October 11th, 2009
12:01 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain weighs in on Palin in 2012

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.

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soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. MONGO,Tx

    Thank you Senator, I think I can see another Democratic victory from my house! And I didnt need Katie Couric to realize it!!!!

    October 11, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. John

    McCain, the carpetbagging politician, thinks stealing elections, shoving an unqualified candidate down his party's throat and continuing to lie about her impact, her relevancy and her brainpower is a good idea at his advanced age?

    Only a politician....

    October 11, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Carl

    I live in Arizona and I KNOW JUAN McCain.I too think THAT Juan should go,but not for the reasons that some people might think.Juan is a RINO and a ILLEGAL ALIEN LOVER..Yes I too beleive that JUAN will say and do anything to get re-elected.As for Sara Palin she might not have the credentials for president " AND YOU THINK THAT OBAMA DOES!!!"but she would probably do a better job than what we have now for president.

    October 11, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Meka

    If Palin comes close to the White House, WE ALL NEED TO HAVE OUR PASSPORT'S READY!

    October 11, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. OBNJ

    History will rememer Couric as a women who saved America from Palin's disaster.

    October 11, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Death Assurance Companies

    John is the hero that turned into coward in 2000 and didnt have the guts to stand up to the neocons.Schmidt is right ,she will never be more than the president of South Carolina.

    October 11, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. chris mchale

    The error of epic proportions was diluting our focus in Afghanistan by our invasion of Iraq. Too late, Senator McCain

    October 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Just Me

    I am tired of this ongoing Palin story CNN can't seem to shake. Everyday, it's Palin this Palin that, or some version of it. Today, it's McCains take on Palin in 2012. Just madness over at CNN if u ask me.

    October 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Jack in Florida

    She is a formidable force with those that have an IQ of a moron......anyone with half a brain knows she is an idiot...... If the Republican Party wants to win in 2012, they need to find a candidate that is middle of the road and appeals to the independents and get as far away from those nut job, evil, right wingers like the Limbaugh's, Beck's and Hannity's of the world.

    October 11, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Paul H

    These are normal honest comments. Why have a headline that tries to make it look worse than it is.

    October 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. King Kong

    Palin? Hahahahahahahahahaha!!!! What a JOKE! Only the foolish Jesus FREAKS who scream about Jesus coming soon would stand for someone as dumb as she!

    October 11, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. b

    Why are you libs so afraid of Pailin, I just don't get it. Is it because she represents the average american and isn't an elite, or is it she believes americans should lead their own lifes and not the government telling us what to do everday and what is best for us?

    October 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Hey McCain. Way to straddle the fence! If you chose her out of every other American to be VP (and perhaps president) why don't you choose her NOW??

    What has changed?

    Oh, we know. You now realize she is a fraud and you sold out. C'mon. Admit it.

    October 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. merle

    The Republican party needs to go back to political science 101. First it was conservatives calling Obama a Nazi and a Communist in the same sentence and now McCain, of all people, is quoting Mao tse Tung's most famous speech "Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom"

    October 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. Mike-WA

    Makedup caked faces and fake breasts ... Now that what we need in the White House. Evangelical Christianity has made a bizarre evolution.

    October 11, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Brad

    Its always interesting to see people bash Sarah Palin and discredit all the good she has done for the state of Alaska. She is the one that broke the "good-ole boy" system that was suffocating Alaska politics. What has President Obama done before he was elected? Vote present on most of his decisive, decision making as a Senator. President Obama is apart of Chicago's political elite, i.e. corrupt politicians. I'm glad Chicago didn't get the Olympics. Why, because a city hosting the Olympics gets saddled with tremendous debt and barely used landmarks. Because Obama's Chicago cronies would be the same people that profit from the government funding to make Olympic Village. Sounds like a kick-back to me.
    McCain made a sound choice in Sarah Palin, she has a solid belief and strong faith that our country was built upon. She is not an empty suit, who gives great speeches, lets others do the work for him, blames others for his short-comings, and happens to sit behind the President's Desk.

    October 11, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Doc in Virginia

    CNN stands for CANT stop reloading NON NEWS. This McCain-Palin lovefest is non news. Enough trying to get a pearl from this dead oyster.

    October 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. CommonSenseRules

    McCain's folks gambled that Palin could attract the far right. McCain was desperate, gambled, and lost the gamble. Meeting with a political wild card for a couple of hours is no way to select a vice presidential candidate.

    Not to worry. With the state of the U.S. electorate's political amnesia and abysmal lack of historical reflection, the pendulum surely will swing, again. Before you know it, it'll be 'morning in America' redux. You betcha!

    October 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. andrewstl

    if john cant say she is his choice the next time around i say that speaks volumes. i wish he would take the gloves and exposes her for what she really is. and that is a huge joke

    October 11, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Fed Up

    McCain's campaign was afraid she was stealing his thunder. She wasn't being a good little vp candidate. He needed someone to help him out. He certainly wasn't doing very well on his own, with his campaign advisers "helping".

    October 11, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. kcl

    Sad that McCain has to fade out his career with the Palin choice tainting his legacy, but do you really expect him to admit to the error in a public forum? I'd like to hear the John/Cindy discussions.

    October 11, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. mj

    A senile old man and a ding bat. What a combo. Just the opinion of a 64 year old female.

    October 11, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. LacrosseMom

    Those who think that "come 2012 Palin would be a formidable force" are insane. We've already had a president (Bush) who was an idiot, who was arrogant and his attitude was downright egotistical. Even his own parents did not think he should run for the presidency!

    Palin, is not presidential material. She is an idiot, who appeals to our lowest comment denominator. Keep dreaming, America has already been FOOLED once!

    October 11, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Stu- SW Florida

    Oh paleeze McCain... be honest for once. You really can't be serious about Palin. A "formidable force in the Republican Party"??? :)

    Face it... the only reason YOU selected her was for her looks and her sex. There's nothing between those ears.

    If you really had to choose a female running mate, because you thought that was your key, it wouldn't have taken much longer to find one considerably smarter with more intellectual curiosity than Palin could even hope to have in her fingernail.

    Get your head out of your butt, be a man, and admit it. You let your party down... big time!

    October 11, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. james

    I like Mccain. He's a good man.

    October 11, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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