(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.
McCain knows that the only fighting chance Palin has is if she can muster enough dough from the Koch's, Wall Street, Big Oil and other corporate crooks.
And if you want to comment on vicious attacks: the President has been consistently and viciously attacked and lied about by all comers. McCain is delusional if he thinks Palin has suffered worse.
Oh! John! is everything impaired already??? Can't you ask yourself why having her as VP running mate did not work out! How come now with no any effort she has made, she can jump one step up and win the presidency?? You need to swallow another pill.
She's been so continually attacked because she just won't go away. Dan Quayle didn't stick around did he. Hardly a peep from Al Gore until I saw him with a beard.. But Sarah, , Sarah loses big time but she's still there. Just doesn't know when to quit. :( More afraid of Michelle Bachman though. You can't control her. Sarah because she doesn't know much hopefully there'll be someone with long strings pulling her mouth. But she has just as much chance of running her mouth as Joe Biden used to. Heck I've never seen a President attacked so quickly on trying to turn the economy around in 2 1/2 years after 8 years of damage. Hey you gain weight really fast. It doesn't take the same time to lose it.
This old fool brought us this air head cheerleader out of obscurity and made her and her family rich. We were all hopeful she would just go away, but with idiots like McCain encouraging her she will be back. Absolutely no chance of winning but will divert attention to competent candidates.
If John McCain would have picked someone else, he would be President today, but he didn't his advosprs gave him bad information so he lost. I can't agree with Sen. McCain, because Sarah Palin won't be able to handle the heat while being President. Look what she did in Alaska she resigned as Governor. A lot of people don't like Sarah Palin and feel she does not have what it takes to be President. I have to agree. She should stay a power broker and get who she wants get elected. In order for her to compete with Obama she would have to raise 75 to 100 million dollars a month to compete. The election is 18 months away a lot can happen. The number of Republicians who want to be President is dwindling down. If Sarah Palin is waiting to see who drops out he chances are still not that good. She should stick to her speech tour and make all the money she can and then ride off into the sun set. She has not chance in winning the Republician nomination.
LMAO! Geez, John, that is so funny. Oh wait – did he mean to be serious? Oh well it's still hilarious! LMAO!
Seriously though there are polls out there that even Dennis Kucinich would beat her. I mean – come on – Dennis Kucinich! If you can't beat Dennis Kucinich, you're not beating anyone!
All Sarah has to do is keep pointing out the lies of the dimwit, sometimes you can fool a lot of people but you can't fool them all the time. The American people will tie a can on the z o o escapee.
Thank you for nothing McCain. Palin is the worse tragedy this country has seen since Pearl Harbor and Twin-Towers. She should frighten all intelligent people, Her lack of intelligence but pushes forward is evidence someone is controlling her, possibly the Koch guys. Trying to take over the Country with not only their money, but power.
According to Quinnipiac University's polling Obama is well positioned to crush Republicans next year.
If this moron wins the Presidency I'm moving my family to Europe! It would be the last nail in the coffin thus burying the US as a lost cause in the eyes of developed nations and the world at large. Of course I'm a pragmatist...I honestly didn't think the American people would be stupid enough to elect W for a first term let alone a second...
McCain must be deaf, dumb, and blind if he has no better understanding of why Sarah Palin is being "attacked" than he is letting on. The woman is a huckster in the first degree and most of us have know it for a long, long time.
What a bozo. His brain is breaking down, needs help.
McCain you lost the election because you picked this un-qualified lady just to get Hillary voters in your camp.
The media and libs love McCain until he says something with which they disagree.
McCain is truly inferior to Palin in every single way. However he is completely right in this one instance. This country needs Sarah Palin as our next and greatest President. McCain knows he will never be president. Men will never be president and vice-president after President Sarah Palin!
Poor John. Dementia has set in!! I was a real fan of his until he chose Sweet Sarah–he then lost all credibility. He wanted to be President so badly that he gave in to the Dark Side and chose someone totally inappropriate to be VP. As an Independent Obama supporter, I would love to see her run. She will mess up the primaries so badly for her party. She will never be its nominee...but I think she knows that. This is all about filling her coffers with $$$ and having some say in who the party does nominate.
John, what have you been smoking?
Elder drug abuse never gets enough coverage in the press. We all know he picked Palin so he could throw an election he knew he could not win.
McCain obviously has not been paying attention to the attacks on our president. I wonder if he can even say "birther."
No Palin can't.
Yes WE can...
If the Obama worshipers posting here weren't threatened by the prospects of Sara Palin beating their messiah, they wouldn't continually be tripping over themselves to demonize her. Unlike Obama, Palin is a patriot, who truly loves America, and our constitution. Contrary to your baseless rants, Palin is an extremely competent person, having successfully governed a state, while raising a family. Obama's credentials consist of voting present 125 times, and attending an anti-American, racist church for TWENTY YEARS. The American people are sick and tired of Obama's failed policies, which have resulted in a ruined economy, skyrocketing prices for everything, home values dropping, massive inflation, and sending billions of OUR dollars to Islamic countries who hate us. Sarah Palin would make a much better President than the empty suit, know as Barack Obama.
SAVE AMERICA ... DUMP OBAMA IN 2012 !!!
McCain served his country well in Vietnam. This is NOT meant to be a rude or sarcastic comment. I am sorry to say, but I think McCain should get a CT scan of his head. It makes me wonder if his facial cancer has returned, and possibly gone to his brain, which is not uncommon. Hi remarks don't seem to be well thought out. Hope someone close to him gets him to a doctor soon.
LMAO!! There's NO way in hell that the republican party would even NOMINATE this joke of a 'politician' (Palin) after the disaster she's been the last few years... let along the possibility of her actually WINNING!? Right. Once again, John McCain proves how out of touch he is with the country and with reality. The least ridiculous possibility for the existence of his comments (above) is he's required to pretend she has a shot since she was his running mate.
And pacchardon, your comment about McCain saying Palin was "mercilessly attacked" :
"Gee John! What about the way your party has demonized Obama."
That's spot on! Funny how amnesia sets in when it's convenient for them.
"Of course she can. She can. Now, whether she will or not... I don't know" Duh. Anybody that runs technically "can" win. I buy a lotto ticket therefore I "can" win. So he's basically just kissing - to appeal to the Fox crowd.
I used to think McCain was one of the few repubs I could vote for until he chose that farce of a "running mate" Sarah Palin! Now I think he's either just a doddering old fool trying desperately to hang on to his little piece of power until he tops it or he's crazy like a fox and determined to bring down the GOP in a manner similar to the way they had him smeared during his first Presidential run against that even bigger moron, W! Either way, that woman is a blight not just on her "party" but on the country as a whole. She's a first class quitter, loser and IDIOT and anyone who supports her is just as vacuous and vapid as she is.