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. Scott L

    Congratulations to President-Elect Obama.

    I was hoping McCain would win, but alas Obama beat him out.

    Looking forward to voting him out of office in 2012.

    BTW, Good luck to all New York City residents who will be seeing a 15% tax hike and also the rebate checks are being revoked per Michael Bloomberg.

    And so it begins...

    Hoping any Republicans out there put up the good fight to stop states from raising taxes on its citizens.

    Not sure about you, but there was no income cap on the NYC 15% hike but I would not be able to afford a 15% income tax increase.


    Good luck to all suckers!

    November 6, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. Wacky Obacky

    As was said on Fox this morning, he's just trying to save his "phoney baloney job". A crystal clear analysis.

    November 6, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. The World for Obama

    Who cares ... time to move on. McCain and Palin are has-beens. Let them cower into the forgotten depths of history. It is obvious that their campaign was a disaster and Palin is a kook.

    Case closed.

    November 6, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  4. Donald H

    After such a negative Republican campaign, the negatity must have rubbed off. Glad it's over. I hope they all learned something for next time. McCain never had a chance against the enthusiastic, younger Democratic opponent.

    November 6, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. GOP Lost

    Seems that the campaign made some very bad calls #1 being the selection of Palin, they still say she was the best thing that happened to the campaign, 73% of the people on the CNN poll say she was a drag on his ticket.. There was more negative coverage of Palin than positive coverage of Mc Cain. No message to take to the polling booth Joe Six Pack, Joe the Plumber, some really dumb stuff.Mc Cain had some bad advisors and he lost .

    November 6, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. Ms White

    @ Fearful
    You need to seek professional help. We as US citizens, should never be brainwashed with fear tactics to elect the best canidate for the POTUS

    November 6, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Bill

    Well it"s not over what are webgoing to do we the Muslem Radical , Unchristian, President now that a majority of Good God fearing Americans voted to elect him in the democratic way. For the record I didn't vote for either, But I was very disapointed in all the good people who continued to spread all the lies or half truths.

    November 6, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  8. anthony

    it hurts to lose,does'nt it repelecants.

    November 6, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. DL

    I have news for you: When they take your blackberry and turn off your email, you're fired.

    November 6, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. HouseDiva

    the McCain/Palin campaign was divisive, unstable,and dysfunctional from the beginning.

    America's majority was smart enough to see it regardless of their party affiliation.

    this is not NEWS.

    November 6, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. Bob Stephens

    Can't you all please just go away. You have stirred up enough hate in this country to last for years..

    November 6, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. Jaye

    Sad to say but true is that John McCain and Sara Palin unleashed the most vile, vulgar, lie filled campaign of all time.
    They should be ashamed of themselves, because they shamed our country.

    November 6, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  13. Andy

    Now if Arizonan's would just snap out of it and fire that hot head incompetent old geezer McCain the world would be a better place.

    November 6, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  14. Obama Supporter

    I really think that the bitter McCain supporters need to get over the fact that there candidate didn't make the cut. We as Americans are hungry for change and definitely deserve to be treated much better than we have under the Bush administration. Barack Obama will be our next president whether you like it or not. ACCEPT IT! He is calling out for your help as well to unite this country, and it makes me SICK to my stomach that some McCain supporters still can't accept the man for who he is and what he wants to do for this country. I thought American was on the verge of changing due to Barack being elected but I see a lot of things still haven't changed.

    Some people fear this man because of his race, it's plain and simple. After all his speeches, interviews, and just watching him interact with his family, I cant understand why some of you still fear this man. It boggles my mind.

    I also read a CNN article where some supporters will try it their best to make it hard for Barack next year......All I have to say is, he is trying to help YOU yet you're turning your back on him. Pure ignorance.

    November 6, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. Independant

    Let's bash the losers and hail the winners. Talk about jumping on the bandwagon.

    This is typical. People who lost are upset and looking to blame someone. Peolpe who won talked about everything they did right.

    McCain has shown a great deal of character in defeat with his speech, his quick response to dissention in his ranks. I think it shows leadership and if he would have done the same during the campaign, maybe the results would have been different.

    November 6, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  16. Greg M.

    Good bye John McCain, Good bye Sarah Palin, Good bye Cindy McCain, Good bye republicans, and please never,never, never, return.

    OBAMA 08'............................................................................

    November 6, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  17. Dave

    So what else is new – when Kerry lost there eas talk of in-fighting, not spending all available campaign funds, etc. That's what happens to the losing side – would you expect them to be content?

    November 6, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. Jaye

    I just want to thank CNN for the best political coverage in the United States!
    Wolff Blitzer, Jack Cafferty, Anderson Cooper, Heidi, and to everyone else...a heartfelt thank you!!!!!
    Now, please help our new president all you can – be kind!

    November 6, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  19. Happy Day

    John McCain petty squabbles no longer matters, and may I be the first to say that that's just great.

    November 6, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  20. dj from Connecticut

    The odds were against the Republican party from the get-go! They will scrutinize and analyize and work on reforming their party. A new chapter in politics is here and going forward. Everyone is tired of the same political discussions, especially about Palin. The news media has been terrific, especially CNN. Time to move on to significant topics.

    November 6, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. Robin

    I blame everything on Palin, she was the worst VP pick in the 232 year history of the United States. If GOP thinks that she is the future of their party they can kiss their party good bye, the general electorate will never vote for her.

    November 6, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Just an FYI. When you email is shut off and you're cell phone is taken away – you've been fired; they just forgot to tell you personally.

    November 6, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  23. JD in Moraga, CA

    to "Fearful" – maybe it's in the Preamble, where it says "We the People, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty..."

    November 6, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  24. AJP Richardson, TX

    It becomes apparent that the Mccain camp had no one in control.

    This campaign was in trouble from the start. They had no dominant leadership from the top. All chiefs and no indians. You cannot run a business, let alone a campaign, in this manner.

    November 6, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  25. Independant

    Couldn't agree with Jeff more. (8:15 a.m.)

    Let's give Obama a chance to make good on the great many promises he made. (although he is already backsliding on most of them).

    We elected because he made these promises. If he keeps them, let's re-elect him. If not, let's get someone else in the White House who can do what they say.

    November 6, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
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