April 14th, 2009
05:59 PM ET
13 years ago

Did McCain snub Palin on Leno?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/14/art.mccainpalin.cnn.jpg caption="McCain left off Palin's name on his list of future GOP leaders."]

(CNN) - Did John McCain snub Sarah Palin during an appearance Monday on NBC's The Tonight Show?

That's what some pro-Palin bloggers and other political observers claim after the former GOP presidential candidate left out his former running mate when naming five governors who he thought were in position to lead the Republican Party.

"We have, I'm happy to say, a lot of voices out there," McCain told host Jay Leno before listing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Utah Gov. John Huntsman, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

"There are a lot of governors out there who are young and dynamic," said the Arizona senator.

McCain then quickly joked, "I've left out somebody's name and I'm going to hear about it."

Criticism of McCain's comments are particularly fierce at TeamSarah.org, a blogging Web site for Palin supporters.

"McCain, who screwed up his campaign by not voting against the bailout, can't mention Sarah's name on Leno? It hurts the party and it makes him look bad by dissing her a 3rd time," wrote one blogger. "Maybe it's a good thing he didn't become president."

McCain has said in previous interviews it is too early to say whether he will support Palin should the Alaska governor run for president in 2012. His daughter Meghan made similar comments on CNN's No Bias, No Bull last week.  (Video below)

McCain has also praised Palin since Election Day, saying late last year of the Alaska governor, "It's one of the great pleasures I've had to get to know her and her family, and I think she has a very bright future in a leadership position in the Republican Party."

Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    Senator McCain does not have to support or in any way endorse Gov. Palin in her bid for the White House in 2012. Democrats will support her in her bid to become the nominee for the Republican Party. Democrats realize that they need her to run on the Republican ticket for President if our current President is going to have an easy run for re election.

    April 14, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. videodrome

    I am not a Republican.
    But I have to admit, I admire John McCain for being honest and saying what he thinks, at least this time around.
    If McCain feels that Palin is not national leadership material, so be it. I agree with his assessment, Palin is NOT ready for prime-time.

    April 14, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. bill

    McCain HAS to know he made a huge mistake when he chose her for his VP nominee...had she been properly vettedit would have been obvious she wasn't qualified...and she still isn't qualified. McCain chose Palin becuz she was an attractive female in hopes of swaying the disgruntled Hilary voters.....only problem was...Palin was way out of her league and now that she's been exposed the good state of Alaska can now see she's not even qualifed for governor. McCain played the fool in the past..no need in naming her for future positions and repeating his mistake.

    April 14, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Jeff W.

    Why would he mention her? After all, his decision to choose her as a running mate ruined his campaign and made the GOP a running joke that persists to this day. Does anyone out there with half-a-brain truly believe that the vapid Palin should run for president? Hasn't enough time passed for people to understand that Palin is very dumb and is not qualified to run anything?

    April 14, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Michael

    I think he forgot the name just like he forgot George Schultz name during one of the last interviews before the election. Talk about making something about nothing. He does not pick the "champion" of the republican party, popular opinion, through campaign contributions and highly placed supporters do. It is open range in the republican party and the party is adrift.
    It is really a shame when either of the parties are adrift because we need that exchange to improve government.

    April 14, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Dave

    Sarah Palin was the best thing that happened to the Democratic party in 40 years.

    April 14, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Eric

    It's obvious that he didn't pick Palin. His team did because they, as has been stated time and time again, were going for the hail mary pass. Nobody in their right mind would think she's in a position to lead this country. McCain would have had a better shot at winning had he made a strong but safe pick. The race would have definitely been closer had he picked Romney.

    April 14, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. doug, fairbanks, alaska

    think again if you believe Palin is a "successful" governor of our state. Her own party here in the legislature is dissing her for leaving the state to attend a Pro-Life convention in Indiana! when our legislators are still in session and grappling with AK issues. She has flip flopped on the Begich/Stevens election, first calling for Begich to resign, then backing off...she is the absolute worst and what a blessing for the Party of NO to nominate her in 2012!

    April 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Mike

    Enough with this RINO and the beauty queen already. Time for some new true intelligent Conservative leaders that are true to their convictions.

    The party really needs to eject this clown from the party already.

    April 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Kevin, Dayton OH

    I am by no means a fan of Sen. McCain, but I am less of a fan of Gov. Palin. Any delusions that she stands any chance of successfully attaining the presidency in subsequent elections are purely that, delusions. The party is just as responsible as the ticket for not winning, and there are certainly many other factors involved. Picking Palin was a serious mistake, and it is costing us dearly.

    April 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. C Spurgeon

    Why doesn't he quit and make room for a young American. The only thing this lifetime politician did well was to be a strong honorable POW and he should be honored for that but he has lived his whole life off of that and isn't bringing any honor to it now.

    April 14, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Alex

    From Matt: the only one thats a joke is the liberals who sit and think of ways to destory Palin while our economy is in the toilet but obama is a fake and he still has 3 years to ago still alot of time to screw up

    What a joke. A Republican leaves Palin out of his list of governors who would be good candidates for president, and somehow you calim that it's the liberals who sit and think of ways to destroy Palin. Are you serious? We don't need to think of ways to destroy her. Her and McCain are doing a fabulous job on their own! LOL

    April 14, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Mike

    This is purely unacceptable, thank goodness he's not in office. Clearly the American people have seen how the republicans re-act and have taken a stance against such behavior. Hopefully future republicans will reject these childish tantrums and provide the American people with what this country needs; true democracy for the people. Until then, our current president represents our nations finest interest.

    April 14, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Steve In California

    In an odd twist of logic, it appears that Darwin was wrong. If Darwin's theory that species get stronger by losing the losers was correct, then Palin and her supporters would disappear through natural selection. They haven't disappeared. Maybe the reactionary fundamentalist right is, uhhh, right. I doubt it. They're just noisy. They'll be "selected out" of the political process soon enough, with a few more elections. One of the first species who's "extinction" I will celebrate.

    April 14, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. PB

    It's true though... she's not ready to lead anything. Kudos to McCain for calling it like it is [finally]. I voted for Obama, but respect McCain and his ideas quite a lot. Palin is a joke though. Comparable to Joe the Plumber. I think that Pawlenty, Romney, and Crist could do a good job. I don't necessarily agree with their politics, but hey – I don't agree with all of Obama's politics, either. But at least they are smart people. Jindal could be great – but is in serious need ot public speaking lessons.

    April 14, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Not Surprised

    I think McCain realized two days (if not sooner) what a bad choice Palin was as his running mate. Do I feel sorry for him? No, but I'm sure he now truly understands the meaning of "hindsight is 20/20".

    April 14, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Heath

    McCain chose Palin as a running mate to absorb the female vote that was clammering to the idea of Hillary getting the nomination. As a presidential candiate, your aim is to win over as many groups as possible. McCain was simply betting that the women who wanted a female president would be willing to settle for a female vice president after Obama won the nomination. Palin is not nearly as seasoned or qualified as many of the names that McCain rattled off. He gave his top five names...maybe she is number six, maybe she's not in the top 50. Regardless, just because he didn't name her does it mean that he was dissing her. The man is entitled to his opinion.

    April 14, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Sarah

    Well of course he left her out, she is no way fit to lead the republican party and with her ongoing family saga playing out in the media she has become even less fit (who knew that was possible).

    April 14, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Uncle Ellsworthy

    John McCain did as well as he did ONLY because of Sarah Palin, without her he would have done much worse. He would have been even worse off with Romney, look how many primaries he lost, he would not have been a vote getter. John McCain largely lost the election all by himself, mostly he didn't act like he really wanted to win and then there was the bailout fiasco. Sarah Palin was undoubtedly the best pick he could have made if he wanted to attract more votes which he did, only not enough.

    April 14, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. rodlang

    McCain finally admits he made a mistake. Better late than never.

    April 14, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Jackie

    Palin is a good leader, at least she's doing a good job in Alaska. When the time is right, she'll lead a larger crowd.

    April 14, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Its About Time...

    McCain is no fool...

    He picked Palin to appease the nutcase fringe of the party. That failed so miserbly that he realizes the party needs to be centrist.

    The guy is cutting bait and trying to help the party. What he dosen't realize is that the damage is done and it will be a generation before the republicans will be back in power...if ever.

    April 14, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. felicha from florida

    Ummm picking Sarah Palin is the not the reason why John Mcsame lost. He lost basically because President Obama ran a campaign like
    never before!!!!

    Sarah Palin should be questioned as to her ability to run Alaska.

    And last but not least we all know that John Mcsame played politics with picking Sarah Palin but I don't think he really knew how dumb she was!! I mean really how in the world you can be governor and sit down with a news reporter and act like you just woke up from a coma, thinking she can see Russia from her house. No body made her say those things she said them on her own!!! Plain and simple.

    April 14, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Maybe he realizes the huge mistake he made in picking her, and turning her loose. Now he can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, and she somehow thinks she is qualified to be a "leader"

    April 14, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. N Stone

    Nice job John but a little late for your campaign.
    Independent thinkers in the valley knew she was in over her head as mayor. The family saga; first the brother in law now the ex-almost son in law, a circus for the ages none of which should have made the national news had it been handled in a mature and responsible manner by SP. But that is not her style. I hope she continues in her quest as it will paint the neocons in the appropriate light and hopefully relegate them to their rightful place as a disastrous footnote in US history. Then perhaps some fiscal conservatives can win elections and move this country forward.

    April 14, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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