October 1st, 2008
08:35 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain defends Palin against experience attacks

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/01/art.dmr.cnn.jpg caption="McCain became visibly frustrated during an interview with the Des Moines Register when he was questioned about Sarah Palin's credentials to be vice president."](CNN) - John McCain defended embattled running mate Sarah Palin in an interview released Tuesday night, telling an Iowa newspaper he thought she had the” experience and knowledge and background” to be president and that he was “proud of her record.”

McCain ticked off Palin’s achievements with the editors of the Des Moines Register – a swing state paper that endorsed his presidential bid before January’s Republican caucuses.

"So, with due respect, I strongly disagree with your premise that she doesn't have experience and knowledge and background,” he said. “I fundamentally disagree, and I'm proud of her record.”

Later, after continuing to counter Palin’s critics, he pointed to what he called a divide between the press and the public on their view of the Alaska governor. “…You and I just have a fundamental disagreement and I'm so happy that the American people seem to be siding with me,” said McCain.

When editors pointed to similar recent assessments from conservatives, McCain responded “Really? I haven't detected that,” attributing those sentiments to the “Georgetown cocktail party” circuit.

“Some people allege that others may have spent too much time inside the Beltway, and too much time not out in touch with the American people,” said McCain. “Some people that know that Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t address the American people on television.”

Asked later if he had benefited from taxpayer-subsidized health care his entire life, McCain replied that the question had no relation to his ability to understand the concerns of those Americans who had not.

“You know that's an interesting statement, isn’t it?” he responded. “And I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space. And I have never done a lot of things in my life that I think I am familiar with.”

According to CNN's Iowa poll of polls released September 22, before the first presidential debate, Obama held a 7-point lead (50-43 percent) in the state. Iowa narrowly voted for President Bush in 2004, but gave a major boost to Obama's presidential fortunes earlier this year at the start of the primary season.

Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Greg, NY

    Yeah well he doesn't have to be an astronaut since he subscribes to the Palin way of seeing things.

    He can see the moon from his house, so he knows all about the challenges of space.

    October 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Stud

    OLD man is senile and delusional.

    October 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. Bubba

    . . . because when you are accused of youth and inexperience, it's always good to have your grampa defend you? I feel SO much better now.

    October 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Sherry - PA

    Why didn't you guys also mention in that same interview, while talking about the economic bill, he mentions something about "aspiring to be a dictator."

    October 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Republi-Con

    America barely survived 8yrs of DuNCE... now many American's are going to roll the dice and hope they can survive 12yrs under a McCain/Palin administration.. but i sincerely doubt it. Take a look around..the whole world is in financial trouble right now, the sad thing is that McC-ancient wants to continue the downward trend and MooseGirl is currently attending the GWB Academy. Under the same tutelage – expect the same end results.

    October 1, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Average Joe Six Pack Minnesota

    Earlier Governor Palin claimed she was just like Average Joe Six Pack. I am an at home dad, work from home, have two beautiful daughters, a hard working wife, a mortgage, mounting bills, and a shrinking 401K. Sounds pretty average to me. However, I know what the Bush Doctrine is: Pre-emptive Self Defense. I read newspapers and periodicals because I am curious about understanding the world. I would never censor the library or try to fire the librarian because free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy. I would have found a way, if I were governor, not to spend money on that road to nowhere. You see most of us just want a Vice President who can relate to our situation, understand the constitution, be fiscally responsible AND lead this country if need be. I'm sorry, but Governor Palin cannot do that. Which in the end makes me question Senator McCain's abilities. Thus a man I once could have voted for President can no longer get my vote.

    October 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |

    And how has that worked out for ya' America?

    October 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. Linda - NY

    I always know exactly who I will vote for, but I must admit the information released lately about the Republican VP candidate certainly amuses me. I can't imagine how anyone could risk what little security we have left.

    October 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. johnny

    Falin Palin is very shallow on interviews and experience it's just the
    McSame politics of 8 years past, now it's Falin wth Palin.

    October 1, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. arun

    Right. Can we listen to that answer about how the bailout helps from Katie Couric's interview again ?

    October 1, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. hello

    Are we selecting most qualified president and vice president for this country or somebody who can seat with us and drink coffee.
    How low this selection process can go? did not we learn anything from this 8 years?
    I blame media to even discuss this, and take the poll on this stupid idea.

    October 1, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Ryan, Florida

    “Really? I haven't detected that.”
    Beautifully put John. That perfectly sums up your entire campaign till now.

    October 1, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    McCain is a fool... what record is he specifically proud of? Palin's Troopergate fiasco? Book banning attempts in Wasilla? Her vast international and foreign affairs experience which totals ZERO?


    October 1, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Beverly, NYC

    John, reality calling, the American people are not agreeing with your pick. Given your erratic behavior over the past two weeks your choice of Palin scares me more than ever should she have to step in for you. Americans have put up with a VP in the hospital every 2 minutes for 8 yrs, we cannot chance it with an unhealthy senior citizen and a VP who should not be left home alone. On Nov 4th I will say Thanks but no Thanks.

    October 1, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Jan

    I have never seen so many scared democrats on these blogs! Sarah Palin is a refreshing, intelligent, hard-working leader who has my vote. When you count up misstatments over the course of this election, Biden/Obama have the most–Sarah comes in a distant third, and is the only one that the MSM has targeted. Hillary is out, so they try every day in every way to skewer Sarah instead! Sorry, folks, she's no pushover and I think she actually likes being challenged–it helps her learn! Watch her retorts to the snobs and weep!

    October 1, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. Lorna, NY

    They are IDIOTS

    October 1, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Joe Regis

    She needs more time to devolp the potential to be commander in chief.

    Right now she does not have it. The repubs are going down this year.

    Obama/Biden 08/12.

    October 1, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. Stacy from Loudoun County, VA

    The Georgetown Cocktail Circuit? Is that that group he’ll make famous? I get confused by all the people and groups he blames. Are they the same as the biased liberal media? He should print up a scorecard so we can keep up.

    October 1, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. Speechless

    McCain is in denial.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 1, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. Kentucky Obama Supporter

    All I can say is let's wait and see what McQqack has to say after the VP debate tomorrow. Anyone in their right mind knows you can't take a cram course on how to be a world leader in a week! I think this is so funny.

    October 1, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. R.I.F.

    This guy has spent over 26 years ain Congress and he and Cindy are worth over $100 million and he's talking about out of touch and too inside the Beltway.

    I don't understand how, with a straight face, he can blast Obama daily for not knowing issues (which is not even close to the truth) and then say that Palin is more than qualified and expect for anyone with a brain to believe him.

    October 1, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    McCain responded “Really? I haven't detected that,”

    It's that type of
    a) aloofness
    b) deceitfulness
    c) untruthfulness
    that leads people to look at his campaign as unworthy of their trust.

    You just can't say you haven't heard Mike and Peggy on an open Mike; George Will last week; Peggy Noonan this week. That's just not possible. OR, you really don't know what's going on, much like in the economics world.

    Again, $18 billion of earmarks is not the reason we're facing a financial crisis to the point of looking at the 1930's all over again. Perhaps McCain wants to go back to his nostalgic days of early childhood, but the rest of us want to move forward. The deregulation. of which he proudly says he adheres to, is what has put us in this position.

    October 1, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. cmc

    He will defend her to the death.......On a news program last nite I think it was CNN, a commentator stated that HE would never admit he made a mistake. I really think he doesn't have a choice now, if he admitted he made a mistake, then it is the death of his campaign. Enough said................

    October 1, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Irma in North Carolina

    John you and Sarah might as well bow out of the election, you have shown us very clearly that you are another bush term. American does not need this.

    October 1, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Raoul

    Ummm she doesn't have experience, knowledge or background. Her knowledge and background amount to geographic proximity to a foreign nation, not knowing what the Bush doctrine is, being unable to name a supreme court case other than roe v. wade, and not having a clue about the current financial crisis. Oh, and she apparently believes humans and dinosaurs once frolicked together on planet Earth.

    You'd find a better informed person at your local bar's trivia night, and that's the problem.

    October 1, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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