(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.
So Sarah's got fire in her belly. Johns got rocks in his head. Now if we could just find "something" to fill up both of their big mouths.............
probably he forgot to take his meds…..
McCain's biggest crime is that he brought this lady into limelight.
"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"
I am scared that enough morons exist in this country to elect her POTUS. You are right to deride education. Having an educated opinion is the enemy of every conservative in this country.
I guess he has to say that, but I think enough of McCain's intelligence to know he doesn't believe it.
Once again, John McCain demonstrates why he graduated 896th in his Naval Academy class of 898 midshipmen.
President Obama will be her worst than he beat 'THEM. And with a smile to boot.
Palin couldn't even beat an egg, to make an omelette.
All Obama supporters are on their kneels, "Oh God, please make her run. She is our only hope. If one moderate Republican runs, our republicanized president would lose.".
I always get a chuckle when Republicans claim that Palin is being "mercilessly attacked" by the media. The media quotes her own words in context. Its her words that make her look like a willfully ignorant opportunist, not the media.
Thank goodness this delusional fool was not elected as President. If he thinks Pallin could beat Obama, he is obviously out of touch with reality.
Maybe she is attacked by the media so much is because she is just a money craving idiot. McCain is getting there. Thank God they did not win the last presidential election.
He is officially senile.
And this is to endorse a woman whose face is full of dollars, who quit the Governor's position abandoning Alaskans for a life of only high paid empty speeches and TV shows, whose venom towards others do not have end and whose knoweledge of anything is zero. A beauty queen that stabs in the back anyone that dears critize her and that has cheated, manipulated, and should be investigated for lying under oath. And why she has chosen to buy a 2M dollar mansion in Arizona? What happened to never letting Alaska down?
My impression is that she won't run and she is only quite because she can make a lot of money without risking to show how incompetent she is.
Afterwards, when asked what day it was, Senator McCain answered "I don't reply to gotcha questions"
John McCain just lost whatever credibility he still had left. So sad to see a once-great public servant fade away like this.
har hahaha-thanks, John. You made my morning. Politicians are so twistedly convoluted in their speeches-
I don't think they themselves are really sure if supporting a dead horse in their own party is just another way of
tapping into the loser's following. In other words, what politician isn't in it for their own gain.
Sarah Palin won't run she's just trying to save herself from looking like she's always been in it for the money which is something we already know. Furthermore, she's counted her money and it's not enough for her so she'll use people again to get more.
He truly has lost his mind!!! Sen McCain really needs to retire now!!!
She's a loose cannon for sure.
John is just paying a debt. She helped him in his race for the Senate, so he's returning the favor. I'd be far more surprised if he said Obama would take her 70:30.
Oh dear, now he has gone senile. Too bad, I thought he would have been a good president back in 2000 but now his mind has gone. Bless his heart.
Yeah, those "attacks" as the doddering old fool calls them are what journalists are supposed to do.. ask questions, not act as mouthpieces for politicians. When Caribou Barbie considers "what newspapers do you read"... the most softball of softball questions to be far too serious... and is even incapable of answering the question and when she writes notes on her hand and quits her governorship halfway through her only term its not the media attacking her when they report these things. Its the media doing its job... telling us what is going on with a candidate. Sure, Palin would be a great candidate for national office... as long as you never find out anything about her.
John, John, John
You couldn't get the Republican nomination in 2000 because you were too moderate by Republican standards. You seem to have understood that. So, 2008 comes along and you shift completely to the radical right. Instead of moving to the center for the general election you picked Pallin and held the far right course. You and she got your clocks cleaned. Pallin had a lot to do with that loss. There was a lesson to be learned there too. I'm not sure you got it, at least in public. It is possible that Pallin could get the nomination, but her chances in a general election are minimal.
hey john, because of sarah, obama won by a landslide so what makes you think that she can beat obama for president? ROFLMAO! forgot to take your meds again i see.
Well, what else is he going to say? He has always been a civil man, but privately I am sure that he knows that Palin is electable. The poll numbers on Palin are very bad, among independents and even Republicans.