October 11th, 2009
12:01 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain weighs in on Palin in 2012

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain is openly admitting that there were tensions between his former campaign manager Steve Schmidt and those close to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s one-time White House running mate. Still, McCain calls Palin “a formidable force” in the GOP and remains open to the possibility of Palin being his party’s presidential nominee in 2012.

“With a high-pressure situation, there's always tensions that develop within campaigns,” McCain says in a wide-ranging interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. ”And there were clearly tensions between Steve Schmidt and people in the Palin camp.”

Still, McCain said, Palin was an asset to his presidential campaign.

“There are fundamental facts … that cannot be denied,” McCain adds. “When we selected or asked Sarah Palin to be my running mate, it energized our party. We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed. And she still is a formidable force in the Republican Party.”

“I have great affection for her,” McCain continues. But “did we always agree on everything in the past? Will we in the future? No.”

While McCain said he could not predict what would happen in the next presidential election, the Arizona Republican says he is open to many potential nominees for his party - including Palin.

“Look let's let a thousand flowers bloom. Let's come up with a winning combination the next time. … let's all go through the process, rather than condemning anybody's chances,” he says, reacting to recent comments about Palin by Schmidt. “And I'm happy to say we have some great people out there, and Sarah is one of them.”

Asked about Palin’s prospects in 2012, Schmidt said he did not think Palin could be a winning candidate in the next presidential election.

“And, in fact, were she to be the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result,” Schmidt told CNN National Correspondent John King in an October 2 interview.

Asked about Schmidt’s comments, a Palin spokeswoman said the former vice presidential nominee would address the tensions within the McCain-Palin campaign in her forthcoming book, "Going Rogue,” which is due to hit bookstore shelves next month.


soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Martin in CA


    October 11, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. Bassman

    McCain is right. Her speech to the Republican convention was electric. The Media saw what she had done, and the "search and destroy" mission was on. Nothing was off limits. Her Children, her Husband, and her policies were all attacked. For those of us that wanted to know the truth all we had to do was look at past interviews she had given to local press and CSPAN to know she was knowledgeable about Alaskan issues. The media decided to cover up those interviews.

    October 11, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. Bob of Lompoc

    McCain on Palin: "I have great affection for her". Well hell, I have great affection for Jennifer Lopez, but neither she nor Palin have any credentials for Presidential service. That is what iritates me about MCCain – he KNOWS Palin isn't qualified, was a dumb choice and except for his stupid selection of her as running mate, she would still be on her back porch in Alaska, looking across the water for the Russians. She is a zero, MCCAin knows it and is too chicken to say it.

    October 11, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. GI Joe

    He's definitely beginning to suffer old age. He needs to go.

    October 11, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. Craig in AZ

    I live in Arizona, and I think McCain is a fool. As a lifelong liberal, I USED to think McCain was one of the very few from the other side of the aisle that I could respect. (no more)

    After watching him during his (thankfully) fruitless run for the presidency, I have come to the realization that he will say ANYTHING to make political gains. The man is the lapdog of the radical "christian" right. He unapologetically panders to those idiots.

    And NOW, he wants us to believe that Palin is a force (really farce) within the republican party? Well, if she is the best the republicans can offer, they realy ARE done for (and good riddance!)

    October 11, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. Obama/Biden

    Anyone can run in 2012 including me.
    I am very happy to see that the world is watching my president and at least think that you are deserved to be honored than a lot of Americans do. Many Americans to be specific, I would say the racism one who do not like blacks and Hispanics think that you are un-American and do not deserve to be president of the United states of America. Some said that your birth certificate was fake and that your presidency is illegal. Some said that you could not be the president of the US and they even said that you could be the president of Ethiopia and not America. Thus far, God proved them all wrong and shut them up and let them know that he is in control of this world. I want to warn those people who do not like people who are different from them in skin color to fear God because we are all God creation. It does not matter who you are African or Caucasian. Please do not fear what no man can do you president Obama because I know God elected you president of the US; the people vote you in but they did not do it. Not in a racist country lot ours that Barack Obama could've become president without God help. So therefore, God will protect you and help you succeed.
    I know that people are trying to get you not to be a success just to criticize you as an African American. I know that they are expecting too much of you and they never expected that much from previous president. I wonder why. Is it because they are white like they are?
    God want me to tell you to approve the 40,000 thousand soldiers for the Afghanistan war because it is the right thing to do. You do not want to have not enough soldiers there because if the casualties increases because of not enough soldiers on the ground their, the American people will really get upset of you. I know that Republicans do not want you to succeed and for that reason they will oppose almost any major things you are trying to do. For these Republicans, it is not about the country or the people of America; it is to them about trying to make you look bad to the people to see if they can defeat you next election. These Republicans only care about money and power but, not the people who vote them in power. Do not worry because we the people realize what is going on and will do the right thing for the country. I want you and your administration not to worry too much about bipartisan work because Republicans are on a mission to defeat you and they do not care about the people. Some people think President Obama has a magical solution to all the problems the country is facing that took his predecessor many years to mess them up like they are. Only God has the magical solution overnight to everything; not you president Obama. The people need to give you time to work because you are only eight months into power. Always welcome them on the table but, they will never want to get involve. Mr. President please keep a positive attitude and keep on the good fight and do not let that medal peace of honor make you take the wrong decisions for Afghanistan. Remember not to worry because everything you do Republicans and those who want to see you hurt will never be happy with you. God raised you king like he rose David king over Israel. God told me to tell you more troops are needed for Afghanistan and Iraq need to come to a closure when the time is right to do so.

    October 11, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. victim of republican greed

    Too late McCain. She is really going to trash you in the book being written for her.

    October 11, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. jayme

    McCain is absolutely right. Come 2012 Palin/McCain would be a formidable force. The Dems better be prepared for this combo.

    October 11, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  9. Danny in NJ

    How can anyone take McCain seriously anymore? It's not like he's going to run for president again...and he's always going to be re-elected in his state. He needs to just come clean and tell the world that his decision was WRONG and that Palin is completely unqualified for president.

    October 11, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. J.C. - Independent

    There could be positive or negative assets. A negative asset is also called a liability. Mrs. Sarah Palin has been a very disappointing asset.

    October 11, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. BJs65

    Bassman, you're blind. Sarah Palin is a lightweight. No where nears the caliber of being presidential or even vice-presidential material. Had she and McCain won, we would have been the laughingstock of the world.

    October 11, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. joco, NH

    I agree with everything Craig says.
    McCain will do anything for political gain.
    Little does he know that he let himself down as well as all his followers.
    He lost me when he allowed Bush to bully him through Rove.

    October 11, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. vic nashville , Tn

    I am former republican I respect Sen. Mc Cain

    Because of Sarah Palin I voted for Obama

    October 11, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Everytime McCain talks good about Palin, he loses credibility. He used Palin to get the worst the Republican party has to offer excited about electing him. End of story. She wasn't qualified then, and she isn't now. The only real job she had, she quit for $$$. I would LOVE it if she won the republican primary as she would NEVER when a general election.

    I think we have yet to see the next republican president.

    October 11, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  15. coffic

    Why would Dems and liberals spend so much time and energy denigrating Palin unless they found her to be a formidable threat to their philosophies? Whether she runs or not, she has shown people that they have a choice–very refreshing.

    October 11, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  16. txleadhead

    I can see Russia from my house.

    October 11, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  17. Tammy

    Are they so dense that he and the GOP still need a whump on the side of their heads to realize that - d'uh! - she was unqualified?!

    October 11, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Debby

    Both Palin and McCain gave it their best shot. The media crucified this poor woman because Obama was the big orator. Well 10 months later he is still the big orator with with absolutely nothing to show for it but a bag of wind.

    October 11, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Bob

    "her policies were all attacked."

    Oh no. Not her polices. Oh heaven forbid.

    October 11, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  20. BillyBobTomRedcracker

    When is this old fool going to realize that he has become an embarassment to himself as well as the Republican Party?

    October 11, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. LA

    Palin may be a force for some in the Republican camp, but that did not make her an intelligent choice for McCain. I quickly got over any consideration for McCain at that point. Just because someone may have a rabid following among some Republicans, does not make that person the best choice or intelligent choice for the rest of America.

    October 11, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. S. Denice

    McCain tried to capitalize on the fact that many women were disgruntled and angry that Hillary Clinton was not the democratic nominee. This fact was all over the news and internet. He figured he'd go get a woman, any woman, and that these Hillary supporters would swing his way. It wasn't about Hillary being a woman stupid, it was about Hillary the politician. He went and got this brainless idiot who, a year later, is still brainless. She cost him the campaign (Whew! Thank God!) She quit her job as Governer so that she can be free to travel around the globe saying nothing.

    October 11, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. Jose

    Wow McCain actually admits the stock market crashed and there was a problem? Glad he's so on top of things just like his loud mouth, hate filled VP candidate was.

    October 11, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  24. Tom in Delaware

    Ah, the mandatory Palin story...let the hate begin.

    Speaking of hate, how is it CNN can run 3 stories on 'Don't Ask. Don't Tell", and leave out the part that this policy was a half-measure created by Bill Clinton?

    How can Barry speak about this and still vote 'Present'...without a mention from CNN?

    CNN has already covered this more than they did with the Tea Party on 9/12...and you scratch your head and wonder why Fox's ratings go up every week and yours go in the tank.

    The joke's on you.

    October 11, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Ruthie

    GO SARAH 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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