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. Andy in Charlotte, NC

    "You and I just have a fundamental disagreement and I'm so happy that the American people seem to be siding with me". Ummm...isn't Obama leading?

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Glenn in California

    Well, this confirms that McLame is off his meds and is hallucinating. He's a joke and so is she. It's also both pathetic and alarming about the number of voters who have drunk the Kool-Aid and support these two morons. McLame sold out all of his values and morals in picking her to attempt to win at any cost.

    If, by some miracle, McLame wins and then kicks the bucket, we'll become a 3rd world country. We really want Caribou Barbie in the White House? I think not.

    Just say NO to Bush 44.

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. Independent, white female !

    Mccain lost a lot of support since Palin's true inexperienced colors have been popping out all over the media and all over he place even in the streets with voters and the American public. I don't care how many photo ops he gives us, I don't care how much spin he puts on it, Plain spoke! Palin sounded incoherent and clueless in the historic Katie Couric interview. That was historic, i don't think I have ever witnessed as dumb an interview as that was. I also think the bigger pitt fall for Mccain is that he proved to the american people that he is too unpredictable, too compulsive and America has had enough of that behavior from Buh in the last 8 years. So, this Independent is too smart, too aware and totally unwilling to sell her country as Mccain has for political gain. I will be voting for Obama/Bien. They are a good team and they provide the experience and know how and at least understand the economy, foreign policy and know how to navigate around Washington. As much as we need and want change, we do have to have someone in the driver seat who knows how to get around. This time in America is not a time for taking chances. Obama/Biden offer a great plan. Let's go for it! Mccain lost my support the day he picked someone he interviewed less than I interviewed my dog sitter.

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. arnold

    ACORN=Obama=voter fraud=Ohio=Wisconsin.

    Everybody hates a cheater.

    No Obama, ever.

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. nerakami

    I am more concerned about the JUDGMENT AND mental capacity of many Americans. If we are honest with ourselves... let go of the emotional knee jerk reactions, and THINK for a moment, we would realize that Sarah Palin (by virtue of what comes out of her mouth), is unqualified to lead this nation as VP or God forbid, President.

    They try to ram a virtual unknown down our throats, do not want us to question or challenge her positions and for someone who's a Gov. less than 2 years is riddled with so many scandals and investigations!

    And anyone wanting to equate her and Obama as inexperienced ought to really reflect on Obama's organized, intelligent and skillful campaign for the past 2 years. That speaks volumes. He is running a far more focused and effective campaign than John McCain himself.

    Please people, think about the future of this country, this is no monopoly game here, this is real life where people live and die by the course charted by our President.

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. kc

    McCain fundamentally lost his mind a little over a month ago. He and his campaign have become the epitome of dishonorable hypocrites.

    Virginians for Obama/Biden!

    October 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. McCain for Pres.

    It is really getting funny rather than sad to hear Obama supporters saying that Sarah Pallin doesn't have enough experience when their candidate Barack Obama has less and is running for President. This is just complete hipocracy on their part. At least she has a record to run on, not just voting present.

    October 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Palin is the governor of a state with a population about the same as Austin, Texas. Only the Austin mayors generally have much more in the way of experience than her. I still wouldn't want that mayor suddenly having to be president.

    October 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Rick

    Why does CNN have so many negative articles about McCain and Palin? I thought this was suppose to be the most trusted new agency in the world? There are more than enough negative things to spend on Obama and Biden, like Acorn, Pastor Wright, his liberal voting record, his socialist wish list and how his economic plan would send us into a depression.

    Did any one look into if Acorn and Obama had voter fraud in the Primary? Should Senator Clinton really be on the ticket?

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

    We are lucky to have "real" candidates, like Obama and Biden. Not that vapid, inept, pathetic Palin and her sugar daddy.

    October 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Doug R.

    McCain is in denial. He can't handle the truth. Lately, he's been getting angry and frustrated more and more.

    October 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. People make no sense

    “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.”

    This is so funny. So do I, so let me replace you as the republican nominee because you are an so pathetic?

    October 1, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Jayson

    Hahaha, we aren't siding with you John... read some of the comments, and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh already. It is making you dumb.

    October 1, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Accountability

    McSame's judgement on Sarah Palin is enough to put the lie to his claim of good judgement.

    This should scare the hell out of American Voters...do we really want another "Doin' a heckofa job Sarah...."?

    October 1, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. Annette

    This is a laugh, Sen. McCain, a man who began his camp on "experience", will now try to explain Gov. Palin experience, as if we all have blinders on?? This kind of confusion and distortion with McCain is exactly why his own party is frustrated with him.

    October 1, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. John in Ohio

    I'm sure George Will, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat, Kathleen Parker and Stephen F. Hayward appreciate the casual disregard and offhand criticism of their opinions. George Will! One of the smartest conservatives out there, and that's rare praise from a liberal social democrat like myself. I don't really have a lot complimentary to say about Kathleen Parker and the National Review, but that, combined with the fact that they're also calling for Palin to be replaced, says a lot in and of itself.

    October 1, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. McShame, Houston TX

    God help us!!! McShame has lost his mind and integrity, well I don’t think he had any to begin with!!!! And McPalin please media stop giving her a free ride she is a heartbeat away from being president of the United States close your eyes and image that!!!! oh my god!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Carl from MI

    McCain can pretend all he wants that she has boatloads of experience, when everyone knows she only has about 5 minutes worth. Even those in his own party are finally seeing the light on what little she has between her ears when she opens up her mouth and says the STUPIDEST things you can imagine.

    We've just had 8 years of STUPID in the White House... why would any voter in their right mind vote for 4 more years of it!! Watch the interviews she's done... she's an IDIOT!!!

    WAKE UP, AMERICA!!! VOTE SMART.... NOT STUPID!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. RM

    Everyone who criticizes McCain is either a gotcha journalist, part of a “Georgetown cocktail party” circuit, or some other idiot (voter). The man behaves just like Bush but older and even more set in his ways.
    Running in the senate, he has suspended his campaign 4 times. He relies on the same bag of tricks and as president he will behave exactly as he did as a senator. Palin, his latest trick at the craps table is becoming a liability, but it is because of the media. There is always an excuse, always a reason to avoid accountability.
    McCain’s experience is that of a gambler. Gambling isn’t experience we need. Palin is the new energy. Energy without focus is worthless. What do they bring to the table?

    October 1, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. JohnJon

    he thought she had the” experience and knowledge and background” to be president //// He thought? Is this man kidding me. He thought she had all that is needed for this job? First of all John, if you didn't know 100% for sure she did have it, then you bloody didn't do your homework. Not being absolutely sure about a person's credentials for one of the biggest and most important positions in America before you chose her as your running mate shows the entire country and the world for that matter that you had no concern for Americans whatsoever. Your only concern was getting to be president of the USA and to hell with the security and future of Americans. Your a bloody joke McCain.

    October 1, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Diamond from Florida

    Palin needs to stop saying that she is an average american, she is not!! average americans make about 50,000 or less each year, but shes worried about the 20,000 she lost after the stocks dropped very low. To have to appear with Mccain by your side to help you, after you gaffed is a major sign that she isnt ready.

    October 1, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. tim in IA

    Someone should ask McCain:

    Would you actually sleep well at night if Sarah Palin was president?

    (But, unfortunately, you won't get the truth from McCain – which is still another way that McCain is like Bush)

    Another question for McCain – AND America:

    If Sarah Palin has to be "handled" now as your VP candidate – who will be "handling" the White House if John McCain can't finish his term?

    (And you thought George W. Bush was trying to scare America! What's more scary than Palin as president!)

    FDR said: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

    Bush and McCain/Palin have defined fear.

    October 1, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. John in Ohio

    "Well McCain. I'm glad you took that Alaska Barbie."

    It's *Caribou* Barbie, not Alaska Barbie. Like, duh!

    October 1, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Linda

    Oh, please. Since when is McCain not a part of the Washington conservative cocktail party group. Is he also claiming to be a "six pack" guy? I lived in the D.C. area for many, many years. Senators were known to show up at private club and high end restaurants, never local "bars."

    Just an inside view from someone who has been to Congressional County Club...to name one.

    Personally, I am appalled at the comments floating about that if anyone criticizes Palin, it implicitly implicates the person as being an intellectual. So we only want the opposite thinking. Think people...what is the opposite of intelligence!!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. JB

    Hey Blue Tiger, it is not that Obama doesn't make sense, it is that a little bit of intelligence is required to understand him unlike with Palin who requires little more than a grade school education to comprehend, quess we know why you will be voting for her.

    October 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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