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)

    Let the scape goating and back stabing begin. They wonder why there party lost with there kind of loyalty to one another.

    November 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Ken G.

    I am completely flabbergasted by some of the responses from McCain supporters to this news story about reported disarray among staffers on the McCain campaign.
    There they go again, blaming the messenger for the news being delivered. If there was a hint of such dissension in the Obama campaign or its transition team you can bet CNN and the rest of the news media will jump on it, as would the GOP.
    I don’t understand how someone can use this story to attack Democrats as “sore winners” when Democrats have nothing to do with this story about infighting among McCain staffers. That idea is completely mind boggling.
    For someone to refer to Democrats as partisan and dividers during the last eight years when no one has done more to divide this country than President Bush, his administration and the GOP in general is even more mind-boggling [one of many obvious examples was the seven United States Attorneys who were dismissed on political grounds, based on their refusal to follow partisan White House objectives during a poltical campaign].
    And did any of you McCain-Palin fans really listen to your own candidates and the vitriol, lies and negativity that continued to spew forth from their lips and their commercials from day one?
    As for Jeff’s list of promises that Obama should be held to, he’s right, to some degree. However, let’s see if the GOP in the Senate uses the filibuster to prevent his programs, aimed at fulfilling his promises from, being implemented. This is not a one man government. If the Republicans in Congress stand in the way of change, obviously strongly supported by the electorate, it will prove, once again, how divisive they are.
    Oh, by the way Mike, there were, indeed, news stories that focused on Michelle Obama’s unusual dress worn election night. The one she wore on The View also was the focus of news coverage. And, she doesn’t shop at Neiman Marcus.
    If Obama had lost to McCain I would have felt a lot more at ease had McCain conducted his entire campaign with the same honor, dignity and respect he showed in his election night concession speech. Why didn’t we see that John McCain over the last six months? The country would have been much better served.

    November 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. bob

    Palin has an IQ of 147, Obama has an IQ of 123. Obama was elected because of the money he received from IRAN. Obama is NOT qualified to be president and it will show soon enough. We will end up impeaching Obama you watch my words.

    November 6, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. ANGIE

    Well Sounds like he was Fired to me But you know folks Enough is Enough Lets come together and support President Obama for our future!

    November 6, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Noah

    Hey Ken Sawyer- The markets are literally afraid of Obama's policies, particularly his plans to increase taxes on those earning above $150,000 and capital gains. They are also weary of his plane to promote protectionism and not free trade. As evidence, just look at the last 2 months of the election polling. As Obama's lead in the polls grew there was an opposite effect on the stock market as it fell every day that Obama's lead grew or remained high. In the last week leading up to the election as the polls tightened significantly there was a rally on the stock market as people thought perhaps McCain had a chance. As soon as Obama won, the market loses more than it has ever lost following any presidential election in history. Just wait, there will be more bad news...

    November 6, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Andrew

    Ken Sawyer - don't be a sore looser. Obama was just hired, and his first day on the job isn't until 1-20-09. The market tanked because of our current president’s (Bush/McCain) policies. Unless you have been living under a rock these past few years, the market has been tanking every day if not every other day. Now our market is back to the ‘03 level – Thanks Bush/McCain, my 401K never looked any better! I guess if you were driving a car and you crashed it into a tree, you would blame the guy standing on the sidewalk watching instead of yourself, the person that was still in the driver’s seat?

    November 6, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Bob

    Come on, folks, let it go. The election is over. It's time to stop fighting and start working together.

    November 6, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  8. rm

    I think the McCain's campaign strategies & staff would have been just fine for a 2000 run, maybe even 2004. But NOBODY was ready for the stellar, smooth, smart and forward thinking campaign that Obama ran. They were all caught off guard. Hillary was not ready for it either. It was masterful. Campaigns for years to come have a lot to live up to after Obama. Palin should have never mocked his Community Organizer credentials. Remember, Obama believes success starts from the bottom up. He is going to get our country back on track. Everyone have faith and patience.

    November 6, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. New Days

    Lets move on people, move on. President elect Obama has a world of difficulties ahead and he is going to need our help, in staying focus on what matters, uniting this country, overcoming hate and fear.

    Let this be new days for this nation we ALL call our home!

    November 6, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. Ruby

    oh well. life goes on...

    November 6, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. Ryan in Omaha

    Ken Sawyer have you been watching the stock market for the last couple of weeks? It's been erratic at best. You clowns will have to wait a little longer before you start blaming Obama for problems, because the bad economy was inherited.

    November 6, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  12. Happy in NJ


    You talk about holding Barack to his promises but can you explain to anyone what President has kept all the promises they made in the Primary and General Election?

    I understand you are a Hillary supporter but even she has moved on.

    November 6, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  13. nerakami

    This self-destructive part of our political history is over. Obama has set the standard for future campaigns where discipline & integrity are the order of the day. Thank God, America has voted for a more positive approach...

    November 6, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. Republicrat

    I had a hard time deciding to who to vote for. Each candidate had issues I stood behind. What I do find amusing though are the number of black americans (I refuse to use African-American because we are all Americans – not European-Americans, Asian- Americans, etc. – just "Americans") who think because Barak Obama was elected that they (the black american) will now get prferential treatment. There were several individuals interviewed on the radio who said that "change was in the air...and now that a black was elected they would have a job by (this) Friday..." No, they will have a job when they look for one, are qualified for one, dress the part for one, not because Barak Obama has been elected and will "make sure all blacks are employed". I believe Barak Obama is a very intelligent man and has the best interests of the entire Nation in mind...not just people of color. Additionally, he knows what hard work is and will not tolerate laziness and expectations of entitlement.

    November 6, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. vic nashville,Tn

    Election is over

    CNN please don’t bother grandpa now he need some rest

    November 6, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Brian

    Ok, they cut off his email address, took his blackberry, wasn't at McCains concession speech, but he's wasn't fired? What would you call it then? I believe that Scheunemann is traveling down a river called denial.

    November 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Bob

    Funny how you lemmings followed OBAMA to the leap off the cliff. You are about as sad and pathetic as they come. John McCain was the only HONORABLE man running. Sara Palin is still more qualified to be president then Obama. And way smarter she was then any of the rest. You libs have just ruined this country. I am applying for welfare tomorrow, quiting my job and asking for a home loan I don't qualify for.

    November 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. Obama Victory

    Ken Sawyer:
    The market tanked one month ago thanks to years of deregulation. Today jobless rates are highest since February 2003 and Asian markets are slumping - that is driving our market. Our country and, indeed, the world is celebrating an Obama victory. Still, that was not able to drive the market up. So, by your logic, if McCain had been elected the stock market would have crashed.

    November 6, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. Janey

    isn't it time to start building up the Dems instead of trying to pull d0wn repubs as you have done, CNN for the past 2 years? Sore winners never make good leaders. And leave Palin alone or you will lose even more viewers–the right loves her and will compare her resume to the stuttering Obama any day. He now has his chance to prove himself–let him do it without smearing the right–dems are never happy and never will be.

    November 6, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Noah

    The Republican party is not dead. Conservatism is alive and well. As evidence just look at the campaign that Obama ran. He did not run on his extremely liberal record, he ran away from it. He chose to move more to the center-right because he knew he had to in order to get elected. Don't believe me? Look at some of the issues he ran on: less abortions, lower taxes, strong free trade (NAFTA), said he holds the right to invade Pakistan if terrorists are in our cross hairs, pro 2nd amendment/gun owner rights, etc. These are all conservative ideals, not liberal ideologies. So this country is still a center-right country. Obama's election does NOT signal a move to the left. As further evidence, just look at all of the states that had a vote on banning gay marriage. All of those states voted in favor of banning gay marriage. That is a conservative principal, the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman. So, sorry to all you extreme Liberals but your candidate betrayed you and you beliefs in order to get elected by a conservative country

    November 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. Beverly, NYC

    No access to the campaign means you're fired Randy. Pretty it up any way you like ,you're still a guy without a job just like 700,000 other Americans. How come John Mccain isn't blaming himself, afterall he choose Sarah from Alaska.

    November 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. Glenn in California

    At this point, who cares? Everyone that was on McCain's campaign should have been fired for the miserable job they did. For the country's sake, we'll be glad to have them all back in 2012. Maybe McCain can run again.

    November 6, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. mitch

    scheuneman was the lobbyist for the country of georgia, and may have played an indirect role in giving the go -ahead for georgia's attack on south ossetians. all just to create a crises to gain votes for mccain . it failed. randy failed. he should be fired, and investigated.

    November 6, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. Luke

    Is this really new worthy?

    November 6, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. NCLaw441

    It is disheartening to see the ugly comments made by Obama supporters on this blog. This kind of thing is what turned me off to Bill Clinton, as much as his policies. When the campaign is over, it is over, and then it is time to govern. I hope that Obama does not govern with the same tone as some on this blog have.

    I did not vote for Obama, not because of his race, and not because of any of the silly asides such those in this article, but because of his proposed policies. I opposed those policies before the election, and I will continue to oppose them–but I won't allow it to become personal, because it ISN'T personal, it is political.

    Dems, enjoy your win, but if you want to continue the personal attacks, don't be surprised if they come back against you in future campaigns. I hope that have to happen.

    November 6, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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