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. Dexter Skagway

    Fired? Sort of like firing the chef on the Titanic after it went down, isn't it? Not much left to do for McCain's campaign. Aren't they all out of their jobs?

    November 6, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Lifelong Republican for Obama

    Rejoice!! "GOD'S WILL" is President OBAMA. God has spoken.....OBAMA is HIS choice.....he is the Way.....period!!

    November 6, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. mike

    Hey VIC Not yet but soon oshama,pelosi,reid and all the other demorats will dine soon.

    November 6, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Joe Green

    This is important as it helps us understand how John McCain lost the election. These folks all had their own agendas and worked against the common interest. There is no "I" in "TEAM" fellas! I feel bad for McCain, he was BETRAYED.

    November 6, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  5. SSG Type

    BOB are you crazy? first you say Obama has a lowered IQ that Pailin, but who won??????? yeah ok, then you say stop the fighting, but you are the first one to start fighting. you sound just like Mccain, sore looser. LOL

    November 6, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. The Other Campaign Strategist from 115th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

    Obama would have NEVER allowed this to happen on his team.

    Palin clearly has become a joke to many Americans. She is done on the national scene. Alaskans might elect her their Senator but she won't be taken seriously in Washington if they do.

    In April, May & June most people were saying that McCain needed to pick an economy oriented guy to fill his shortcoming. I said it then, and I say now, that Rob Portman of Ohio ... the former leader of the office of management & budget ... would have been the right call. McCain would have held Ohio and he'd have had a thinker on his team.

    McCain could have secured the base by early campaigning with conservative surrogates and hard hitting commericals against Obama's so-called radical ties but he needed to complete this before July. He needed to plant the seed and then let it go. The base would have had to "trust" him while he played to independents in the last 4 months of the campaign. This trust would have allowed McCain to publically take Bush to task.

    Johnshould have rejected the bailout as welfare for wall street. The nationalization of the banks approaches socialistic behavior and McCain was tarred with this brush. His suspension of the campaign gimmick was a big miss.

    Hiring the Rove disciple and Gullianni's agent were big mistakes. He needed that Republican guy Mike ....., the one that appears on NBC. McCain needed to have his persona of 2000 instead of the angry, "It's the SURGE, I tell ya", imagery of 2008.

    Obama was brilliant, ran an almost flawless campaign but could have been beaten. The GOP'ers blew it by being extremists.

    November 6, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. Phoenix

    We need to stop trashing McCain. Yes, his campaign was mismanaged. Now, we need to move on. Stop trying to generate ratings based off the election soap opera that is now over. McCain had the bravery to do what other Republicans would not do, and that was run against an Obama. He behaved like a total gentleman, and that's what mattered.

    Jeff, people like you make me laugh. If we had held all of our politicians feet to the fire, we would not be in the current mess. It's amazing how we wait until the black man makes it to office to "hold a politicians feet to the fire." Ken Sawyer, Obama did not even make it into office, so how are you going to make a blanket statement like that, oh the economy sank. GET OVER IT...He won. Stop drinking haterade.

    November 6, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. Scapes

    This is not news. No one cares about this. Stop reporting on it.

    November 6, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. george rush

    It boggles my mind how half of the nation seems to be stuck in the past.
    I sincerely hope that the rest of you have the drive to take up the slack for these people and move the nation forward.

    It seems unfortunate that these types of people do not seem to want to learn or the hopes of bettering their children's future.

    The world CAN now survive without the US but can we survive without the rest of the world. Think about it...they can make everything for themselves. What do they need to rely on us for? We rely on them for Walmart....

    Please direct your anger and hatred to something more constructive. Perhaps you can volunteer to help rebuild homes damged by the hurricanes.


    November 6, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    Reps are always sore losers. Obama isn't president yet. He will be sworn in next year. Until then, the ball is in Bushys court. The buck stops there. Also, bear in mind that Obamas proposals were designed before the stock market crashed. It tanked yesterday because the number of JOBLESS people was higher than expected.
    Not because of Obama. Because of the party in power !
    That problem will not be solved in a day. Patience and fortitude will get us through. There are no magic bullets to solve the problem.

    November 6, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Andrew

    Bob – I’m guessing it was McCain’s camp that released her IQ levels. With all the smoke the McCain camp was letting out these past several months, I wouldn’t be surprises if her IQ was 47, and they just threw a 1 in front of it hoping people like yourself were that gullible to believe it. I heard her speak, and if you want to make her out as highly intelligent person, then you’ve been fooled.

    November 6, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Dixie AZ

    I'm in Arizona. I voted for Obama and happy that I did so. McCain will go back to the senate to serve out 2 more years. McCain is no maverick. He ran his campaign as instructed by the out of touch gop. The republicans need to change their platform, which is way too narrow thinking to elect a president. McCain is too short tempered and arrogant and erratic - spur-of-the-moment– to make a good president. If he had run with the graciousness which he delivered his concession speech things may have turned out differently. A different vp choice would also have helped immensely. Reps can go on forever about how Palin entergized the base. Americans did not think her qualified.

    November 6, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. Sandi

    I didn't vote for Obama, but I pray for him. The Dems have an uphill climb to positively affect our nation over the next 4 years. As for all you who want to trash Palin, get over it. She proved that a woman can be strong and feminine. Its a new concept but if you try you can eventually wrap your mind around it!

    November 6, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. angela

    Note to self: when running election campaign, and aide behaves badly, simply fire him/her. Do not take away toys and hope he/she gets the point.

    November 6, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. Kate

    CNN needs to find out the "un-named sources" of all this drama. Is it a real source? or just some kid playing a prank and sending anonymous emails to look like they are coming from the campaign?

    November 6, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Tess

    The Republican party is clearly out-of-touch. Their pick for V.P. did not increase support beyond their base. The ugly, divisive rhetoric, ads, emails, i.e. scare tactics did not succeed. Prominent republicans began coming out for Obama. Their GE campaign was mismanaged. Before the election, they’d begun pointing fingers at each other and everyone else, in an attempt to explain the reason for their (inevitable) loss. Obviously, the finger pointing continues. Good grief. Is it any wonder why the most people did not vote for the Republican ticket?

    November 6, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. Ray from NY

    Wow!! Why do we just keep fighting each other? the republicans and democrats both have their fantics but for most of us i think we are sick of it all!1 lets help our new president get the job sone and help our country back to the greatness it had once!!

    November 6, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. ross berg- Buffalo, NY

    Let's be honest about this whole sarah Palin issue. If you put any stock in the exit polls the vast majority of independent voters (63%) said they believed that Palin was NOT qualified to be VP no less President and 45% of them gave that as a major reason they decided to vote Democratic.

    Based on that reality it is quite obvious that whatever chance McCain might have had to win was eliminated by his choice of Palin.

    The interesting question is how he reached the decision to name her. Was it simply a gut "Hail Mary" decision made essentially by McCain alone or where there senior trusted aides who sold him on the idea???

    Seems to me that even a political novice would have known that a woman who is so stridently pro-life was going to turn off a big chunk of the independent voters (especially the women amongst them) and thus be a big net minus in a national election. Further, whatever prayer she might have had certainly left when the Couric interview aired.

    Someday we'll all know what happened.

    November 6, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Stephen

    The left now has control of the White House and Congress but i bet after you run the country into the ground, destroy our economy and the American will to work and succeed with your European socialistic policies, undermine our national security, and basically pander and bow to other governments, you will still be trying to blame George Bush and the Republicans. You many have bought this election but now you have to show that you really can "change" this country for the positive. Change is coming but will it be good for the country? We will see. So far all I can see is a bunch of simple minded, hatemongery leftists gloating and pontificating ... but as with Carter and Reagan in 2 years or 4 years you will be out of power and this country returned to its path of conservatism, fiscal responsibility and strong national defense. Where our policies are dictated by what is best for Americans and not dependent on world opinion. I pray that Obama does well but based on responses in this blog I am expecting that the socialist agenda and all you mindless followers of it will fail and we will all suffer for it. I still will go to sleep every night with my Bible and a copy of the United States Constitution nearby to remind me of what this country was founded on and what values made it the greatest country on earth despite what the left would have us believe.

    November 6, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. MD, TX

    Today is November 6. The election was November 4.

    No one is interested in what happened, in either campaign, prior to the election.


    November 6, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. John S

    America, you chose wisely. Now that it is over, I still see some hatred and rhetoric on both sides and that is not what you country needs. This is the time to come together for the benefit of all Americans. There are many who feel anger and disappointment from this election. Those that still spew anger and hatred will eventually coem around when things start to improve in their lives.Every Democrat needs to be a good winner and not a sore one. No matter how much dirty tricks was shown or what was said in the race, you all needs to show restraint for your country. As a Canadian, I am proud of my brothers and sisters to the south of me. You have started a change in your country but you will also have started a change in how the world looks at America for the better. No more hatred and rhetoric. Start by helping your new President bring in a new and bright future, not only for yourselves, but for the entire world. God Bless America

    November 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. CanIcallyouJoe

    Oh, spin, gotcha.
    Haha, I guess it's hard to quit spinning those reports even after the election, eh?

    "I wasn't fired. I was asked to alleviate my position to another party who has not presently been disclosed."

    Man, I really hope we can all move on and come together to solve our problems.

    November 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. indepdentvoter10

    What a trainwreck !!! They want and desire to divide a nation and they cant even keep the peace amongst themselves. Good Grief. Thank God the keys to the White House went to "that one" instead of this disgraced group. Poor organization and Poor attitude.

    November 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. Farhana from ATL

    Too bad, when losers lose, they lose their minds and integrity. For a split second I switched on Foxnews, and here they are saying that the "liberal media" was in the tank for Obama and helped him win....ummm...really? Americans are not so easily brainwashed. And if that was the real reason, there would not be so much in-fighting in the GOP camp!

    November 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    With the Republicans it is always a witch hunt. Gotta blame someone other than who they see in the mirror.

    November 6, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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