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. Barbara in NC

    Ken Sawyer – I have a hang nail today. Do you want to blame Obama for that too?

    McCain and Keating 5 buddies started the Savings and Loan deregulation stuff years ago. That is EXACTLY what started the mess.

    Grow up and figure out that one day does not make an eternity. But what Keating 5 started years ago certainly has long-reaching tentacles.

    November 6, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    The entire campaign staff should have been fired day one for their constant barrage of distractions, distortions, innuendo, and negativity. The 2008 McCain/Palin campaign should be a textbook example of how NOT to run a campaign!

    November 6, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Maureen

    I want to respond to Ken Sawyer – why are you blaming President-elect Obama for the stock market tanking – remember George W is still in charge!

    November 6, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. frodo

    The president doesn't really have any influence over the price of gas, or the level of the stock market. It is laughable that people blamed W for $4/gal gas...where are they now that gas is $1.99? Probably saying that Obama did it!

    The other point is that the person that raises the most money wins. Simple as that. Obama bought us, and we bought him. He promised some form of hand out to practically every man, woman and child. Now we have to wait to see how he will deliver. What most are fearing is that the national debt will continue to balloon and we will end up leaving our children and grandchildren with a debt that can never be repaid. It is unfortunate that McCain wasn't much better, he would have grown the debt too. Why don't we care? because we're getting some gravy.

    November 6, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. dave

    Fearful -

    "Obama stated in a radio interview that the problem with the Constitution was that it was written to restrict the Federal government not say what the government "should" do. "

    Think about that for a while. If you had a choice between a government that had a list of ten things it couldn't do, and then everything else was on the table; or a government that had a list of ten things it could do, and everything else fell into the realm of individual rights and responsibility, which one would you take? Which one is closer to a conservative ideal? I think if you just thought about this for 2 minuets you would probably arrive at the same position as Obama.

    "In the Presidential debate Obama stated that health care was a Right. Where in the constitution or the bill of Rights does it say anything about health care?"

    Again, which is the better government to have, one where as a citizen you get a list of ten things that are his rights, or a world of possibilities that allow for individuals to decide amongst themselves what they are willing to provide as rights for themselves (like health care)?

    It is frustrating to see the followers of the party whose slogan was "America First" to so badly misunderstand what the basic principles of socialism really are and who is really promoting them.

    November 6, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. Dave in Leesburg

    Who cares. These campaign advisors from both camps are posturing for their next jobs. Its a dirty business. But I am wondering when is CNN going to start asking the new President-elect some tough questions or is that to remain off limits.

    November 6, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Independent In NY

    I hear a lot of comments directed to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from the right.

    They seem to forget that Reid and Pelosi are the only reason Bush and Cheney were not Impeached.....

    November 6, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Where are the clothes?

    Come on now.... they were going to give the clothes to "charity". Where are they? Did they get the first dude's suits back? How about the poor little girl's dress?

    November 6, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  9. Pray for HIm

    Ken Sawyer Blame any and everybody for the markets going down. If you really thought that things would change because President Obama became president over night. I have some magic beans I want to sell you. Get over it, it was going to tank rather Mccain got elected or not. Stop blaming everybody for your problems and go pray.

    November 6, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  10. Truth Be Told

    Ken Sawyer – you're a fool, a misinformed, uneducated sorry fool. the market tanked not because of obama's election but because of the continuation of your idols bush/cheney/mccain's policies that caused the miseries of millions of americans and many millions more of people around the world. do you think this economic problem is domestic?

    why don't you pull your head out of the muck you so loved and take that blinders off too while you're at it.

    November 6, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. Robyn

    Ken, you're not serious are you? What say you about our CURRENT President, Mr. Bush?

    November 6, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. globalgroove

    uh Ken...the market went down yesterday and I beleive Bush is still in office. Why don't you read why stocks fell yesterday???

    November 6, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  13. Kentucky

    The bottom line is Barack Obama is the next you haters can either get on the train or get ran over by the train. If you're that upset about it, then move to Canada.

    November 6, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. Linda

    Hey, fellow Democrats, some of you need to lighten up. The campaign is over, and now we must work to rebuild our beloved country. Just remember that you cannot judge a person by the color of their politics. There are good Rebulicans and bad ones too, just like there are good Democrats and bad ones too. Why, some of my best friends are Republicans! Just reach out to our friends, neighbors and co-workers whose candidates lost and try to let them know it is going to be fine for all of us, if we work together. As my daddy used to say"if you cannot say something nice, don't say anything at all".

    November 6, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. Michael watching from Canada

    CNN you should stop any more news that reflects the problems of McCain's campaign. The election is over. All this does is reinforce any hostility between the parties. Let the healing begin.

    November 6, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. lovinthiscountry

    Enough with the continued divisive rhetoric. Get over it! We are no long red and blue...we are Americans. It is time to move forward to heal this country. We have so many problems....such a big hole to climb out of that we have to work together to get this country back on track. Our future and the future of our children and maybe even grandchildren is depending on the positive, cooperative decision we make right now. The important thing we must do is that now that we have elected these various new senators, house member, and president, we must keep their feet to the fire and make them do the will of the people. They must work for the good of all of the more "do nothing" congress. Get involved in keeping up with issues and voicing your opinion to your congress representatives. If you think it doesn't've just seen it in action. The people of this nation have taken it in a new direction. Our journey for a better life is once again just beginning.

    November 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. Mike Dallas

    Based solely on the way the two campaigns were executed, it was Obama hands down.

    He embraced new technology and now has a base of over 3 million folks that he can contact with the touch of a button. They were very disciplined probably the best I have seen in my 57 years. If there was infighting no one knew or will know about it. Presented specific plans with bullet points, instead of broad statements such as "shake up Congress", what does that mean specifically? Volunteers were in the tens of thousands, donations were solicited and effectively used thruout the campaign.

    If his administration is run one third as efficently as the campaign, it is all good.

    November 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  18. SSG Type

    The market has been doing that for the last month . It has nothing to do with Elected President Obama. Think about what you say, before you write it.

    November 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  19. spokanebob

    Time to impeach NOBAMA for lies deceit and bullcockery.

    November 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. Karen from Charlottesville

    Who cares. let's now focus on supporting our president elect, contributing time and energy to our communities, increasing our personal savings, and making sacrifices to get the US out of this terrible hole.

    November 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    The election is over, CNN–this isn't news anyone really cares about.

    November 6, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  22. S.M

    I've got to give it to McCain he had given a very nobel speech, but his supporters were very rude towards Obama when Senator McCain called to congrajulate President Obama on his win. Sounds to me as if McCain's supporters are very sore loosers.

    To the individual who criticized Michelle Obama for her dress. I wonder what kind of clothes you have in your wardrobe?

    November 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. AmericadowntheDrainMcCain

    Looks like Georgia doesn't have a lobbyist to McCain Do they get a bail out?

    November 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. dwayne

    Congratulations to Barack Obama and the Democratic party on the election. I know people expect republicans to be bitter about the outcome, however, I refuse to hope that my country's leader fails. I was not on the winning side but I wish Barack Obama the best and I hope he turns out to be the best president we have ever had. I love my country, and I know it is important for our leaders to do what is right for our country. I will give Obama my full support and hopefully he turns things around. He will have no bigger cheerleader than me. It is time we all support our leaders, republican or democrat, our problems are too big to bicker over the little things. God Bless America, all of it!

    November 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. Dave

    This just in, Ken Sawyer is an idiot.

    Have you not been following the financial news lately? The is a huge crisis going on. Google it.

    November 6, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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