November 5th, 2008
09:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Sources: McCain aide fired for 'trashing' staff

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Scheunemann bonded with Palin during the Alaska governor's debate prep, above."](CNN) - Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator's campaign last week for what one aide called "trashing" the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.

One of the aides tells CNN that campaign manager Rick Davis fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading "disinformation" about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials. (Update: Davis denies the claim.)

Update: Scheunemann disputes campaign sources, says he was not fired

"He was positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain's campaign message," said one of the aides.

Senior campaign officials blame Schuenemann specifically for stories about the way Wallace and chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt mishandled Palin's rollout - stories that the campaign says threw them off message in the critical final weeks of the campaign.

Another aide said McCain personally was "very disappointed by Randy," who worked for McCain for many years in the Senate.

Scheunemann became close with Palin during her debate prep process.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (514 Responses)
  1. Frank the Tank

    Amazing, sore losers sore winners... for once in my life I have never been so ashamed of America... this contest was hard fought and now we must move on, stop the trashing from both sides... you can't read an update without this venom attached to the bottom... congrats to all, mean in winning, mean in losing, mean period... actually exclamation mark!!!

    November 5, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. Mark

    Are people in the Republican party seriously thinking Palin has a political future? Uhh, she cost McCain the election. Everybody thinks she is a joke!

    November 5, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  3. Wakeup

    I fully expect extremely liberal bias in this forum, after all this is CNN. By the way funny, the thing that none on the left choose to discuss is the awful approval rating of our now two year old democratic controlled congress (18% approval as of this week) and the fact that no one wants to really discuss the true heart of the sub prime lending debacle (the democrats lets get everyone in a home philosphy). Instead lets keep festering the Bush Derangment syndrome to which apparantly there is no cure.

    November 5, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. Doesn't matter much.

    Okay, the election is over now. Stop. Obama's going to get shot. How can you doubt that? And then Biden will be president. He's going to get impeached. There.

    November 5, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. vjohn-north carolina

    I am a 110% OBAMA supporter but; even i saw through how dirty palin and the gop did John McCain, McCain is one of the few rep.s that i have come to respect even though he did pull some stunts during the campaign. palin is so low down and rotten to the core that she , makes w. look a little better. i put her in slime bucket with dick and rush! i believe that mcain will go down in history as a honorable man even though he never became president, and palin will get whats coming to her.

    November 5, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  6. Where are the clothes?

    Bill in California November 5th, 2008 9:34 pm ET

    I've got news for you... they are NOT Sarah Palin's clothes. They belong to the RNC and they were promised to "charity". Your bitterness is showing. We need to come together, now. Give the guy a couple years before you trash him out.

    November 5, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  7. Joey080

    Observer November 5th, 2008 10:00 pm ET writes:

    I predict Todd files for divorce in the next few years, shaking Sarah's rigid view of the world just as Bristol did.

    I agree but, with more customary and mundane than ideological motives. Sarah is cheating on him.

    November 5, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  8. Anne Marie

    I wish there were more psychologists out there commenting about all this, and not just experts on politics. There's something bizarre (and surely interesting from a psychological standpoint) about the sheer hatred directed at Obama, especially since it's coming from people who claim to be Christians. (Christians, remember Jesus said it's easy to love your friends, but he was calling people to love their enemies. If you see liberals as your enemies, get to work right away on figuring out how to love them!) Also bizarre to see people online trashing the partiers as lazy people who want handouts, blame other people for their problems, and don't want to work. Some Republican bloggers are now blaming everyone in sight for this defeat instead of taking responsibility for their decision not to challenge Bush's policies and their party's decision to become a nasty, hate-filled party that spent much of the campaign trashing people due to their last name or their failure to be "real Americans." Face it: the nation does not want that. This is not the fault of some liberal media or people who just don't love their country. That view of the country pushed by Palin and McCain simply is not the majority's view. Take responsibility. Don't blame other people.

    November 5, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. LPLT

    To become the next senator, Palin would first have to resign as governor and then have the Lieutenant Governor appoint her. I'd laugh if she'd resign and then have the Lt Governor refuse to appoint her.

    November 5, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  10. Amy

    It's a shame that Randy couldn't be loyal to John McCain – who is by all accounts, a very loyal person. If what is written is true, he deserved to be fired.

    November 5, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  11. x-republican

    To all you Republicans out there listen up. If you ever want to win another election you have to choose a candidate that appeals to MOST of the voters. I know you think Sarah is great, but MOST people can't stand her. Had McCain chosen Romney, I would have voted for McCain as would have MOST people and McCain would have won. I voted against Palin, not for Obama. Take my advice and find a candidate that MOST people would consider voting for. If you pick a fringe candidate, you will LOSE again regardless of who the opponent is. Duh.

    November 5, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  12. Scary

    On Bill O tonight the Fox Chief Political Correspondent mentioned that Palin did not know the countries in North America or that Africa was a continent and threw tirades and berated her staff.

    Please run in 2012 Sarah, and 2016 and 2020...

    November 5, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  13. Monroe

    Pretty soon it will be Senator Palin. I bet she was licking her lips when her backup-plan to power opened up with Stevens' conviction.

    November 5, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. sharon

    Foks – read the story again. Palin and Scheuneman are both being thrown under the bus – someone has to take the blame for a lousy campaign, and they're it.

    November 5, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  15. HBHubby

    After reading several of the posts on here, I find it disgusting that although Obama won the election Democrats and Liberals are so mean hearted that they still trash Palin. I think that the Republicans have shown much more respect and honor in losing the election then the Democratic side is capable of doing or lose. You may not agree with Palin's views and you may believe everything that MSNBC and Saturday Night Live said about her but she has had the experience to be one of the best Governors that Alaska has ever had and she has gained the experience of finding out how shallow the people in the states really are. At least she has had the oportunity to run for Vice-President something the rest of us have never had.
    I for one think that she would make a great Vice-President or President some day. Just because Obama has been a Senator doesn't mean he is qualified to be President. Nor does it mean that he will be a good President only time will tell. Now is not the time for smear but a time for America to come back together and help our country move forward. I voted against Obama but will support him, I think it is very shallow and very mean spirited to still trash a woman and her family just because they were part of our political process. And proves that Americans still have a long way to go before we are a truly accepting society.

    November 5, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  16. dan

    palin is far right of centre. im sure she wont be president anytime soon. as to this story. Scheunemann is part of an effort by some people to build up someone who will lead the country with the right of centre agenda. like blind support of israel.

    November 5, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. dan

    palin is far right of centre. im sure she wont be president anytime soon. as to this story. Scheunemann is part of an effort by some people to build up someone who will lead the country with the right of centre agenda. like blind support of israel and aggresiveness towards iran and other mideast countries.

    November 5, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. Angry Citizen

    Republicans are lying thugs and deserve what they got. Closed minded individuals as well- notice how their rally, in comparison to Obama's, was whites only.

    November 5, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    As Americans become more formally educated, the national demographic increasingly more diversified, and the urban landscape continues to grow; and as rational thought, reason and spirituality (not doctrinal religion) continue to increase in the nation called USA, the sad insular narrow, shelfish-mindedness of the political right will continue to dry up...and the great nation of the United States will become one of liberals and those who may be deemed as moderate.

    November 5, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. Ashamed

    Reading most of your comments helps me understand why we are in such a tough place politically in the US. Reps and Dems both- the immaturity, lack of intellegence, attacking, fighting over something that is done and over- we will never move on like acting like animals. There is all this talk about unity, but everyone thinks "unity" means making others come to you "side." Everyone seems to think they are an expert on all of this. Maybe an intellegence test to be allowed to vote isn't such a bad idea after all.

    November 5, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  21. Liz

    At a time like this, we should all be gracious. Gracious in victory, and gracious in defeat. As any contest goes, there's always a victor and a loser; a strategy that worked and one that failed. It's really not the time to point fingers in public as to who caused what, or did what. I say it's time for the Republican party to privately re-evaluate it's approach to the people. John McCain obviously had a very bad campaign team. They should've known that trying to use negative spin (after 8 long years of a negative Administration) would have backfired on them. They should have especially known that picking someone so extreme to the right as a choice for VP (after such an extreme right Administration) would have been decidedly risky. John had good intentions, but he was seriously ill advised, and his platform came out as lacking. I am forever greatful for his honorable service to our great nation, but as it stood... My vote had to go for Obama. I urge Sen. McCain to continue to serve us proudly in the Senate, and to help the Republican party evolve beyond its current state of disrepair. We owe it to the American people... not just to the minority on the extreme right.

    November 5, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  22. we need something new- from OH

    CNN- stop showing pictures of black people all over the place! black people smiling and all. hispanics, asians, native american, and white people also are elated about obama's victory and now more hopeful that we can start going down the right track. what is up with your picure on the home page? each face is black. same with MSNBC's home page. what is this? obama is going to be the president of all the people of america, and that is what he has stated- NOT just black people!

    November 5, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  23. JoeNobody

    Oh so reminding Christians that they must love their enemies (the liberals in your example) is something they must do. So if I follow your logic correctly, liberals aren't required to love like Christians are required by their Lord's example, right? Liberals can hate all they want because they are don't aspire to love their enemies (the Republicans)? You say more by what you don't say.

    November 5, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  24. happy about the out come


    November 5, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  25. Lin

    Well it certainly was a totally inept campaign wasn't it? All of the negativity and robo calls simply turned off the electorate. Lesson learned for the future. Americans are better educated in 2008.

    November 5, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
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