, because McCain chose such an inexperienced, uneducated person as his running mate, he has to waste time talking about her, her foils, her inexperience, her lack of credentials, her pathetic interviews, etc., instead of focusing on the real issues facing our country today?

    Or is that the reason he chose her in the first place?

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. ignorant republican

    We are lucky to have real workers, real decision makers and real
    patriots like Senator McCain and Governor Palin running for
    President and Vice President."

    You can stop laughing now Tim

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. AGEISM IS OK, BUT SEXISM NOT SO MUCH?

    More examples of republican nazi hyprocrisy!

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. DB

    "I know the challenges of space."

    So Sarah Palin is a foreign policy expert and John McCain is a Rocket Scientist. Seriously, what a dumb thing to say!

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. Larry

    The fact that McCain believes this is proof enough that he lacks the judgement to be president. He's made a disasterous pick and lacks the honesty and clarity of vision to admit that Palin was a bad choice. Furthermore, he has such contempt for the American people that he thinks he can just keep lying to us, and we'll believe him. Most Americans are not that dumb. The ones who are were going to vote for McCain anyway.

    McCain is shooting craps with America's future, all for his own out-of-control ambitions. The future of our nation is in peril right now; we are in very much the same situation the USSR was in right before it fell. We cannot trust a man like McCain to see us through this dangerous time. He lacks the temperment, the judgement, the honesty, and the integrity to deal with the situation we're in. Thanks anyway, John, but no thanks. I'm not buying what you're selling.

    October 1, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Not Totally in Denial

    John is not in denial. He knows that he can't drop Palin even if wants to but it'll be the end of his campaign. Dropping Palin would also mean that he lacks judgment. John will continue to try to sell Palin till the very end. Unfortunately for him, Americans are not stupid!

    October 1, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Art Michaelson

    hey McPAIN. You sold your SOUL for the right wing Evangelical Christian Extremist vote. Shame. So Said. You may have been an HONORABLE man at one time but no more. Qualified to be POTUS if you cannot fulfill your job?, Just listen the SARAH speak and choice of phrases and you realize that this women is not too smart. Needed five second level colleges to earn a undergraduate degree. Come on give me and the rest of America some credit to see through you, your Karl Rove advisors and your TIZZY eye candy running mate. GOD HAVE MERCY on my country.

    October 1, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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