McCain: Palin was better VP choice than Romney in 2008
July 17th, 2012
02:56 PM ET
2 years ago

McCain: Palin was better VP choice than Romney in 2008

(CNN) – Republican Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that Mitt Romney's tax returns in the 2008 vice presidential vetting process did not factor into the senator's decision to pick Sarah Palin instead.

Romney, who had ended his own presidential campaign in the 2008 GOP primary, reportedly provided McCain's team with more than 20 years of tax returns, significantly more than the amount of information Romney has made public this time around.

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Democrats, in their full-court press urging Romney to release more tax returns, now ask why Romney was willing to give so many documents to McCain, but won't do the same publicly this year. Some have questioned whether McCain saw something in Romney's tax information four years ago that discouraged him from picking Romney as his running mate.

"Of course not," McCain told Politico on Tuesday. "I don't know what depths these people won't reach. Obviously, it's just outrageous. That's just outrageous. It shows the – it's so disgraceful for them to allege something that they have absolutely no knowledge of."

McCain maintained his campaign selected Palin, who was a first-term governor of Alaska at the time, "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

He continued: "Why did we not take [Tim] Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn't I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others. ... Come on, why? That's a stupid question."

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011, with a promise to release the official documents for last year once they're ready. He filed an extension with the Internal Revenue Service, meaning he may not put out his returns until the October filing deadline.

McCain has consistently stood by his pick in Palin, saying she was the most qualified person and most capable of energizing the Republican Party.

"I admire and respect her and I'm proud of our campaign," McCain said on Fox News in March, answering questions about a recent HBO film about the McCain-Palin ticket. "I'm grateful she ran with me."

McCain, who endorsed Romney this cycle one day after the Iowa caucuses, took issue with reports of his comments on Tuesday.

"Some in the media have chosen to take my answer today, in response to the question of why I did not select Governor Romney as my vice presidential nominee, out of context. I selected Sarah Palin because she was the best fit for my campaign, and my decision had nothing to do with the bogus tax return attacks currently being waged by the Obama campaign. I have the highest respect for Governor Romney and his record of public service, and he will make an outstanding president," McCain said in a statement.

– CNN's Robert Yoon contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Mitt Romney • Sarah Palin
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Oh great. This remark should help Romney's wild popularity.

    July 17, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Uh oh...someone gave grandpa the mic while he's off his dementia meds and he just managed to hurl an epic insult at the party's candidate!!!!! To funny. Can't wait for Mittens to lose and do a reality TV show.

    July 17, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Expat American

    John McCain is never ever going to live down the fact that it was he who infected the nation with Bubonic Palin Plague.
    He couldn’t have put ‘His Country’ more ‘Last’ by doing this.
    Hide you face in shame, John McCain!

    July 17, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Why didn't I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others. ... Come on, why?"

    Translation: "Because none of the rest of them was a semi-hot MILF with a nice rack who could hopefully get the female vote by working the synergy with our ridiculous PUMA astroturf nonsense trying to play off women's disappointment that Hillary wasn't nominated and their supposed willingness to vote for all the policies that Hillary doesn't agree with rather than vote for the black guy who beat her."

    July 17, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Namryan

    ...but he didn't deny what the Obama campaign claims... on top of that, for him, there are even more reason why Mrs. Palin is better than Mr. Romney!

    July 17, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. 333maxwell

    So Governor Palin was a better candidate than Governor Romney, which would mean if no one voted for HER, and she was the better candidate, why would they be inclined to vote for the Governor this time? Let alone enthusiastic?

    This election is becoming clearer by the day..

    Governor Romney seemingly has no intent to stray outside the gated communities very far, for very long.

    His primary roll seems to be to fire up the red meat crowd, to open their pockets as far as they can, so the GOP can make record bank, and then divert that money into elections they feel they can win.

    It's all a ruse.. or else the Governor would be doing things and running things a lot differently.

    July 17, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. William

    More Lies!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Pete in Guilford

    Wow, if Palin was a better candidate than Romney, it sure doesn't say much for old Mittens, does it?

    July 17, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Wake up people

    Oh Mccain, please sit your old sore loser self down. You picked Palin because you thought most women would vote for her whether she had a brain or not. But you found out, women are smarter than you rethugs think.

    I seem to remember Mccain having made some not too kind remarks about Mittens also.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 17, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    What a choice to have to make.

    What does that say about ALL the other repugs that might have been available???

    July 17, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. joe

    And based on Romney's twenty years of tax returns, McCain concluded that Palin would present fewer problems as VP. What does that tell you about Romney's finances?

    July 17, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

    The "better candidate" LOST and you too (thank God above). Now stop trying to fight Willard's battles for him. We know you can't tell us anything about those returns and we don't need you to because actions have always spoken louder than words. Willard was not good enough to be your VP and he is definitely not good enough to be our president. Thanks for tipping the American people off.

    July 17, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    McCain told Politico on Tuesday. "I don't know what depths these people won't reach. Obviously, it's just outrageous. That's just outrageous. It shows the – it's so disgraceful for them to allege something that they have absolutely no knowledge of."
    --------------
    That is the most hypocritical thing I have ever heard McCain say. Doesn't he listen to his party members and Romney surrogates. Just yesterday Michelle Bachmann accussed someone on Hillary Clinton's staff of being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Just today, John Sununu played the birther card, suggesting that the President needs to learn how to be an American, as if he isn't an American citizen.

    I see John McCain is still somewhat bitter from his electoral landlside loss in 2008. "The election is over, John."

    July 17, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Al

    Romney should feel ashamed and embarassed that Palin was a better VP pick than him......especially during a financial crisis where his so call business background would have been helpful...just saying

    July 17, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    McCain basically boiled it down to Sarah Pain > Willard Romney. Let that sink in. So then....she'd be better than Willard today as the party's candidate. YIKES! That's why the thinking voters are moving away from the GOP.

    July 17, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. anagram_kid

    McCain maintained his campaign selected Palin, who was a first-term governor of Alaska at the time, "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."
    Wow! I have witnessed a lot criticism hurled at Gov. Romney, but this has to be the most insulting.

    July 17, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. ABCD

    "McCain maintained his campaign selected Palin, who was a first-term governor of Alaska at the time, "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

    This is getting funnier and funnier. McCain chose Palin(better candidate) instead of Romney for VP, and still they lost. Now the then worse candidate (Romney)for VP, is regarded as the best GOP Presidential Candidate? How far can Americans intelligence be tested?

    July 17, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. LiLa

    "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

    Senator McCain, that's a stupid answer.

    July 17, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Bill

    The office was VICE President. Romney's running for President. Lot of difference.

    July 17, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. romneycares less

    Good Grief! Palin was more qualified!? I guess that puts M.R. at he bottom of the totem pole. And now he thinks he can be POTUS! WAKE UP AMERICA! What a joke the teapubs have become!

    July 17, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. vote the Tea Party Out in 2012

    ok so John McCain has seen the tax returns Mitt Romney will not show us. If there was noting to hide I'm sure a person with a big a mouth as Sen Mccain would be saying something and out ther defending him. And by the way...from the lack of her responses it appears that Sarah Palin doesn't think that highly of Mitt Romney. Just saying.......

    July 17, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    .and McCain would tell us the truth, right? If he wasn't good enough for the Republican party the years he was running, and not good enough to be Vice-President....what does that tell ya? Now, suddenly he is wonderful? Most all of us had hoped for more from the Republican Party.

    July 17, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh, I agree with McCain. His remarks fall under the heading of " damning with faint praise": I'm just not sure if if Palin or Romney should be more insulted by this remark.

    July 17, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. The GOP's "trickle down economics" has only provided pools of cash to the Caymans!

    "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

    OUCH!

    Would McCrypt "retroactively retire" Flailin' Palin back to 2008, now that facts have proven what Team McCrypt thought then was dead wrong?

    With "friends" like this, Myth Robme better hope he has no enemies!

    July 17, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. McCain and his vision

    He questions how low the Obama Campaign will go – has he not looked at Romney's Machine - ask Newt Gingrich and Santorum – he stooped to new lows there and Gingrich sure was upset and questioned Romney's ethics!

    July 17, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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