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. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Who cares it's time to get on with the business of the country and McCain has thrown his support behind Obama to help take care of business. So everybody needs to stop the clowning around and find out what you can do to help.

    November 6, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Andy

    We'll never know if/when Obama breaks his promises cuz CNN will never tell us about it.

    Good democratic campaign CNN!!

    November 6, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. Danny, OH

    I feel you Maggie from Virginia. I also voted for Obama but I feel sorry for McCain when I hear him speak.
    Its so sad.

    November 6, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. david

    Sandra, I agree with you to some extent although I'm not sure how relevant a "test" of Presidential ability it is to run a successful campaign. If this was a reliable indicator, then there would be no failed presidencies. Your words about Obama being everybody's President are very true and I agree with them, but I wonder if you went public with your feelings eight years ago when many, many people were vocally disputng the legitimacy of the Bush presidency, and in fact a significant number of them never stopped singing that refrain. Finally, acceptance of Obama does not mean that we should stop opposing those policies of his that we disagree with. To the contrary, now that he has power we have an obligation to voice our opposition even more forcefully. Don't you agree?

    November 6, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. liz

    All you obama supporters...why dont you read about what is happening over seas right now!!
    i think Biden's statement about Obama being tested is true!!!

    see what you all got...enjoy!!

    November 6, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Sissy

    To All the People who voted McCain/Palin:

    I hope and pray that you all can find peace and acceptance in this outcome. We all need to join together to get US ALL out of the situations we are facing today. One man will not be able to do it all.

    November 6, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. fred

    Hey Obama people, Who is the president of the United States? I bet half of you would say Barack Obama

    November 6, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  8. Bridgette-PA

    "Mike"- Why do you still feel the need to be disrespectful to Michele (even though this ticker is about Mcshame). I tell ya what, ask her where she got her dress and I "betcha" it didn't cost $2,000.00! Besides, as long as her HUSBAND loves what she wears, WHO CARES WHAT AN IDIOT LIKE YOU THINKS! LEAVE EARTH, YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME HERE!

    November 6, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. becky

    At a time such as this we need to come together, as Americans have in the past, to see our country once again lead the world. I pray that as Americans we stand strong against those who would like to tear us down and show the world that we are one.
    Obama will not be able to fix in four years what took the Bush administration eight years to ruin.
    If the Republicans continue to defy what the people of this country have demanded it will only hurt their future participation in the governmental process. I am looking forward to a UNIFIED congress and senate to help heal this nation.
    We need to make clear to both the Republicans and Democrats that we expect professionalism from our leaders.

    November 6, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. JIM...TX

    Who cares about the state of the Republican party , McCain or Palin. They ran a vile hateful campaign sucking up to the right wing nut job religious right. They deserved to lose ! Like it or not a BLACK President will take over in January so get use to it. We Dem's had to put up with the Crawford town jester for 8 years.

    November 6, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. Paul Dirks

    Randy Scheunemann, best friend and ally to Ahmed Chalabi is now in trouble for being best friend and ally with Sarah Palin.

    He sure has an odd knack for picking friends!

    November 6, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  12. susan

    He is as smart, subtle and brazen as Palin is.
    No doubt he will be her neocon campaign manager in 2012.

    November 6, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. Rev Melvin Johnson

    Ken Sawyer November 6th, 2008 8:54 am ET

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

    Ken, the last time I checked George Bush was still president. We are going to feel the effects of his presidency for months to come. Let the new elected President to be start working before you start to throw stones.

    November 6, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. S.M

    Sounds as if McCain didn't have a staff that he could trust or rely upon.

    November 6, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. Charlie

    The Repub surrogates were trashing Sarah Palin all day yesterday, especially on Fox. Once again they follow the Bush doctrine and eat their own. Somehow I don't think the viscious pitbull will go quietly.

    November 6, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. Dan

    Do the libs posting on here have jobs? I am off work today and decided to troll postings and see whats up, but it appears that the same people post over and over on different topics across the boards. Here's an idea...go get jobs. Help the economy. Your chosen One is not really going to pay for your gas and mortgages. That was just as huge misunderstanding that a lot of you confused yourselves over. Stop blogging...get jobs...make the world a better place.

    November 6, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. Carmen

    Ok i find it funny that they stripped him of his Blackberry. In this day and age that is equal to banishment. I have images of a distraught male running around begging people to use their cell phones.

    November 6, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  18. cjs

    I just wonder one thing, will all those (Derryl Walltrip for instance) who said that we had to listen to the President because he was the President and for no other reason still be saying it. The question is, will they be hypocrytical liers or will they support Obama? It sounds to me, from the blogs, that they are going to choose to be hypocrytical liers who do not practice what they preach when things don't go their way.

    November 6, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  19. Sue in MI

    You have a good point about accountability, but when the Congress and the American people who elect them cannot even hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their war crimes, and their disregard for the Constitution and our rights, it is unlikely that Obama will be ruined if it takes longer to get things done. Bush has already protected himself after he leaves office with the War Crimes Act, and since Pelosi is complicit in the torture of prisoners she will never stand up to him. I wish she had lost her seat, and I pray she will lose her Speaker job. She is a joke.

    November 6, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  20. Phil in KC

    He was fired; he wasn't fired. He had his communicatiions cut off. Fine, but I have two questions. First – why? What led to this? Second, why do I care?

    November 6, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  21. Mike Dallas

    This is off subject but I have congratulate CNN on the Poll of Polls numbers.

    The general was 7 for Obama and he did 6.

    Indiana projected to McCain went Obama.

    So the "liberal media bias" appears to have been McCain's favor heading into the election, not Obama.

    November 6, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  22. Holley in GA

    To Ken Sawyer,
    Apparently you have been living under a rock. The stock market has been a steady roller coaster for well over 6 months. Get a grip.

    November 6, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. mj

    Jeff–why do you want to be so divisive? It's time for all people in this country to work together–not prepare for another war against our own people. It's hatred like yours that pulls people apart. None of these candidates (except maybe Palin) truly wants this nation to be drawn apart with bitterness and fighting and petty name calling. This country faces tremendous problems that can't be solved with hatred. McCain gave a beautiful speach on election night, let's all listen to it again and respect this man and move forward for the good of the country.

    November 6, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. Phil in KC

    To those of you blaming the stock market on Obama – really? C'mon. He hasn't taken office yet and no policies have been enacted. Stock market woes still rest sqaurely on the shoulders of George W. Bush.
    Besides, there's an old market adage that says "By on the rumor, sell on the news". This is a perfect example.

    November 6, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. Brown

    As others have stated, who cares about whether or not a top advisor was fired. This country is in disarray and that is the least of our worries. It will take a while for us to just calm down from the election. It amazes me that before Obama has taken office, people are ready to tear him down. Lets not forgot how this country got into the shape it's in and the proof is the absence of President Bush during the election. So lets ALL (Dems, Repub, Indep) just take a deep breath and lets pray this country can be put back on the right track because it will take ALL of us to make that happen.

    November 6, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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