WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain is openly admitting that there were tensions between his former campaign manager Steve Schmidt and those close to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s one-time White House running mate. Still, McCain calls Palin “a formidable force” in the GOP and remains open to the possibility of Palin being his party’s presidential nominee in 2012.
“With a high-pressure situation, there's always tensions that develop within campaigns,” McCain says in a wide-ranging interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. ”And there were clearly tensions between Steve Schmidt and people in the Palin camp.”
Still, McCain said, Palin was an asset to his presidential campaign.
“There are fundamental facts … that cannot be denied,” McCain adds. “When we selected or asked Sarah Palin to be my running mate, it energized our party. We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed. And she still is a formidable force in the Republican Party.”
“I have great affection for her,” McCain continues. But “did we always agree on everything in the past? Will we in the future? No.”
While McCain said he could not predict what would happen in the next presidential election, the Arizona Republican says he is open to many potential nominees for his party - including Palin.
“Look let's let a thousand flowers bloom. Let's come up with a winning combination the next time. … let's all go through the process, rather than condemning anybody's chances,” he says, reacting to recent comments about Palin by Schmidt. “And I'm happy to say we have some great people out there, and Sarah is one of them.”
Asked about Palin’s prospects in 2012, Schmidt said he did not think Palin could be a winning candidate in the next presidential election.
“And, in fact, were she to be the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result,” Schmidt told CNN National Correspondent John King in an October 2 interview.
Asked about Schmidt’s comments, a Palin spokeswoman said the former vice presidential nominee would address the tensions within the McCain-Palin campaign in her forthcoming book, "Going Rogue,” which is due to hit bookstore shelves next month.
When McCain selected Palin as his running mate is the moment I left the GOP after 35 years. The woman is totally not qualified...not to mention I question her intelligence. Seeing Russia from my house?
With John McCain picking Sarah Palin for his running mate
I don't think I would believe him as he says we need 40,000
more soliders for war. Bad choice!
I frankly do not understand the frequently used Republican comment that those who criticize Sarah Palin do so because they are afraid of her. By that standard I have an overwhelming fear of my children chewing with their mouths open...
Thank you John, for showing some class which is so rare coming from politicians these days.
A "formidable force?" HAHAHAHAHAhahahahahehehehehehe... gasp... thanks, I needed that laugh!
Pandora's box, and you opened it.
I'm a former supporter of Sarah Palin, but if she couldn't handle the heat in Juneau, there is no reason to think she would fair any better in D.C.
You've had your fifteen minutes, Sarah. Stick with fishing. You never should have quit your post.
As an independent, I find it hard to believe that intelligent voters would even consider the former Gov. Palin. What world are you people living in ?
i wont bash Palin because i don't know her. i will say that i thought McCain lost the election when he chose her as his running mate. she may have given him a bump in the polls but she is way too polarizing; choosing her lost McCain the swing vote and the election.
Just the thought of running Palin shows us how low the collective IQ of the Republican party has dropped. Didn't they get enough of the mindless Bush? This is so sad.
Shame on you cnn for lettting poster "grayson's anatomy" spill such vile hatred. I thought cnn reviewed what is typed in these blogs. cnn , you are as guilty as the posters spreading all this hate. We True Americans, not the posters like graysons anatomy, really do care about our country and need to get it back . Vote in 2010 and 2012 to bring our country back. Please don't vote party line , vote for whats right.