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. JIlli

    It's a little disingenuous to blame their failure completely on the tanking of the economy. It certainly didn't help, but selecting Palin as the VP candidate had as much or more influence on their trajectory. Selecting Palin was seen by many as a failure in judgment on McCains part, and Palin did nothing but cement that notion.

    October 11, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Dixie

    Sorry, but no, Sarah does NOT represent the average American. Most of us , if not all of us are much more intelligent than she could ever hope to be! (and how may of us would even entertain thought that we could serve) I want people in the executive office to possess more intelligence and integrity than the "average" person. Sarah is that proverbial "elephant" in the living room, everyone is trying to ignore!

    October 11, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Partison Politics is dividing our country

    If Sarah Palin is only a small fraction of what some of these posts make her out to be... What have the Dems to fear?

    It seems that those who denigrade her and spout som much hate – protest too loud...

    To the Women Libers whose FALSE organizations – have nothing good to say about her...

    It's time for you to go back to the kitchen where you must think you belong...

    October 11, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Mike O'Brien

    My biggest 'fear' about former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska is.., if she does win in 2012 for the Presidency, that she would 'quit' in mid-term or sooner. Former Governor Sarah Palin should 'not' have resigned or quit as Governor of Alaska. It has really left a 'stigma' upon her and people will not easily forget. America's don't like people that quit. Mike in Montana

    October 11, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Conrad

    neither will ever be in the White House

    October 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. CNN censored 100% of the time

    Who is on CNN's moderating board, ACORN? Anything that isn't pro-Democrat and anti-Republic is omitted. The Palin haters are losers who think they are smarter than her, but yet has never held any local or state office. It takes more than being a "community organizer" to be a leader. Now that America has been informed of what a "community organizer" really means; I don't think anybody in the future will ever use that term again and think it lends any creditablilty (ACORN, again).
    Keep calling us racists and you will definitely turn us into one.

    October 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey mj...
    their campaign did remind me of "All In the Family".....
    Where's Jefferson... the head of the RNC?

    October 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. kgeukes Michigan

    Bassman–She is a know nothing kind of person that tries to use big words that she doesn't understand or know how to pronounce...my 13 year old grandson has more knowledge and common sense than Sarah Palin...Jonh McCain probably won't be re-elected so now he's saying everything he can to get to Sarah's base in case some of them live in AZ. Most of the people in Alaska Thank God that she's gone!!! I have a good friend that lives there and she tells me they couldn't wait to get rid of her...
    Who the hell are you trying to kid??

    October 11, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Jefe

    Had McCain become president, or should Romney, Huckabee, or just about any other Republican, I would be ok with it (though I'd prefer to keep Dems in power at least until the deficit is back to surplus). But if Sarah Palin, with ties to radical, anti-American organizations in Alaska, should ever become president, we will need the CIA to step in and stop her, and its just going to get messy. Her husband openly hates America, and she has demonstrated that she clearly supports the AIP America-hating group. If Bush were still president, Sarah and Todd would likely be in GITMO right now. "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists".

    October 11, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. ross berg

    Even if you only half believe the exit polls of the swing voters in the '08 election, Sarah Palin's being on the ticket was given as the reason a large number of them decided to vote Democratic. Thus, any chance McCain had of winning went out the window with her on the ticket.

    In fairness to McCain he nor anyone else could have forseen the disasterous Katie Couric interview in advance but that performance and others nearly as bad certainly sealed the deal for Obama.

    It's crystal clear now with the benefit of hindsight that selecting Palin was by far his biggest single error of the campaign, and a fatal one at that.

    Her subsequent quitting her job has driven her further down in the view of independant voters and virtually eliminated any prospect of her being a serious national candidate.

    Too bad as she's certainly a delight to behold. Too bad there's not some brains with the beauty!!!

    IMHO

    October 11, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. sharon

    i'm a 62 year woman, married, with grown children. in other words, ordinary. if sarah palin were to become president of the united states, i WILL become an ex-pat, that's how dangerous i believe she would be for this country. i hated travelling abroad when dubya was pres., no one could understand how the u.s. had voted in such a leader. i would not even begin to know how to respond to the same question if it were about s.p.

    October 11, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Charles Williams

    Regarding Senator McCain, Replublicans, and media comments, I find it hard to understand why the dialogue only centers around military recommendations (i.e., sending more troops).

    There is not nearly enough discussion about the importance or need for diplomacy, etc. In my opinion, the nation and the media is still under the brainwashing eft by President Bush of a single strategy and approach, which was more troops.

    I believe President Obama is correct to stand his ground and is working in the best interest of America to take the time to hear all recommendation from all sides (military and diplomatic), and work to create a comprehensive strategy that does not abuse/waste our national treasure (American blood).

    Viet Nam Era Veteran.

    Charles

    October 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Bob

    Bonnie, that was hillarious, because I actually closed my eyes and
    pictured it.

    October 11, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Lost in space

    Oh God! What on Earth are they thinking? I'm sure if the Republicans have Palin as their 2012 candidate for President, pretty much every American voter could see that likely outcome answer from their backyards. lol Yah betchya!

    October 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. beverly

    Sen McCain is being very nice to the ex-gov. of Alaska. I beleive he lost because of her. He gained in the polls in the beginning of his announcement that he chose Palin but as time went on the American people saw she was not V. Pres. material let alone become Pres. if something happened to McCain. As far as I'm concerned let her keep writing ghost books. For someone who has a degree in journalism she can't write or speak. What school did she attend????

    October 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Sammie

    So she is a quitter,so she quits because being govenor was costing her hundreds of thousands in legal fees. For wearing artic cat on a jacket,among these so called ethics violations.I guess in America only the rich can be govenors.As well as costing her state huge cash in time and resources.Sebilious quits to join Obamas team,yet she is a hero to libs.Palin quits for the reason I stated,as well as to join the opposition to Obamas team, so she is a quitter?Why should she stay on go a mill or 2 in debt,work with a hostile legislature that became that only after she ran for vp.A legislature that votes a 50,000 per year pay raise despite her objections in tough times.Why should she stay on in her state under siege by Obamas ethics filer bloggers.They had nothing better to do than file stupid frivilous complaints to try and bankrupt her?She did the right thing to pass the ball to someone who would not be harrassed.So to all you who say she is a quitter,you should quit your stupidity.Go read about what has being going on in her state since she came back last fall.However you all must agree only the rich should govern,those who can afford lawyers to fight things like she accepted a hockey stick kids singed,so thats an ethics violation.All but one she introduced herself, have being dropped gee no wonder.

    October 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Emma

    Palin may have been electric and folks were enthusiastic about her. Remember, they were enthusiastic Republicans, not Independents. Actually Democrats were rather happy about her being McCain's running mate because they could see some of her limitations. And when a beautiful woman comes on the scene and badmouths the liberals, the newness of her presence has something to do with her adding life to the Republican's campaign.

    October 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Carl

    Here's a prediction you can take to the bank... John McCain will NEVER endorse Sarah Palin for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Only if, by pure accident, she should become the GOP nominee in 2012...it will be WITHOUT McCain's prior support and approval. Her nomination would then get only a lukewarm welcome from McCain. Palin is a train wreck for the Republicans. McCain knows that... McCain's campaign manager got it right...not only would the GOP lose the White House again...but Obama could well win re-election in a landslide...bringing more Dems into the Congress on his coat tails!

    October 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. ronie patrick

    Sarah Palin is a thing of the past. Lets leave her in the past for she would be the laughing stock of the entire world if she ran for anything at all.

    October 11, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    In his desperate attempt to become president, McCain sold his soul in 2006 when he agreed to speak at Jerry Falwell's "university". That was the turning point, when he became Karl Rove's puppet – and it culminated in allowing Sarah Palin to be chosen as his running mate.

    It's very sad that a man who had the fortitude to withstand 5.5 years of imprisonment as a POW under horrible conditions could be brought so low by his own ambitions.

    October 11, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Big John

    McCain admit it... she's dumber than a box of rocks. Katie proved it with a simple question, not a trick question, just an innocent question.
    She quits as governor?!?!?!?!
    Seriously, she's not qualified to be in charge of the latrine cleaning crew for Wasilla. President??? NEVER!!!

    October 11, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. SO RIGHT

    I really like John McCain, but the fact that he picked Sarah Palin made me question his rationale'. Too bad, really, because had he made a better choice, Obama would NOT be President. Just waiting for his tax & spend ways to be up in 2012.

    October 11, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Alex

    There is no way the Republicans will win if Palin is either the presidential or VP candidate. Who would you rather see sitting across the table from Putin or the Iranian president? Say what you like about Obama; disagree with him or his policies all you want; hate the guy if you must – it cannot be denied that he's 100 times more presidential than Palin. If the GOP must nominate a female candidate (I don't mean to make that sound like a bad thing) there are plenty of infinitely more qualified - and reliable - female candidates available, some of whom might even give Obama a run for his office. Palin's decision to quit as governor destroyed her reliability and also squandered potentially three years of experience gaining. She's old news – the GOP and McCain should concentrate on finding an heir presumptive who might actually have a chance to beat Obama.

    October 11, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. erin

    I hope she DOES run in 2012...it'll be the easiest Democratic win in HISTORY!

    October 11, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Mark V

    Palin as President yeah! after 6 months we would be praying for Bush to come back and save the country.

    October 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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