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. cj

    You libs crack me up, you sit around blogging crap calling people names. makes me think you arent any better. What happened to open minded. Politics have become a complete joke this time around

    November 6, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. Ken Sawyer

    One day after he is elected the stock market tanks. good show Obama

    November 6, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  3. mike

    Come on Republicans, we need to get behind the democrats just like they got behind us. Show the same unity and support. Its going to be a great jimmy carter type 04 years.

    November 6, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Vince

    Well said, New Day. Obama supporters need to be gracious in victory.

    Bush's 2nd term started with a haughty tone ("I earned alot of political capital in this election and I intend to spend it!") and look what it did to our country.

    We won, that's great. Barack's the President-Elect.

    But what good does the negativity do? We'll be no better than those nasty robo calls and smear emails if we rub salt in the wounds of the GOP.

    Unity, Peace, and Empathy are needed right now. Not "go back to Alaska/Arizona you ".

    I mean, seriously its like the negative people on here don't realize were all in the same boat and we *all* need to paddle together to get out of this storm.

    November 6, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. Alex in MA


    November 6, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  6. ines

    If I were fired by the McCain campaign(though I would never have worked for him), I may wear it as an earned badge of accomplishment.

    The McCain team was erratic, unorganized, prone to telling lies, and all-round VERY unprofessional. To not fit in with that 'type' of people is a good thing.

    Scheunemann should consider writing a book.

    November 6, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  7. Salt

    I really hope that President-Elect Obama is able to work closely with Senator McCain in the coming months. It's time to put the campaign behind us and get to work.

    November 6, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  8. carson

    Mccain big mistake is choosing palin as running mate.. and the problem became one by one.. sorry for mccain..

    November 6, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  9. Louis Gesthon Abraham

    Give us a break! we all know that it is going to be tough for Obama administration during the 2 first years. It is very easy to destroy but it takes time to rebuild. He had never said that he would perform a miracle. He clearly said that we have to work together.

    Obama-Biden will do good!!!!

    November 6, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. Susan

    No wonder McCain failed so miserably. He could not keep his own staff and running mate in line.

    November 6, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. Sonia Barr

    They probably held him down and removed his brain and stored it with the brains of Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin.........

    November 6, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  12. Bobby

    How come Obama isn't going to his grandmothers funeral. For someone who was so important to him growing up you'd think he would go. That would be the right thing to do!

    November 6, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  13. pam from MI.

    I will never support obama and neither will anyone in my family. Even his cabinet sounds scary to me

    November 6, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  14. Steve

    It's over now and we have to live with our choice now for at least 4 years. Time will tell if the choice was correct. I strongly believe Palin got a very raw deal by the media.

    November 6, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  15. Marge

    McCain's campaign really jumped the shark when they announced the "Joe The Plummer Tour". I don't know what they were thinking.
    But the good news is ITS' OVER!!!!!!!!
    In Jan we will have a New President . Bush will be gone and that in itself makes me Happy!!!!!!
    All these sore losers really need to GET OVER IT!!!!!!!

    November 6, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  16. jm for sc

    New Day, I couldn't agree with you more. I noted when McCain mentioned Obama's name in his concession speech, his supporters booed. However, when Obama mentioned McCain's name in is acceptance speech, his supporters clapped for McCain. We will have a president that will try to bring people together rather that keep us divided. As an Obama supporter, I am ready to embrace all who were against us and move forward.

    If the guy was fired, it really doesn't matter because the entire McCain campaign is over.

    November 6, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. Joel, Florida

    Now that Obama won we ALL need to hold him to his promises even the ones, like me, who worked so hard for him.

    November 6, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  18. Stephen

    The "chosen one" Obama. You Obamanites are gonna realize this sooner or later when four years from now we will be in even worse shape. He's just a good looking, smooth talking man with empty promises. Way to go America! Your first Marxist president. That's something to be proud of!

    November 6, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. The Next President

    Can't wait for Sarah's book...

    November 6, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  20. T.Hodge Raleigh,NC

    It is what it is but randy I smelled FIRED!!! I know you can not defend yourself but maybe in 4 years try a new camp the ride is over for now Obama 08!

    November 6, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  21. Joe the Troll


    "If he is not out of Iraq in 16 months as promised give him 24 months and if he is not out call him a liar for going back on his promise"

    If you voted for McCain, you voted to CONTINUE the war. So you're going to be angry if you get what you voted for?

    You don't stand for any issues – you just don't like a black guy being President. Can't you admit it?


    Anyone who doesn't see health care as a HUMAN right isn't much of a human being.

    November 6, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  22. Angel

    Imagine the Drama if McCain won...

    November 6, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. Nancy

    Shame on you Senator McCain. You should come forward and show support for Sarah Palin. You did, after all ask HER to run with you. And to now allow all this negative media about her without stepping up and supporting her is a show of YOUR character.
    I voted for you and sent you money, but I am ashamed of you for this.

    November 6, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  24. Joel, Florida

    Don't worry Jeff, Hillary will NEVER be President now no matter what happens.

    November 6, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  25. roy -IL

    Sarah Palin has LEFT THE BUILDING and gone North to Alaska....thank goodness It was obvious election night that Palin and her husband did not want a concession speech made. Perhaps this went along with the RNC party NOT showing the current electoral vote counts and chanting 'WE will beat the polls!!' This same 'ingnorance of Reality' also showed up when Palin refused to accept any judgement on Trooper-Gate until it went HER way. I guess Scheunemann was sucked into this vortex and now believes that Palin will run in 2012. I hope they both realize that the 'American Dream' is NOT her fantasy to be President with zero credentials.

    November 6, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
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