October 2nd, 2009
10:38 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain manager predicts Palin could prove 'catastrophic'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The man who ran John McCain's presidential campaign warned Friday that Sarah Palin could lead to a 'catastrophic' election result for the GOP in 2012 if the former Alaska governor captures the party's presidential nomination.

"I think that she has talents," Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager of McCain's failed presidential bid, told CNN's John King. "But my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican Party in 2012, and in fact, were she the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result."

The comments came during The Atlantic Magazine's First Draft of History Conferece, held at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

"I don't think it's inconceivable that she could be the Republican nominee for President of the United States," added Schmidt - who, among others in the McCain campaign, butted heads behind the scenes with Palin in the weeks leading up to Election Day. "I do think it's fairly inconceivable that she could be elected President of the United States."

Looking ahead to Palin's upcoming book - entitled "Going Rogue" - Schmidt predicted he would be portrayed as "anti-rogue in the running of the campaign."

Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Florencer

    Catastrophic doesn't begin to cover it.

    An honest and informed viewpoint from someone who would know – Thank you, Mr. Schmidt.

    Palin as President? In what respect, Charlie?

    October 2, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Who put the twit in twitter? Sarah!

    OK all you knuckle dragging Palin lovers... put that in your pipe and smoke it ! Bwahahahahahahahaha

    October 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Diane

    Finally, someone who has ties to the GOP has the backbone to tell it like it is regarding Sara Palin. The GOP should heed his predictions.

    October 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Dave

    Palin is an IQ test for Republicans. The ones that support her fail the test. Republicans that see better options pass. Palin makes Republicans look ignorant and sleazy. If they want to win, they need to tell her to go away as quickly as possible. But of course Democrats are praying she stays front and center.

    October 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Mike

    I tend to agree with this person in that having Palen anywhere in the Republican arena in 2012 would be a BIG mistake. She brings nothing to the table.

    October 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Laurie in Spokane

    If Palin were to actually BE nominated to run for President in 2012, I give up on the intellect of this country. It's one thing to nominate someone utterly new, fresh, female, but another thing entirely to nominate someone who has no inkling of the real world, its geography, issues, and is a quitter to boot. Come on people, let's nominate someone who won't be a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

    October 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. DJ

    She is perfect for the GOP base though and they love her.

    October 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Kerry J

    If she got the Republican nomination for anything, it would not reflect well on the state of the Republican party. I think Democrats would cheer her on!

    October 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. PK

    CNN covers Palin like they cover Jon and Kate Plus 8... which is to say, too much and too superficially.

    October 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. kelly from nyc

    we have steve schmidt and john mccain to thank for unleashing sarah palin on us, somewhat like a virus. thanks again guys!

    October 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Ted Tartaglia

    Who cares?!

    October 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. al

    Like this comes as a surprise? Palin is a disaster on her best day and a complete loser on her worst. She quit her job. She betrayed the people who elected her. What would she so as president when the going got tough, quit?

    This woman is about as smart as a bag of rocks. Does anyone really think she is electable to any office. I would not vote for her to be dog catcher or street cleaner much less a position of responsibility. No one I know, well, except for a couple of die hard republicans would voter for her just because she is one, would vote for her.

    Thank goodness McCain's campaign manager knew what he was dealing with. It doesn't take a degree to figure out that Palin is a loser.

    October 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Rush L.

    Just the tip of the iceberg, when the rest of the story comes out, we will all see the truth behind this Evil Lady.

    October 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. GT

    wow...and you didn't see this when you were deciding on a vp for your client...

    October 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. the dude

    ...exactly...it is a long fifteen minutes of fame, but in the end, she will one day be just the answer to a political trivia question....

    October 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Justen

    I see CNN still hasn't gotten over it's Sara fixation.

    October 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Phil Strickland

    Mr. Schmidt,
    Somebody needed to challenge you and John McCain and your poorly run campaign. You guys lacked energy, vision, charisma, and purpose. The only good thing that can be said about the job you did was, you picked a running-mate that offered what you lacked. And then you tried to muzzle her and control her. You guys lost because of who you are, not because Mr. Obama was /is so great.
    All of us conservatives who are falsely portrayed as anti woman thought she was great and would be proud to have her as president, just as we would have been proud to follow Maggie, Golda, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and a few others who are like the women in our lives. They are strong, smart, organized, and if you mess with them ... deadly. They are not self-centered like Hillary, Madoline, Madona, and Michelle.

    October 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Gord Tolton

    Steve Schmidt had McCain's campaign in huge trouble long before the selection of Sarah Palin. His handling of McCain was horrible – from allowing him to make speeches in front of green screens, setting up press conferences under wind chimes, in front of Harley motorbikes, and the whole mis-handling of the Joe the Plumber affair – Schmidt's campaign strategy seemed like something out of a bad sitcom.
    The selection of Palin, and McCain's own force of personality and reputation, were the only galvanizing effect in the whole campaign, and responsible for as good a standing as happened. How they handled Palin was also incredibly amateurish – her best speeches went unreported, while the cliches were put out. Schmidt is now saving his own butt, when he and his crew should never be hired to ruin another campaign again.

    October 2, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Rob Johnson

    Why do liberals hate Palin so much? They are just scared of her, and they fear that she will beat them in 2012...

    Oh wait, Schmidt is a lifelong Republican. Never mind.

    October 2, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Darren

    Forget about Palin or any strong right wing heretical nominee. The only way GOP would have a chance is by bringing in some moderate who keeps religion out of politics and is intelligent and balanced.

    This is why Obama will be successful. He is more moderate instead of polarized to one side, is a worldly man of peace and is intelligent.

    October 2, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. HD

    God, we don't even know if she's going to run for ANY office again, let alone the presidency! Let's all just quit the speculation until it actually happens.

    October 2, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Fan of Common Sense

    I would never vote for Sarah Palin in a primary since she abandoned her post as governor. However, I must say the more disdain and hatred the political establishment expresses of her, the more I like her.

    October 2, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Before all the Palin supporters start crying PLEASE remember that she is asking for all of this. To tout yourself as a viable candidate when your education and world experience is so lacking shows an extraordinary breach of judgement. If you don't know how dumb you are you're extremely dangerous. Anyone with any brains realizes his or her own limitations.

    Kevin, Denver

    October 2, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Obama fan...not!

    I predict dire consequences for anyone who lets this guy run a campaign!

    October 2, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Irene

    Run baby run! We hope you lose another election for the GOP so that Pbama has more time to clean up GW Bush's mess. – LMAO-ROLF

    October 2, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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