October 1st, 2008
08:35 AM ET
15 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. Independent voter

    This man is senile and clueless! Even his own conservative base is questioning her lack of knowledge and experience. Even I, am average American woman can answer the questions that Katie Couric asked her in a more coherent and intelligent manner.

    McShame, wake up and smell the coffee!!

    October 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. courtney

    Palin just needs to stay on Fox News for interviews – that way they can spoon feed her questions.

    October 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. tulsa

    I am very tired of having a dimwit in the White House.

    I thought McCain was smart and honest but with his pick of this self proclaimed "Joe six-pack" he has proven to be far from either.

    Let's put someone who has more smarts in the Oval Office this election.

    October 1, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Ron from Baltimore

    What a hypocrite. Sarah, are you sure you should tie your star to this kind of nonsense? Imagine trying to get by-in from him on anything you believe in:

    "Oh, really? I said that? You must have caught me with a gotcha, Sarah. You see, we don't have money or time for that kind of (fill in your own guess), you know that. Say, how's Sean Hannity doing? Why don't you give him a call, see what he's up to, him and the wife and kids, maybe go up to his place for a few weeks, maybe take someone along. I have some traveling to do, and I know you don't want to stay around here by yourself."

    October 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. Gtnaustin

    If Sarah Palin has the experience to run the United States then so does Will Winn the Mayor of Austin, Tx. He manages a larger budget, has extensive negotiations with Mexico, is responsible for more people and actually has a brain. Sarah Palin is trying to get by on her Miss Alaska trianing to answer that final two minute question. No wonder she didn't win considering the way she is answering questions by the general public and the media.

    October 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Dazed of Seattle

    Jan I hope you read this:

    Your refreshing fun girl from Alaska is a corrupt politician and you can not deny that. She has eluded an investigation that she swore to uphold. She has not faced the media as of yet and when she has, she has folded like a bluffed hand. you need to read about what her own people in her state say about her. You are the snobs in America and have been for many years. I am happy to say that you and I both know that you are an Old Fashioned White Female with no snese of direction for yourself. You are a follower and you need to go to Alaska and follow all the Lemmings right of the cliff where the Republicans all need to be.

    October 1, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. arc, Lugano CH

    Alaska has Trade Agreements with Russia? October 1st, 2008 9:52 am ET
    There are Millions of Beautiful,Intelligent,Strong,Articulate and Hard working women in American that are Heads of households,Mothers,leaders,common-sensed, and financially savy.
    You couldn't have said it any better than that....Cheers

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. seldon

    Here is an example of a thoughtful and sensitive man who puts America first: in support of his beleaguered running mate and in solidarity with today's most vocal republicans, he is willing to reason and speak as terribly as she does, in public, out loud, fearing neither truth nor consequence. What empathy. What a HERO.

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. FL4OB

    It's interesting how McCain is now willing to defend Palin for the same type of attacks he used against others. Sorry, but that reveals more of the same hypocrisy we've seen from McCain lately.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

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

    Look at that picture.

    Behold the trademark hair-trigger temper that I don't want anywhere near delicate diplomatic relations.

    He can't handle an interview with a Des Moines newspaper without flying into a rage.


    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Mikey

    I am anxious for tonights debate. I suspect Palin will exceed my expectations, which could not be lower. However, watching some of her interview answers with Gibson and Kuric are so painful I want to look away. It is unfortunate she has been subjected to this and I feel bad for her and for her family. She should not have been put in this position.

    McCain showed his implusive, unsteady hand in "swinging for the fences" with the Palin pick, threat to fire Cox, granstanding on the bailout issues, and several other actions over the past month. McCain is not right for the Presidency, but the good news for him is now he can use Palin as the scapegoat for his failure.

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. ran

    People this is such a simple pick this time. Obama/Biden and only other Democrats is the way out if the last 8 yrs.

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. JONNA

    Just goes to show you that time and time again McCain makes erractic decisions. When will the people look at the facts, and let go of racism?

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. Tony

    McCain has made a colossal mistake in choosing Palin and he knows it. To pull her now would show that he makes decisions without thinking them through, as well as having lousy judgment, a topic that he is constantly criticizing Obama on.

    McCain used to be an honorable man and a role model. Now he is little more than angry, bitter, desperate old man with old ideas.

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I personally feel that Palin is a victim of this whole thing. McCain is not defending Saraha as much as defending himself!!! Of course he has to support his VP choice. I am an OBAMA supporter ...but I have to say that this GOOD WOMMEN has been used and could have her very career affected by this lousy McCain judgment call. He should be ashamed of himself !!!!

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. welches, oregon

    Palin has had several opportunities to show us her 'experience' and 'achievements'. Troopergate, Pregnancygate, Emailgate, what else is she hiding?

    McCain is a loser. Palin is the card that brought him down.


    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. BatCat05

    McCain and Palin are so out of touch with the common folk of this great nation, it's a crying shame. Palin thinks she lost 20K in her retirement account, because of the economic crisis, and McBush does not know anything about fixing the US economy. I know losing 20k would hurt me and I know that if the lying financial companies don't come clean, we, the 95 percent that isn't wealthy, are going to suffer BIG TIME. McCain is the same guy who has the S&L loan and Keating Five fiasco to his credits. Palin, just has that plain old I'm not ready to be president and I'm pretty vote for me look in her eyes. Both a bad combination and BOTH BAD for America! OBAMA-BIDEN, let's get this administration started!

    October 1, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. sick!!!!!!!!

    just look at that swollen head the Pitiful Old Warmonger is showing......it says it all......what a MISOGYNIST monster

    and whenever he uses FUNDAMENTAL......he is really screwed up!

    OBAMA/BIDEN (Intelligence) vs mc cain/pailin (stupidity-ignorance)

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. Elizabeth - TEXAS

    A former Republican.

    McCain sold the country out. He has lost the election and knows it. It has to be his way or no way. McCain made a terrible mistake with Palin and won't acknowledge it. I wonder if Palin knows the name of the morning paper she read this morning or how Joe six-pack is doing? The whole world is laughing while America goes down the tubes. A Maverick – that's a laugh. He is horrible and Palin is well – no comment.

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Chut Pata

    "I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space"

    Barack Obama has never been a fighter pilot but knows the challenges of war better than McCain. He knew from day one that the war against terrorism ought to be fought in Afghanistan and not in Iraq.

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. Carrie Pa

    The American people aren't stupid, McSane. You will lose!

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Marilyn

    God, please 'BLESS' America

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Mikey

    ...err, make that tomorrow's debate. I guess I really an anxious! ;>)

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Texas Doc

    Face it, she's toast. She's as real as a three dollar bill.

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Phil

    I'm a lifelong Republican and I've got to say that the lack of Palin's experience and her belief that dinosaurs roamed the earth only 4,000 years ago with humans is just too much. Also, look at the actuary tables on McCain. He's 70 something. Chances are that she'll be called to the presidency if he dies and that's just something that I am not going to vote for. I can't believe the Repubs blew it like this. It's almost like a dream that I'm trying to wake up from.

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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