McCain: Palin was better VP choice than Romney in 2008
July 17th, 2012
02:56 PM ET
6 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. Al-NY,NY

    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."

    Done and Done. You are now certifiably nuts Mr McCain

    July 17, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Jeff--Tacoma

    I think he's right. She's dumb no doubt, but she at least has some carisma. And hate her or not she was a fund rasing machine and she energized the nutty right...and she is hot. She has redeaming qualities as far as I can see Mitt has none.

    The only reason I listen to Mitt at all is to watch him trip over his own lies.

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

    Yeah, right. I'd bet $10,000 that Mitt Romney turned in umpteen years of returns where he paid zero in taxes, full of smiles and pride over how clever he was. "See. I pay no taxes. I'm smart!" McCain looked at it and said, "Nice job on the taxes, Mitt. But, I need a game changer to beat Obama. Thanks, but no thanks."

    July 17, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Out-sourcing Jobs-Outsourcing-his-Money and Outsourcing America

    After reviewing mitt robme's TAX RETURNS....Sarah Palin was found to be BETTER QUALIFIED than Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe!!!!.....there you have it AMERICA!!!

    the bimbo is better than the draft dodging, tax dodging, out-sourcer-in-chief!!!!

    July 17, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. rs

    I have two reponses to that:
    First, I hope that Mr. McCain is not talking about qualifications for the VP position vis-a-vis Mr. Romney and Ms. Palin, but rather that sort of "shake up the ticket" quality that Ms. Palin brought.. If he is talking skill sets Mr. Romney must be some sort of zombie.
    Second, given Mr. Romney's rich whining about the Mr. Obama's comments on his tax returns and job "creation" and other activities at Bain (quite funny after four years of complete disrespect on the part of the GOP), how will Mr. Romney deal with this grand insult?
    Personally if I were ranked below Ms. Palin for pretty much anything, I'd consider myself a complete loser!

    July 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Natalie

    This must make Mittens feel like crap, eh? He's not as good as dimwit Sarah? The GOP has turned in to a reality TV show, or better yet, SNL!

    July 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    Karl Rove is having a bad case of heartburn.

    July 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Sniffit

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


    July 17, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Norm

    Well come on old man.
    Hand them over.
    This is why you didn't pick him as a VP.
    You knew he wouldn't survive the scrutiny.
    I bet McCain was the one that leaked this story to Obama in the first place.
    Johnny plays both sides when there's something in it for him.
    You watch...
    He never liked Romney.

    July 17, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Hey, Mittens, got any more of those 100K Bain jobs for doing nothing? 'Call Me, Maybe'?

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

    Translation: Even at my advanced senile age, she gave me a woody!

    July 17, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Obama Super PAC Commercial using this hilarious soundbite in 3...2...1....

    July 17, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Thanks for the Help--Just Made My Decision

    "We thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

    So basically the presumptive nominee of the Republican party in 2012 is a worse candidate that the dumbest politician I believe I have ever laid eyes on (not taking anything away from Michelle Bachman, of course).

    My choice is easy now. I'm voting for the guy that beat the guy that chose the VP that was a better candidate than the current guy running for POTUS who wasn't good enough to secure the VP slot over Sarah Palin in the first place.

    July 17, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    John, who do you think you're fooling? You want Willard to fail just as much as most of us do, probably even more and I don't blame you. Does anyone really believe McCain cares anything for Willard knowing he (Willard) was hiding out in France while he suffered and endured hardship and pain?

    July 17, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Ronda in Houston,TX

    McCain just through Romney under the bus with stating Palin was a better VP candidate. With friends that this, who needs enemies.

    July 17, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    McCain is now writing Obama campaign commercials: "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."

    July 17, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Linda

    If Palin was better than Romney for VP in 2008, he wasn't good enough then.....what makes him good enough to vote fo rhim in 2012 for President??????????????? If McCain picked a loser in Palin and yet he thought she was a better canidate, that doesn't say much for Romney......McCain wants Romney just because he is Republican, not because he is capable of doing the job as President.....and that is the way all the GOP is thinking, they know Romney isn't the man for President but they don't want a black man to have another 4 years and they will sell out this country and all Americans just to put a loser in just because he is Republican.....

    July 17, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Thanks, John. That's gonna make a great campaign ad in the fall. My man!

    July 17, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Wake up people

    Palin was a better candidate for VP than Mittens?? Yet you expect us to think he's qualified for POTUS?? Even you don't believe that lie Mccain.

    OBAMA 2012!

    Take that Mittens, even whalin Palin the grizzly hunter was better than you. What changed in 4 years??

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 17, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. DB in AR

    This is just gold solid gold. Romney used Hillary in an add and that was from 2008 imagine the add that the Obama team can come up after the Bain thing dies down (a little). Reignite the flames with a 2012 Senator that passed over Mitt for a 1/2 term airhead because she was simply "a better candidate". It's like this is my birthday.

    July 17, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. ben

    "I don't know what depths these people won't reach. Obviously, it's just outrageous."
    What about all those birthers?

    July 17, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. commentable

    romney probably turned it down.

    July 17, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. commentable

    why would mcains words now seem like an indictment of romney- its an idictment of mccain. lets see he got hsi butt whipped and now this is fodder for obama ?. mccain ran a crappy comapign and made terrible choices. dont see and issue here for romney.

    July 17, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. frag

    Wow, did John really say that? Ouch!

    July 17, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Thomas

    John is right ,
    Sarah Palin dose know more about Foreign Policy then Mitt Romney , then again my eight year old kid know's more then both of them .

    Romney /Palin
    A balance of Power 2012

    July 17, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. frag

    Bain and taxes,
    Taxes and Bain,
    if you want to know the truth,
    Ask John McCain.

    July 17, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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