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. NJ

    McCain is defending his choice for VP! Do you all expect him to go against her?! Do you even know what this whole debate is about? I think some people who are commenting need to go back to school and focus on whats mro eimportant!!

    October 1, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Internet Argument Winner


    "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.



    October 1, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Lisa

    Please all you Sarah Palin ride alongs. This is idiotic to believe this woman is fit to run this country. She is not ready. She may do well because she's been feed the notes for the past week. Give me a break and she is no Joe six pack. I want to see those tax returns...Don't forget about those!!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Keating Five

    Wrong again, John!! Smart, thinking American people are NOT siding with you on the issue of your unqualified VP joke.

    October 1, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Brennan, Seattle WA

    The old political adage "if you are having to explain you have already lost" fits nicely here.

    On a certain level I actually feel sorry for Palin. The McCain campaign is trying to use her as a pawn. This whole thing is way above her head.....and not because she isn't smart, but rather because she is disinterested. Sarah Palin is not interested in the world around her and she therefore does not try to learn about it. She is interested in the office of VP(political aspiration), but she is not interested in actually solving the issues.

    October 1, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Western

    Make that "Joe 12 pack" to be able to make any sense of the Palin jibberish once the teleprompter is removed from in front of her.

    And does even one person think Sarah Palin is prepared to step in as President of the United States of America if circumstances call?


    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Party Crasher

    Excuse me please, I've just been informed that Sarah is talking to someone that is not with the campaign. I must leave now and answer any questions that are asked......

    OK, is was a false alarm, she was talking to her daughter. We can continue the interview.

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. lol

    the vp debate is already slanted against gov. palin. gwen ifill the "moderator" of the debate has a pro obama book, due for release soon. gwen has an obvious financial interest in the outcome of this election. pbs recieved many complaints about gwen's coverage of gov palins rnc speech. this woman should be removed asap from being the moderator.

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Sue, NY

    My concern here is John McCain's judgement ...it is obvious to almost every one in America that although she may be very nice, she may be a up and coming gov. of Alaska....she is not ready for the world we live in today. We have numerous concerns...2 wars, economic crisis, recession...etc...and she has no clue. So again, I say....John McCain's choice shows lack of judgement and leadership.

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. S. Boatman Warrensburg, mo

    Mccain Usually Looks Really Pale In Photos But In This One He Is Red And Looks Like He Is About Ready To Pop!

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. welches, oregon

    Sarah Palin shows her ignorance of the world each and everyday. Enough said.

    She was such a flunkout in the 'debate practice' the McCain campaign had to move it to his million dollar home in AZ. Probably the kids were running around the hotel is a distraction, the crying special needs baby needs its mother's attention, not to mention the knock-up unmarried teenage daughter they tried to hide.

    Desperate Republicans are going down in November! Hallaluah!!!.


    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. John in Ohio

    -“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.”

    I'm very familiar with space travel, with NASA and the space program, and with science fiction, but I couln't do a spacewalk, dock with the ISS, or land the space shuttle. I watch a lot of House but I'm not able to go into diagnostic medicine. I'm married to a nurse, I know a lot about what nurses have to deal with on a day to day basis, but that doesn't make me a nurse.

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. JohnWinNC

    This is not an "experience" election! If it was, then Governor Bill Richardson might be the Democratic nominee. This election is about "CHANGE!" Americans simply want a "new direction" for the country, away from the partisan bickering that we have been witnessing (i.e., the blame game) and a more "United" States than has been evident lately. McCain/Palin represent "more of the same" divisiveness, politics as usual (i.e. "pitbull") and a continuation of the Bush policies that have put the country, literally, at risk! No more gambling with America's future – not this time; Americans prefer the judgement and leadership of the Obama/Biden team!

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. independent in Texas

    My goodness, it was McCain that said Obama was inexpierienced, and the white house was no place for "on the job training"..now he wants us to forget that and "accept" Palin, inexpierienced as she is, and that ok, she can get on the job training in white house ??? Oh please, I am so tired of McCain "changing his mind " using anything he can to GET to the white house ! I also dont believe he was anything except a war "victim", and just maybe if he had stopped flying after he had already crashed 4 planes, he wouldnt have been in a 5th plane crash..the REAL heroes of the war was the ones who DIED..the rest are victims..sad, but true, and MY husband is one of those victims !!! I dont want our next president changing his mind constantly, sometimes several times a day, going on "attack" constantly, with a 6 pack Jane beside him ! Get real people..we need someone with a "cool" head, good judgement, who knows HOW to surround himself with other cool, knowledgible heads, and welcomes constructive critism, challenges his opinions, and to me that is OBAMA..ok, now you can attack me..
    war victims wife, in TEXAS

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. Dave, Tx for Obama

    Oh Please. Enough of this nonsense from John McCain. Its the BUSH and McCain policies and ideology that has devastated our economy and our standing in the world.

    America needs CHANGE from this COWBOY style of politics. Its the Republican principles and ideology that got us into the MESS we are in right now.

    In the 90's it took a Democrat to clean up the first BUSH's MESS, and its going to take Democratic principle and a Democrat President to steer us back to economic prosperity and improve our image arround the world.

    We couldn't be any clearer we want CHANGE and Democrats know how to deliver PEACE, PROSPERITY and CHANGE.

    Vote Peace, Prosperity and REAL Change. Vote OBAMA.

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Sara

    What frightened me most in this interview was that McCain seems to imply that anyone who disagrees with him should not speak. I worry a lot about this ticket restricting free speech and intellectual freedom if elected.

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Mary

    I Stand with Sarah Palin, Just because she is a good Soul, she is innocent, in the face of the Hateful Media, They only brought the Nasty few out, Now how Cheep is that, there only living up to what there job is, NASTY
    I Dont Trust there Nasty reporting, They will do anything even Make Obama so innocent in the Face of the Media, They are falling all over them self, there will Cover for him no Matter what the Cost to the American people!, They Know they know the truth about him and they wont bring this out!! they will take The Market situation and Make Democrats look innocent, while lambasting The Republicans and the President, Well We see Through there Nasty Action, there cold and calculated, But the dont see the House and the senate and Congress are at fault, Like Barney frank, and Joe Biden, Nacey polsie, Charles rangle, Ect, Oh these people are not at fault public, it only John McCain, and Sarah palin, and the The president, It Never the Democrats, how How Smart the News Media is, I still think there one Sided Nastys

    October 1, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Soccer mom for Obama

    Uh oh. Don't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

    I wonder how Palin and other female McChicken supporters feel about him using the C-word to describe his wife?

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Helene

    You know Tim, if you think that McCain and Palin are "real", think again. I gather of course that you are a "real" American, white, anglo-saxon, heterosexual, etc ... Whatever "real" means ....

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Davis

    So who's agreeing with his pick? What kind of a world is he living in? It just scares me that these people could get elected.

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Alexis

    please give me a break!! Sarah is not ready to lead, If He slammed Obama for not having enough experience, he has to slam his own running mate. THATS ONE OF THE REASONS WE TEND TO VOTE DEM. BECAUSE 4 SOME REASON REPUBLICANS HAVE A VERY DIFFICULT TIME ADMITTING THEY ARE WRONG!!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Mccain is a liar

    Mccain campaign is in the Toilet and it is all his Fault he under estimated How smart the American people are and that was his biggest mistake he though he was going to pick palin and everywoman that voted for hillary was just going to come over to his camp without caring about the issues that those women voted for. Mccain is a waste of good taxpayers money he should put the white flag in place and march to his defeat!

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Kentucky

    Do you need daddy to take you to the potty?? After all the dust clears, Alaska won't even want this joke.

    And for the record, Tim, you're an idiot.

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Suzy

    I don't know what decade McCain is living in, but the only experience either one of them have is lying. They are truly experienced liars. Palin is going to camp to learn to become a better liar. I don't think a mutimilliare has my best interest at heart. I can say Obama has made McCain change his speech in attempt to win this election, but that is about it. This election has taught us to stand up for what we believe in and see through misrepresentation of McCain. If Palin is experinenced we will see it, you do not have to constantly defend that. Go to your town hall meetings and tell lies to the people who want to hear. We all know you are doing hall meetings because you can not draw a crowd without Palin by your side. As she indicated it is the Palin-McCain ticket.

    October 1, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. welches, oregon

    The simple reason McCain will lose is he is a Republican and we have all seen what the Republicans do. Lie. Deceive. Smear. Distract. Hide.

    We've had enough!!!

    Obama/Biden 'till 2024

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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