November 5th, 2008
09:15 PM ET
1 year ago

Sources: McCain aide fired for 'trashing' staff

Scheunemann bonded with Palin during the Alaska governor's debate prep, above.
Scheunemann bonded with Palin during the Alaska governor's debate prep, above.

(CNN) - Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator's campaign last week for what one aide called "trashing" the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.

One of the aides tells CNN that campaign manager Rick Davis fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading "disinformation" about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials. (Update: Davis denies the claim.)

Update: Scheunemann disputes campaign sources, says he was not fired

"He was positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain's campaign message," said one of the aides.

Senior campaign officials blame Schuenemann specifically for stories about the way Wallace and chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt mishandled Palin's rollout - stories that the campaign says threw them off message in the critical final weeks of the campaign.

Another aide said McCain personally was "very disappointed by Randy," who worked for McCain for many years in the Senate.

Scheunemann became close with Palin during her debate prep process.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (514 Responses)
  1. MikeF

    No Mike, we tried it yours and Bush's way and we aren't going back as easily as that. This is a Center Left country.

    November 6, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  2. BHANU

    Myself and Democrats felt very bad after the 2000election when Bush stole the election from Al Gore. Obama won by big margin and has the clear mandate to govern. We are moral ly superior to you Conservative-especially conservative christians! At least next election don't bring in God to the politics, There should be separation of church and state! Get over it and work hard now!

    November 6, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. Will

    Sarah Palin is trying to climb over John McCain to get herself on the national stage. I'm sure there are plenty of other stories that we will never hear but will make the rounds of political insiders. Whether or not anyone will want to work with her when they hear the stories of betrayal is another thing entirely. Word travels fast.

    If she was just a little more patient she could have set herself up for life.

    November 6, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. Amused

    For all you total nutcases out there that are proclaiming it's over now for your scapegoat, Sarah Palin, I have big news for you: she's not going anywhere friends, except back to Alaska to get busy again running the biggest future energy-producing state in America. You guys can now go back to your day jobs too, providing you still have one...

    November 6, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. James

    Pretty girl! Bad boy!

    November 6, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  6. sam

    As the saying goes, "To be young and not a liberal means you have no heart, to be old and not a conservative means you have no brain." When all of this is written up for the history books, we will see how truly extraordinary this election has been. Though I am a harsh critic of Mr. Bush, it is strange to consider the strong role he played in the rise of Barack Obama. Without his legacy to argue against, Obama's message of "Change" would not have carried the same weight. Without Bush's appointment of Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice to pave the way, the country may not yet have been fully ready to accept an African-American for the highest office in the land. What is without doubt is that this is a triumphant day for the power of American democracy. What other nation in the world can boast of a system that allows for a revolution to be waged within the context of an ordinary general election.

    November 6, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  7. Noneya

    As politically incorrect as it may be, this saying is so apropos on these forums "Arguing on the Internet is like winning the Special Olympics. You might win, but you are still retarded". There are lots of people who fit that description both here and on Fox. Astounding that these people actually think they are being rational...

    November 6, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  8. Jordan

    Interesting to see people complaining about 'hatred' aimed at Obama, particularly after the hideous way Palin was treated over the past two months. There are many parallels to be drawn.

    Also – not to say that this is right... but what do Democrats expect after their treatment of Bush over the past 8 years? He was demonized before he ever took office... conservatives can see his faults, but he is far from the moronic and evil thing he is made out to be. I think that Republicans are sick and tired of keeping quiet their support for what Bush HAS done right, and seeing him – as a whole – publicly destroyed for mistakes... not all of which were his, frankly.

    President-elect Obama has a long road to travel to heal this country's division. He must overcome the more legitimate questions about his preparedness and experience... once in office, he will have the perfect opportunity to address them and let the nation see how qualified and effective he truly is (he will also have the opportunity to fail at this, Repiblicans). And he must also overcome the endless sliming of Bush (both legitimate and otherwise) which has been heaping up in conservatives' memories, ready to backfire at the first opportune target. For Pete's sake, you still don't have to even really *search* to find people who vocally advocate Bush's arrest and execution for what he did in office! A thick-skin may be a true necessity for prominent Democrats over the next year or two... it would be a shame if this were true, but it is both predictable and understandable.

    This country needs to be united. I have little faith in Obama's ability to lead; I think his charisma is well-documented but actions speak louder than words. I also have next to no desire to see him accomplish much of his agenda, as he and I are ideologically opposed on many issues. But I respect him as the president-elect of this great nation, and I strongly desire to see he, the Democratic leadership, and the Republican leadership working together to deal with problems common to us all – our international image and relationships, our defense and legitimate foreign interests, our weakened economy, and so forth. He *is* President Obama (to be) whether I like it or not – and I sincerely HOPE he leads this country to a better place than where it is today.

    Stop driving the wedge in deeper, people. You hurt yourself as much as the other guy at this point.

    November 6, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. LF

    We humans are none perfect. Team members can "fowl up" things at times and cause great dificulty. A perfect team hardly exist–but a better team can do 'great' working together for the greater good.

    Now that the race is over–let everyone push ahead with the AGENDA for the Nation. No one person can do it all alone. "This is my Country to have and to hold"! This is our Country to do the best that we can. We can now descend from our balconies and go to work for all of the future!

    November 6, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. I voted for the ppl's choice!

    It saddens me to see how ignorant people really are... Grow up republicans... John lost!... End of story! When you can accept defeat will be the day when we can clean up this big mess.

    And to RM: We can clearly tell you were one of those un-educated people who voted for Mccain. It is Prophet.. not profit. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, "My friend"!

    November 6, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. Dan

    I dont really think that republicans are fully to blame or the only ones guilty of hatred during this election. Prior to McCain's win there was much hatred pointed at republican supporters. Its understandable considering how badly Bush did in office. But as a McCain supporter, who never trash talked Obama or anyone based on their views. After all this is the United States, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But everywhere from work, to school, on the streets, at bars, among groups of friends...the sheer mention of voting for McCain would spur nothing but profanity and insults. I think everyone in this country is just insanely stressed about the state of the union, and our future. Everyone is scared and its causing people to lash out at least other, which is understandable. But i think Anne is also right in saying that something from a psychological stand point definately has happened to create all this. Hopefully it's only temporary because even though I believed (my opinion) that McCain was better set for the job, that Obama can give everyone something that will unite us again.

    November 6, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Mike

    With $ 600 million dollars in the bank. I can buy the presidency as well.

    November 6, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  13. Mark L

    I've been called a dirty liberal since reagan and i've lashed out calling anyone opposing me names. let's stop this name calling and find a way to work together. we need to realize our country is in big trouble right now and we need to look for solutions, solutions we can all contribute to finding. we all want the same things out of life. let's do it and do it now.

    November 6, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  14. Grave Stone McPain

    I'm sure we'll hear soon how they had an affair during 'campaign prep'.

    November 6, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  15. Rainy

    What amazes me is that despite all the damage Bush has done to the USA in the past 8 years....over 47 million Americans voted for Mcain/Palin.

    That is the height of lunacy.

    November 6, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  16. Dylan, Los Angeles

    Scheunemann is a lobbyist putz. McCain maybe should have been a little more careful picking his staff and especially his VP.

    November 6, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  17. jt

    started to feeling some fresh air now, after 8 years of Bush and Cheney, OMG, Amen.

    November 6, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  18. Kris

    The Republican party has been shooting itself in the foot for some time and now it has caught up with them. They pander the Christian right, a minority in their party, and they claim to hate government but actively participate in it. They look down on people who move up in life due to "hard work" (isn't that the Republican mantra) as "elitist" once they have accomplished their goals because in reality they adore the legacies (people from a long line of military service, people born into money) who did not have to work for all that they have. The anti-intellectual, extreme right positions, and the "I hate government even though I am part of it" attitude has to be removed from the Republican party if they want to get back on track. The Christian Right needs to realize that they can not turn every biblical principle into public policy. If they choose to live their life a certain way that is fine, but everyone is not Christian and cannot be forced to believe in God. If they think certain behaviors are wrong, they can choose not to partake in them, but you can stop others from partaking in them. I am a Christian and a scientist, and I believe God has given me the gift of intelligence to be used to help others. I have never voted Republican and never will if they continue down this path, and I actually don't think all the ideas of the Republican party are bad. The Republican party really lost its way and there is a lot that needs to be done to find its way back.

    November 6, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  19. V

    Dear GOP, Please I'm begging you. Pretty please with sugar on top, nominate Sarah Palin for President in 2012...And I'd like to thank you in advance for such an easy re-election campaign. P.S. Ya know, the election is over and I still have yet to figure out whether she was an insult or a joke. Thanks guys, you're the best . :-D

    November 6, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  20. Liberal Texan

    The sharks turning on one another. Why is it that Republicans always have to find a scapegoat rather then take the blame for their own failings?

    November 6, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  21. shay

    Good Grief. Get a life, it's over. Time to move on.

    What is done is done and you cannot undo it

    November 6, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  22. In time...

    The US is now a country with a little more than half of its (very impressionable) citizens living in a silly and naive state of unconsciousness and we are now in a potentially very dangerous spot now as a result of these types that simply don't understand government and world affairs. As these types mature and some attitudes shift in the future and more war heroes come home, concerned Americans such as myself and the the other half of the country that still realizes this can take some comfort knowing that soon in time again we'll have a whole new set of maverick types filtering back into civilianship and government offices that have a more realistic view on what is required to keep our country intact and prosperous & our status as world leader in place. These men in the past were referred to as lions (Roosevelt, Truman, Kissinger, Churchhill, Reagan, Bush Sr. to name but a few) and there will be more like them on their way again in time.

    November 6, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  23. Keith in CA

    He was positioning himself with Palin? Why? She's through on the national level. Perhaps after her term as governor is up he can be her co-host on "Good Morning Nome".

    November 6, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  24. Liberal Texan

    People, come on, get a reality check. Palin is wackier than an outhouse rat. She will self-destruct her political career long before 2012. And if she is on the garbage heap of history by they she will go no where with the GOP because the Republican party is going to have to move more to the middle if it is going to have any hope of viability in the next four years. The right-fringe wingnut element - which includes Palin - will have to be exorcised from the party if it hopes to expand its tent enough to bring in the sort of support that will be required to regain the White House. I really think that the bulk of the American electorate has absolutely had it with the hate and misinformation mongering that cost the GOP the election this year. I firmly believe that the Republican party will have to change strategy to broaden its appeal or settle for a minimum of 16 years in national exile.

    November 6, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  25. Jeff

    Palin didn't even know Africa was a continent to hear McCain staffers tell it. Nor did she know what countries were in North America.

    November 6, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
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