(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.
I fail to see why voters continue to elect politicians who are obviously senile.
McCain, Perry, and Palin need to seal the border. There is a organized invasion. Mexico, Guatamela, Colombia, El Salvador and Hispanola. McCain is old , senile and needs to retire. Perry and Palin are right wing nuts.
Plain & simple. This is why he lost in 2008. Too bad he hasn't learnt anything since then
What a feeble minded old man. Have you forgotten the damage she did to your campaign? As far as the "media abuse" goes, the woman invites abuse, it would be rude not to accept!
I hope for every American's sake he is dead wrong.
No wonder McCain wouldn't release his medical records. He's feeble-minded.
Sarah Palin is not attacked unless she opens her mouth. Everything she is attacked for is legitimate reasons.Do you really expect that she should be allowed to spew her soundbites and lies and not be held accountable. She talks about freedom but hates freedom when her lies are dismantled.She is not Presidential material and it is very wrong to pretend that she is suited for the biggest job in the free world.She will not put forth viable solutions,and will not allow her views to be challanged by freedom lovers and does everything she can to sheild herself behind Twitter and Fox so everyone has the freedom to take her views to task but she will not answer questions outside of her controllers box. Sarah Palin is a brand not a person.
"I've never seen anyone as mercilessly attacked and relentlessly attacked as I have seen Sarah Palin in the last couple of years," Gee John! What about the way your party has demonized Obama?
This guy senile and stupid to say Palin can beat Obama in 2012. I think over the years McCain is losing his ability to think clearly and it is time for him to retire from politics. May be he is trying to please Fox boses. Ask his wife or daughter , they will tell all about palin and her chances of winning in 2012. This guy is old coot.
I think McCain was quoted wrong, he must have said....I've never seen anyone attack others as badly as Sarah Palin has in the past two years.....my God, is he deaf?.
I guess he believes that the 65% that say they wouldn't even consider voting for Pail are all going to stay from the polls
Not going to happen. She's too polarizing, not to mention bordering on a cartoonish characature. Aside from the fact that she is not a real political force in terms of expertise, she has no national political experience and has demonstrated her lack of knowledge of global politics. If she runs, she'll be garroted by Obama. This coming from a fairly conservative Republican (Myself). She can't win and shouldn't run–it will be a modern-day unprecedented disaster for the Republican party.
Palin was one of the biggest reasons why McCain lost. Moderate Republicans either jumped ship or voted for Obama just to keep Palin away from the White House.
Oh my God...this guy is suffering from some sort of dementia with delusional side effects. Quick...somebody call his doctor.
Senator McCain has completely lost it. Your father and your grandfather Senator McCain, they would be terribly ashamed of you. I doubt if the Naval Academy even recognizes you anymore. Something terrible apparently happened to your brain while you were at the Hanoi Hilton.
McCain was wrong to pick Palin to be his running mate. He is wrong now thinking Palin can beat Obama.
The media not only doesn't attack Palin, it's their rabid devotion to her that keeps her hanging on to the narcissist belief that a poorly educated, shrill perpetual victim could actually lead this country.
Sarah is now unpopular in Alaska–she wouldn't even beat Obama here. Her high disapprovals in AK have nothing to do with how she is portrayed in the media. We know her as the consumate opportunist,a self-serving, dishonest politician who was secretive and unethical as governor and was responsible for a failed gas pipeline plan and a huge increase in taxes on our most important business-the oil and gas industry–which has discouraged more oil production in AK. Don'tbellieve what Palin says about her record–check the facts. Alaskans know.
The fact is we switch our votes from John Mc Cain to Obama because of Palin
Here is a man claiming the woman that cost him the 2008 election can win in 2012. He's jus praying that McCain / Palin 2008 will become Palin / McCain 2012. This is from a man that doesn't even know how many homes they own. This man really needs to stop smoking the Mexican stuff he is smoking.
McCain nose must be a mile long by now. To tell that collosial lie he has to feel some guilt. Or maybe he wants to pay back the Republican party for making her his running mate and assure his losing to President Obama.;
If Palin were to get the Republican nomination America would be left with absolutely no choice during the general election. Unless we accept the fact our President could be a moron armed with nothing more than a crude list of right-wing sound bites, President Obama would remain our only option. I'm good with taht – since his mature and thoughtful leadership is exactly what we need. We could never survive another folksy character who appeals to the uneducated masses, but has no strength of character and no concern for the middle and lower classes.
Uh-oh. McCain is sounding delusional. Time to step aside. Palin is no threat and in no way scary to all the non-extreme conservatives. What have people agog is the fact this arrogant woman could have the gall and lack of intelligence to think she could be the president. She is completely uneducated, unintelligent, inexperienced and unqualified for the office. And oh yeh, she's a quitter too. Apparently everyone knows it except for her and her minion of kool-aid drinkers. She could never win. She is the reason that McCain lost by such a huge margin....and that was when Palin supposedly had good poll numbers. Now they are abysmal and she hasn't a prayer of being anything other than the joke she is.
McCain is revisiting his old pipe dreams. This woman is an idiot plain and simple. However....there are a lot of stupid people in this country.. Having said that, I will be surprised if she even gets the nomination as wise heads will prevail at the nomination.
Oh please... as if McCain doesn't know that she tanked his campaign. I guess that just proves Reagan's 11th commandment: Thou shalt never speak ill of another Republican.