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. Obama or Bust

    Wake up, old man! She's more qualified to change your Depends than to be VP. Is America that afraid of putting an African American in office that we would even entertain the idea of handing our already trouble country over to Mr. Gerry Atric and his Bambi in the headlights sidekick?!

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Garp Cosmos & McCain Rocks!!!

    »Sarah Palin=WONDERFUL Lady=HONEST Leader=NEXT US Vice-President. Yes.

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. maria Mtl, Can.

    He just doesn't get it ,or, he become senile, which I think the last point is my choice.

    October 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. proud army and navy mom

    mcliar has selective memory and memory loss. He only sees and hears what he wants to.

    My granddad is exactly like that and he's senile. He cannot be trusted to drive a car or have pocket money.

    Why would anyone trust Mccain with this country?

    October 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Dutch-VA

    She's suppose to be the person to be president if something happens to McCain. Why can't hse speak for herself. Stop defending her John. You are hurting her career, not helping it.

    October 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Hasn't McCain noticed by now that he is defending Palin much too often? She has made statements that contadict your position on the issue at least twice now.
    I wonder how he will defend her after the debate?


    October 1, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Michael, watching from Canada

    Is it true that the Wasilla Bible Church, sponsored a conference where gays could be made straight through prayer?

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. Rob

    Palin has enough "experience and knowledge and background" to become VP?

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Ron from Baltimore

    If I may borrow a term or two while some of our friends are in observance again today:

    McCain, what a putz! You'll go back in a few more weeks and look at what you've been saying, and break down either in fits of laughter or tears.

    What do you take us for?? A nation of schmucks?

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. JBP


    Nice McCain – alienate all of us.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Gwen Ifill...Pro-Obama

    Get ready John. I heard that the moderator for the VP debate, Gwen Ifill, is publishing her PRO-OBAMA book and it will be released before the elections.

    This is a definate conflict of interest and Gwen Ifill should not be allowed to be the moderator.

    I say keep Jim Lehrer as the moderator for all of the debates.

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

    John McCain is nothing more than an egotistical, arrogant, sexist man, who has just put Sarah Palin on the ticket to gain political points.
    He knows full well that she is not qualified to run for VP.......but to put her out there and have the whole world laughing at her....because believe you me they are, much the same as here with the American people.
    He should be totally ashamed of himself.......there is nothing honorable in the way he has been using her.
    I am beginning to feel really really sorry for her and disgusted at this man's lack of integrity.....SHAMEFUL.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Ryan

    Face it libs, Obama is doomed, McCain LANDSLIDE ! The polls are all fake lib conspiracies! Sarah Palin- A real Joe Six Pack American!

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. WI Cheesehead

    John McCain: "If I were a dictator, which I've always aspired to be."
    It turns out, John McCain has a lot more in common with Bush than we thought. He too aspires to be a dictator, and it's on video, thanks to the Des Moines Register. It's not a wind-up. It's a direct quote.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. Dutch-VA

    Fundamentally disagree? I don't ever want to hear the word "fundamenal" come out of his mouth again. Last time he used that word he said the economy was "fundamentally strong."

    October 1, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Lifelong Republican supporting Obama

    It is painfully obvious that Palin lacks not only experience (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) but she also lacks judgment and a basic understanding of the central domestic and foreign policy issues that are hurting this nation right now. It is just plain scary that this person would be a heartbeat from the Presidency and does not seem to care about these critical issues. She should not be the VP candidate!

    October 1, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. Michael, watching from Canada

    This is coming from someone who said......

    the fundamentals of the economy are strong!

    October 1, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Mark G

    You think that most of America is siding with you...how out of touch can you possibly be without calling it dellusional? Most of America is ticked off that you would have the gall to force this person on us when we are trying to decide the fate of our economy, the war, and how we are going to get our country back on the right track after the travesty of the 8 years. How dare you play politics with our future...shame on you.

    October 1, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Change NOW

    four more years of regret and apologies, "mischaracterizations", "skirting the truth", "non truths", "mislabeling my position", etc etc etc.....political correctness will reach a new milestone with mcsame/stalin after using racial intimidation, disenfranchisement, veiled threats, jingoism, xenophobia, to win the election:

    black and Jewish voters should not support Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin because "anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks."

    October 1, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. nelson mcnarland

    mccain is dumber than caribou palin

    October 1, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. Mike G

    Does Mccain go off on these little verbal tantrums often. I mean, would he communicate the same way with the world leaders that he claims to know so well? Everytime he gets frustrated he just goes off on a tantrum with whomever it is that has ruffled his feathers. With body language and communication skills like his, we would probably be in some type of war every year of his presidency.

    October 1, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Joe Regis

    I think she will change her tactics this time – during the debate; she will play the victim instead of coming out swinging with prepared texts.

    No prepared texts, play the victim.

    Regardless, the repubs are doomed this time, no more repubs this year.

    Landslide Obama/Biden 08/12.

    October 1, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. WI Cheesehead

    “Some Republicans say they are uncertain of McCain’s electoral strategy, wondering why, for example, he’s back in Iowa this week, a state few independent analysts see as being in play and where public polls this month show Obama enjoying a double-digit lead even before the economic meltdown. Asked why McCain was in Iowa, one veteran Republican there replied: ‘Because he’s running a senseless, non-strategic campaign. Why else would he come here?’”

    October 1, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Joe from Mahwah, NJ

    I just love how Sarah Palin equates the average American with a six pack of beer.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 1, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Dr. Proctor, PHD

    Sarah Palin is a threat to the national security of our country. The fact that McCain chose her is a direct affront to his judgment on national security.
    Being a POW is evident of judgment gone wrong allowing him to be
    captured. If he is thinking of "country first", Palin is not qualified.

    October 1, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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