McCain: Palin can beat Obama
May 29th, 2011
10:38 AM ET
7 years ago

McCain: Palin can beat Obama

(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 and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Critical Thinker

    Howard aka Palin worshipper: She governed a state until she got tired of explaining her non-sensical statements and decided to make more money off books and reality TV. Yes, she sounds real patriotic and competent. "smdh*

    It's amazing how people allow hatred to guide them away from logic and common sense...

    May 29, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. LiLa

    With all due respect, Senator McCain has lost it if he thinks America will elect Sarah Palin to anything other than president of the NRA.

    May 29, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Joe

    OK. It's official. The man is utterly senile.

    May 29, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. newt

    I saw the title in the link and thought he would be apologizing to the nation for having unleashed this nightmare.
    The GOP are Satan's ambassadors on earth

    May 29, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Nick San Diego

    This guy is rapidly losing it. The longer he hangs around the less credible he becomes. A man once held aloft, slowly sinking into irrelevance

    May 29, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Sam

    John McCain is a Manchurian Candidate. The Vietcong brainwashed him all those years in captivity to destroy American democracy. The result, Sarah Palin.

    May 29, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. John

    Look carefully at what he said:

    "Of course she can. She can. Now, whether she will or not, whether she'll even run or not, I don't know,"

    CAN does not mean WILL. I think all he was saying is, yes it is POSSIBLE she could beat the President. The big question, as always is WILL she beat him if she runs... Remember when Thomas Dewey was the next President of the United States?? He COULD be Truman, but did he?

    May 29, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Indy

    Palin is most famous for:
    Losing the election for John McCain
    Death Panels
    Crosshairs Campaign
    Liar of the year 2009
    Liar of the Year 2010
    Ruined thirty years of work on the Alaskan Pipeline Project
    Guilty of Abuse of power
    Guilty of expense fraud
    Worst Governor in Alaskan history
    20 mill debt as Mayor of Wasilla

    May 29, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. GI Joe


    Yeah, well he thought he could beat Obama too......Palin is beloved by her minions but by the majority of voters not so much. If she is the nominee and for her to have a snowball's chance to win the Republicans will have to come up with a way to disenfranchise 3/4 of legal voters.....
    Susan – they're already doing that in Wisconsin. The new republican governors are working very hard to disenfranchise a LOT of voters in this country. Be very careful who you put in State and Local Government. We are losing on women's rights and voter's rights AS WE SPEAK.

    May 29, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. JJ

    Still as deluded an old f@rt as ever. LOL!

    May 29, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. bobcat2u

    The reason McCain is talking up Palin is because he seceretly respects President Obama, and wants him to win another term. But he can't let his cohorts know it for fear of losing his seat. So he knows if Palin enters, Obama wins.

    May 29, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. the situation

    LOL! What else could you think this old man would say! Remember if it wasn't for McShame, American or for that matter the world wouldn't have known who Sarah Palin is. Thanks McShame! Yeah, Thanks for nothing!

    May 29, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Tim

    With all due respect, I don't need Sarah Palin to "educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles, in order to promote the fundamental restoration of America." I mean what is the lesson here? No matter what, don't let you 15 minutes of fame go away? Only use your elected office to get you noteriety and quit right in the middle of your term once you don't need the title anymore? I think that the Republican party is in very dire straits if they even consider nominating her although the Democrats are salivating over the idea. I'm sorry, the people who love Sarah Palin, in my opinion, don't seem to be terribly bright.

    May 29, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Evie

    Sarah Palin quit her job as Governor of Alaska. She turned her back on all those who believed in her and voted her into that office. This is a fact, not a lie spun by libruls and the lamestream media. I seriously doubt she'll win the GOP nomination, let alone beat President Obama and become President of the United States in 2012.

    John McCain needs to really be honest with himself, it was never "Country First" in 2008, it was him first. His statement that Palin can beat President Obama in 2012 just proved it.

    May 29, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Diana

    Mr. McCain, you lost because of her.

    May 29, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. Critical Thinker

    Although I am not republican, I am open to hear out opposing views because that is what help people make well-infrmed decisions. However, comments on here and made by politicians has nothing to do with actual views and what's good for the people. "take back our country"? What does that mean and who stole it? We used the same election process to elect someone and they are not the first to make decisions that did not draw a 100% consesus from the country. But because it is Presdient Obama, he has turn it on it's head? Really? Is he the only president that have made major changes? Like I said – this hatred running through people's veins has turned so many into mindless sheeple willing to be guided by ANYONE talking the same hateful language.

    BTW, has anyone told Cain what "taking back our country" really means before he goes on the road making it his mantra?

    May 29, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. TM

    Exactly what skill, or more importantly experience, does Palin have that Obama lacks? The ability to speak to and motivate the base? Obama wins there. Experience in governance? In what universe does mayor of a small town and LESS than 1 term as Governor equate to MORE experience than someone who has served as President of the United States? When things are tough for Obama, he stays with it. When things got tough for Palin she QUIT! She is no hero. She has built her celebrity on fostering racism and ignorance and hate. She is to be pitied, not rewarded.

    May 29, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Paulo

    McCain and Palin should be told that fire in the belly is no substitute for nothing in the skull. America wants a leader like Obama for president, not a victim like Palin.

    May 29, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Linda C - AZ

    If it's a choice between Obama and Palin, Sarah's got my vote!

    May 29, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Progressive from Georgia

    Back in the 1990's, I thought that McCain was truly a maverick and an independent thinker. Now, McCain is a right-wing Republican that has a love feast with Sarah Palin. Why? I do not know. But please Mr. McCain, please do not try to con us on why Palin would be a successful Republican candidate for President. She has no intellect, no insightful policies, no foreign policy experience, and no sense of leadership and statemanship. Did we forget the "blood libel" remark already?

    May 29, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. GSW Minnesota

    Once again I must ask readers who think Palin or Bachmann are viable candidates, "Did you get a high school diploma?"
    Why do these two intellectually challenged adults get all of this free press? Just the fact that the possibility exists in their minds that they could be president is an embarrassment to me and should be to this country. I am an independent voter and will continue to be so. I have voted Republican, at times, in the past. When "W" won, however, my mission has been to vote for Dems who convince me that they will make intelligent decisions...not based on what God tells them in their dreams! Get it?

    May 29, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    "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.

    Well, except for the fact that they are using her own words and actions to "attack" her, I think that's completely unfair.
    Maybe they could make up some things to show her in a better light?

    May 29, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Smarter Human

    The rethuglicans are a frightening band of misfits and grifters.

    May 29, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. EddyL

    Totally senile....

    May 29, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. LMC

    It's hard to believe that Palin could be electable, but her folksy persona unfortunately pulls a lot of people in. The Republican Party will not be happy until Americans have lost most of the rights, exept of course the one to bear arms. With their obvious bent for the rich and corporations, I don't understand how so many Americans are hoodwinked by that party! I believe the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.

    May 29, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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