(CNN) - She was his running mate in the 2008 presidential election and now Sen. John McCain thinks Sarah Palin can beat President Barack Obama in 2012.
"Of course she can. She can. Now, whether she will or not, whether she'll even run or not, I don't know," the Arizona Republican said on "Fox News Sunday."
"But she certainly is a major factor and I believe she can be very competitive."
While he said she inspires "great passion, particularly among the Republican faithful," he also said her high unfavorable ratings have something to do with the attacks she's sustained in the national media.
"I've never seen anyone as mercilessly attacked and relentlessly attacked as I have seen Sarah Palin in the last couple of years," McCain said.
Palin's public flirtation with a bid for the White House reached new levels this week with the announcement of a bus tour that begins Sunday in Washington, D.C. The former Alaska governor has declared the "One Nation" trip an opportunity to "educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles, in order to promote the fundamental restoration of America."
But McCain acknowledged the campaign will be a "roller coaster" before the Republicans find their nominee.
When asked about the chances of his 2008 rival, Mitt Romney, winning the GOP presidential nomination, McCain said his biggest problem is "Romneycare," the health care plan Romney signed into law while he was governor of Massachusetts, and which bears resemblance to the current national law.
"I think he realizes that and is trying to address it," McCain said. "Whether he will address it successfully or not, I don't know. But he certainly has a good ground campaign in places like New Hampshire and others where he's really - you know, having been around the block once is always more helpful for next time."
– On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.
This dude is a real idiot...I mean "Idiot without any kind of Brain". Sarah Palin is a total nerd, and idiot. o.k, America is not that dumb....and totally uneducated...o.k.
Here we go again with old John. Back at it again with this partisan garbage. John, PALIN CANNOT BEAT PRESIDENT OBAMA. You may feel you have some loyalty requirement for this b!imbo but there is a limit to what you can say. I notice when the Repubs talk on Faux News they always puff out their chest and speak loudly like the dog behind the fence. Clown!
Lets do the math. Obama beat McCain. therefore in order for Palin to beat obama, she must have better message, oratory skill, charisma, and experience than McCain. I'm not a big fan of McCain, but he shouldnt sell himself so short. I highly doubt it.
That man is afraid of what Palin will say about HIM if he doesn't support her. She is a very vindictive person.
The republicans will tell you ANYTHING to get elected, and (as witnessed over the last few months) go after women's rights, voting rights, medicare, medicaid, social security once they have the power.
They WILL take everything from the poor and middle class and give it to the wealthy. It's always been that way, it will always be that way.
To vote republican goes against every kindness that Jesus preached in his time on earth.
He's off his meds again.
of course McCain is going to say this since palin came down and supported him in Arizona even though her Tea Party bunch and "Joe the Plumber" had turned against him. You really didn't expect him to speak against Palin, that what he has his daughter and wife for and they do it just fine.
He proves everyday that the people of Arizona are clueless. They keep electing this idiot to office just because he crashed four planes and was a hostage. Other than that this old fool has done nothing for America. You only see him on TV when there a war about to start. He hates peace and will send our kids to die in any war just because.
I wish he would just man up and admit he made a terrible mistake in choosing Palin. She is an embarrassment to the GOP. Sarah is not only a joke, but she is actually the joke. The woman is completely delusional.
Liberals and democrats running scared again??? If she was anything like these La La liberals describe she would not be such a subject of debate. I also resent the elitist education thing> If education were so important we would not be in the mess we are-created by some very EDUCATED people over the last 4 administrations and congresses
sarah palin CAN beat obama.... in her DREAMS LOL!
DELUSIONAL! I am so-o-o glad this boob isn't the President and Sarah isn't the VP. The Repubs just keep shooting themselves in the foot every time they talk about Sarah even having the intelligence to deal with foreign and domestic issues. Her ego can't solve our problems created under that last administration.
Osama will be defeated in 2012!
This woman is just an idiot plain and simple. However....there are a lot of stupid people in this country...just look at the Tea Party and she has become a public figure...mostly a bad one, but none the less people know who she is and it wouldn't surprise me if she made it a close race due to the morons who can't read who would vote for this pig...and thanks a lot, John for bringing this dope to the national stage so I now have to listen to that shrill voice for the rest of my life.
I think it is called senility.
the McCain/Palin deal reminds me of a scientist that created a monster, gave it life and then the monster became more bigger and powerful than it's creator. The creator is now afraid to go against it. Publically I doubt if John McCain will ever talk against Sarah Palin, because for one thing that would be an admission of a mistake.
Probably thinks he and Palin still have a chance to win the 2008 election also.
Geez !!! I knew McCain was a whack job. But my god, he's as delusional as Palin. I'm beginning to wonder if he 's playing with a full deck anymore.
diridi wrote, "This dude is a real idiot..."
Correction: This is dude is scary, senile idiot who makes Charlie Sheen look like a winner.
Consider the medium. He's speaking on Fox News. It's probably a requirement for appearing on the show.
Fox News will never say anything negative about their little darling political consultant from Alaska.
GI Joe made a good point. The hypocrisy from the republicans has always made me wonder. The tend to be religious but they have no compassion for the needy. With them its every man for him or herself.
@RLA Resenting education? Hehe. Too much! But not surprising for a Palin supporter.
One loser endorsing another...................
You could argue that, in his one 'bold stroke' of selecting Palin as his running mate, McCain did more to contribute to the dumbing-down of political discourse in this country than anyone in post-WWII America.
That he continues to defend this faux-populist nonsense shows how arrogant he is.
Let's see....a majority of Repubs would not vote for her. Almost no independents would vote for her and certainly no Democrat would vote for her. That leaves SC, TX and AZ as the only possibly states she could win (that's a joke). Yet the Sen seems to think that she can beat Pres Obama. With that completely ridiculous statement McCain thought he could be president? Thank God he did not win. What a disaster his admin would have been.
Old John has lost his mind. Does he have any idea that Palin lost him the election?? I feel that this "bus tour" she is on is an attempt to take away from the negative books that are being written about her, and there has to be some truth to what has been put in print for all to see. Another book will be out in September, and that one by Joe McGinnis will be the one I buy. She is over-exposed all ready with her "fire in my belly" bs, just take some Tums and Shut-up, I for one have had enough of you.