November 6th, 2008
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain aide disputes sources, denies firing

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Scheunemann (above, with Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin) denies he was dismissed from the campaign."](CNN) - McCain’s presidential bid has ended, but the fireworks from inside his former campaign continue to make news: evidence is mounting that senior adviser Randy Scheunemann wasn’t fired, as several internal sources had suggested, but the target of a deliberate whispering campaign.

Top McCain adviser Mark Salter told CNN Thursday that Scheunemann, the campaign’s senior foreign policy adviser, was not fired.

Campaign manager Rick Davis denied a report he had fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading "disinformation" about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials.

"My impression is there is some silly score settling being done," Davis told CNN. "Randy was not fired."

Scheunemann himself said sources who said he had been dismissed were lying.

"I was not fired,” he said Thursday. “Anybody who says so is either lying or delusional and is certainly a whack job."

Earlier, Scheunemann told CNN he was "not fired and never [have] been fired."

Some senior campaign officials blame Scheunemann 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.

"He was positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain's campaign message," said a McCain aide, one of three senior aides who told CNN that Scheunemann had been fired from the campaign.

Scheunemann, who was widely viewed as a supporter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, admitted people were trying to push him out of the campaign. But he said that Goldfarb, his ally, was incorrect when he told CNN that Scheunemann’s blackberry had been taken away — although he does admit that his e-mail account had been “temporarily” cut off.

Earlier: Sources: McCain aide fired for trashing staff

Michael Goldfarb, a McCain press aide and Scheunemann ally, said that senior McCain aides were mad at Scheunemann - and wanted to fire him - but he insisted they stopped short of that, and instead simply turned off his campaign communication.

Goldfarb said Scheunemann was in the office on Saturday. He was, however, noticeably missing on election night when top aides to John McCain and Sarah Palin gathered in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Updated with additional information 11:45 a.m.)

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Julie

    Scheunemann and Palin look pretty cosy to me.

    I don't see any strife.

    November 6, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  2. KJL

    I'm bored with all those nasty people. The Republican color red came to be symbolized by the contorted, angry faces of McCain and Palin. They should both retire.

    November 6, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. jim santos

    get over it mc cain u lost get a life if we wanted u u would be pres elect

    November 6, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Tiara

    yeah i agree with everyone the mccain campaign was not mature and it was nothing but a joke to the world! What person running for presidency would make a tour called Joe the Plummer? This is terrible i am so glad OBAMA won now real change is going to be in effect!!!!

    November 6, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  5. chuck

    No one cares if they are HIRED OR FIRED.It's just good that they are all gone now and the books are closed on John McCain and Sarah the idiot Palin.

    November 6, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Maggie from Virginia

    I voted for Obama, but I feel sorry for McCain.

    November 6, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Amy

    I've really had enough drama. Time to focus on moving forward and changing this country.

    November 6, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Vic

    Gene Hackman said it best in the movie Mississippi Burning:

    "The snakes are starting to eat each other".

    November 6, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  9. Sandra

    The difference in how the two campaigns were run, shows to me the difference in the ability to lead this nation. This was "a test" for both candidates and for me, it shows Obama more capable of the job, the better leader more able to put together a group of advisers who can indeed put country first and accomplish the task at hand. McCain's campaign fell apart several times in several ways. Obama's did not. I'm thankful for the outcome. Now it's time for all of us to support the President of the United States of America. We are a democracy, we have elected the man who will be our leader for 4 years. Unless you are ready to renounce your citizenship, he is your president too. It's time to move forward and concentrate on what we can do to help this great country regain our position in the world as a leader globally.
    God bless these United States of America.

    November 6, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  10. Charlie

    Enough already. Their dignity does not need to be completely destroyed.

    November 6, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. Diana Ewing NJ

    With the negative campaigning the Gop ticket did, it will be hard but not impossible to united everyone.

    McCain's followers are said not to trust Obama, they had been spoon fed all along not to trust him...." who is the real Obama."... they never stopped to think who was the real McCain, were they really following him or memories of him.

    November 6, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  12. ST

    Gee, I wonder why McCain lost. If he couldn't run his campaign, he surely couldn't run this country. I feel kinda bad for him.

    November 6, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. John

    Lets start selling papers and demanding web traffic by inspiring readers and get off the tabloid train O.K. CNN? For the first time in a very long time journalism has something good, really good to write about and help play a long-term productive role in. Don't blow it. The McCain / Palin campaign is dead history. Let it rest and move forward.

    November 6, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  14. Bill Charlotte,NC

    Won't someone please take all of this crowd to Alaska? They are no longer news.

    November 6, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Penny

    Jeff: What promises would you have held Mcain to? To "win" an unwinable war? To balance the budget in one term? You sound like many I've heard who have a double standard.

    November 6, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  16. Ms White

    He may not have been fired...but he was surelt DEMOTED

    November 6, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  17. Steve

    Hey Mike (comment below), stop being a Republican and join the rest of us as 'Americans'!!!

    November 6, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  18. Carole

    Speaking of FIRING........................How is it that Campbell Brown is not FIRED?

    Good for CNN's ratings on election night after letting Campbell Brown trash President Obama so harshly the night of the infomercial that would have cut into her time. Like anyone with a brain would watch a White Chick who is dressed pretending to be tuff!

    I tell everyone I know now that I was a huge CNN fan for as long as I can remember, pre Gulf War I. But Campbell left a horrible taste in my mouth.


    **Let's see if CNN moderator posts this....or a Campbell friend. (I will simply MAIL in my opinion of her contiuniously.)

    November 6, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  19. D in MD

    If the republicans don't get their act together in 4 years they won't have a shot then either. It's a dirty shame the way they all acted.

    November 6, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  20. Tony New York


    November 6, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  21. former gop

    He wasn't fired. He just dressed like a woman and sneaked onto a lifeboat.

    November 6, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  22. Rob

    More importantly I hear John Kerry wants to be Sec of State. WHAT!!!!!! Giving that traitor the job would be the biggest slap in the face to the troops. He turned on his on comrades. He put in for a Purple Heart cuz he got grazed in the butt. Put him in and Obama sends a message to all soldiers, "I do not like you. You are evil. You will come into harms way, and it will be your fault."

    The destruction of the country is already taking place. Kerry as Sec of State. Robert Kennedy Jr. heading up the EPA.

    See ya America! Was nice knowin' ya.

    November 6, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  23. Michelle, PA

    And so it begins. Republicans need to stop yelling at each other and start really evaluating what they stand for and the tactics they use. The real "Silent Majority" in the center has spoken, and we aren't going to stand for extremism, hate, exclusion and fear anymore. We are giving Obama a chance because he is smart, he listens to other views, and has promised to include everybody as we are All Americans. Republicans can absolutely disagree with his policies and have spirited debate on issues, but they do need to grow up and make their stand like adults instead of whining, spoiled kindergarteners. I'm afraid they won't do it, and I am deeply saddened for what my former party has become.

    November 6, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  24. Doug R.

    The McCain/ Palin campaign is history. We all witnessed the events of 11/04/08. McCain's political career is over and Palin can go back to Alaska and never be heard from again. Time to move foward.

    November 6, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  25. Michelle, Florida

    All around the world, people are celebrating the election of Barack Obama. To those who believe that McCain was a better choice, ask yourselves these question? When was the last time your spouse wore a $300,000 outfit? (Not counting accessories).

    November 6, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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