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. Gary

    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.”

    Sorry John, it wasn't the stock market that brought you and Sarah down. Once the American people got to see the real idiot she was / is
    they ran.
    And don't blame us for picking on her children, SHE brought them to the public stage. We didn't ask.
    Not to mention her constant lying.
    You lost the election because you are a war monger, that along with Sarah is why you are a nobody now.

    Another republican day on John King.

    October 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. David in NC

    Craig in AZ, the radical "Christian" right has had no use for John McCain for longer than you have not.

    October 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Brendan

    To Bassman. Yes, her speech was absolutely electrifying and she delivered it in a much more eloquent way than the actual speechwriter could have. This "search and destroy" was more like someone walking around with a "kick me" sign attached to her back. She wasn't even a moving target. She parades her children (including her daughter with an illegitimate bun in the oven) on stage and wonders why they became part of the process. Imagine how this evil media would have portrayed Obama if he had 5 children, one of whom was "knocked up". And, while Sarah may know a lot about Alaska, there isn't much to know so the contents fill the jar, so to speak. The truth be told, if she wasn't hot, she would be back on her porch staring at Russia.

    October 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Jill-IN

    No way, no way ever would I vote for Sarah Palin for anything.

    October 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. BillyBobTomRedcracker

    Bassman sounds like a real genius. Anyone with a brain would realize that if Palin ever expressed herself in a coherent and intelligent manner, the Republican party would have run her comments over and over in campaign ads. I don't remember ever seeing anything like that! Maybe it is because such things do not exist?!

    October 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. elaine of calif

    I hope that she does run for the republican ticket....definitely will be a shoo in for the democrats.....McCain and Palin pathetic...

    October 11, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Son of G-dubb

    How in the h#ll did Mcain pick palin?

    October 11, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. Donkey Party

    In other words, McCain still holds hope in the under and uneducacted segment of society to vote for someone that's dumber than they are. Palin is an ignorant, polarizing hate and fear-monger that has zero credentials for anything political, which is evidenced by the fact that she can't string along a sentence unless it was written for her.

    October 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. tjampel


    She was knowledgeable about Alaskan issues....yes...and she could see Russia from her porch, when it came to national/international issues.

    How could anyone take away a different impression from her interviews with Couric and Gibson.

    Add to the that fact that she pimped the "Bridge to Nowhere" before she said "thanks but no thanks", quit not one (Governor) but two State jobs (oil/gas commission as well), and, if that weren't enough was actually criticized by McCain years before he picked her to run with him as an example of pork barrel spending, when he specifically attacked Wassila (where she wa then mayor) as having received inordinate amounts of Federal dolllars. Later as Governor Palin's official requests for pork were the absolute highest per capita requests in the country, many times higher than those of Obama's Illinois.

    She's been a terrible Mayor (Wassila is still trying to pay for their sports complex, situated on land that may not even be owned by the town (which has cost a few extra million in legal fees), an autocrat who fired people left and right, including the Wassila police chief, and numerous underlings as Gov, and many of her ethics investigations were started by Republicans. Lisa Murkowski, one of the more reasonable republicans in the Senate (IMO), has been an enemy of Palin for years because of her selfish behavior.

    October 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Reggie

    Nothing new here. It has been known that McCain's campaign was difficult to work with and caused friction with the Palin side of things. But, Sen McCain and Gov Palin got along great. They would have made a much better team in the White Houlse than who we have now. Obama is such a disaster!!!!

    October 11, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. carole

    He's being VERY gracious!

    October 11, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Jo Ann

    I am a democrat, but always thought McCain was honest in his feelings and beliefs even though I didn't agree with him. But now after he has introduced this Palin person to the world as one that could step into the presidency, YES, he will do anything to get a republican elected. I no longer have any respect for the man.

    October 11, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. katy Heys

    Why do people always blame the media? Sarah Palin is responsible for every stupid, naive statement she has ever made.

    The idea of her as President of the USA makes my blood run cold and I know if she were elected it would be symbolic of the end of the USA as we have known it. As for McCain choosing her as his VP, all I can say is that anyone with her lack of public service and even less impressive scholastic record being a heart beat away from the Presidency was truly scary. McCain used really poor judgment, and I think it cost him the election.

    October 11, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. Daniel Schlafer

    It is still a shame that John McCain will not admit that he pandered to conservatives in his party by naming a novice first-term governor as his running mate . I would expect him to call her " formiblale " in 2012 . I also think he should he should apologize to his 2008 campaign manager for the Alaska cowgirl novice and her team .

    October 11, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. carol

    Oh, pleeze. He is sayting this because her book will be coming out.
    Bassman – the media did not cover up her speeches and her ignorance. She did it herself. She did not accomplish anything and then bailed out, as with her previous jobs. She cannot take questions now, so she hides behind facebook. If she can't come out and face tough questions, she has no business running for president or anything else. She would be better suited to lipstick ads.

    October 11, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. Informed Voter

    Wow. He still can't admit what a horror he unleashed upon the Republican party and the United States. If Palin is still considered a viable candidate for ANY political office by the Republican party, they will surely self destruct, even faster than they are already. I am a proud liberal, but I do believe we need various opinions and positions within our government to truly represent all of America. Please, moderate conservatives, form a new, broad minded party and rid yourselves of the tarnished "Republican" brand.

    October 11, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. TRA

    Poor Bastard, He's stuck. If he finally admits she untimately brought him down he would also have to aggree that choosing her as his running mate was terribly short sided and a fatal mistake. He won't do it! Surely one of the biggest regrets in his political career. Every time she shocks the nation the dark light she casts ultimately shines on him as her supporter. What a sad position to be in.

    October 11, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. Richie

    And the idiocy goes on... Old White Men Party unite!

    October 11, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Mitchell from MS

    OOOOOOOO this happened like what over a year ago? WHO CARES?

    October 11, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. J.C. - Independent

    It is OK for Senator McCain to tell us his honest opinion of Mrs. Palin. It will not tarnish his image of a gentleman and statesman.

    October 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Ken in NC

    Palin in 2012? I think Democrats, comics and pundits would all support that. John McCain is a War Hero and I respect him for that and as a US Senator, however, he said, "We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed". Doesn't that equate to WE WERE WINNING UNTIL WE LOST or THE STOCK MARKET CRASH IS THE REASON WE LOST? I think he took a calculated gamble and lost. He chose Sarah Palin in an effort to pull in former Clinton women. He chose Sarah Palin because her youth would excite and bring in more young Republicans and he chose Sarah Palin because she was considered to be more attractive than any other candidate and that would pull in the young men that were on the fence looking to see where the party was going to be. Three bad reasons for one really bad decision and now the Republican Party is out in the dessert wondering around looking for someone to follow. Every time they think they have a potential leader they find that his fly is or has been open so again, they wonder aimlessly about the dessert. The power of the party (Grumpy Old White Men) are not going to fall in line behind Steele as they already know him to be their failed effort to make the party look like the "All Inclusive Party" so that brings us back to Sarah Palin. Well they don't want to go there because they have already herd the vile hate she spews and they know that is not going to work so again, they wonder the dessert. Are they doomed to wonder the dessert for all eternity? I hope not because it takes both party’s for us to have a balanced system and we do need balance (wink, wink).

    October 11, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Christy Elmasri

    If Palin is their hope for a return to the White House, then we Democrats have absolutely nothing to worry about! As a woman, I am actually sick of her altogether and i would never vote for her....she does not represent anything more than stupidity and on the grandest of scales!

    October 11, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Carole

    When the book comes out and trashes Sen McCain then we'll hear what he really thinks of Sarah Palin. Did he not watch past interviews of Sarah Palin before picking her? Did he not do research? I wonder how she even got to be a member of the local city council. If she becomes the defacto face of the republican party for 2012 that's when the republican party will implode upon itself.

    October 11, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Jono

    McCain is either in denial or too gutless to tell the truth.
    Palin was a bad choice. Sure there was immediate excitement about Palin within the GOP and even some swing voters.
    What McCain failed to do was look past that, he took a very short term vision and should have realized that once people looked deeper into Palin as a person, they would realize she was not remotely capable of doing that job and around that same time the financial issues happened.
    McCain made a mistake by not looking deeper into his running mate and people wondered if he would put the same lack of thought into all his other decisions if elected.
    McCain should realize he made a bad decision, and maybe he does but just doesn't want to admit it.

    October 11, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. Dennis F

    "Dear Henry Cabot...wish you were Vice President!.

    That was a satire letter to Henry Cabot Lodge from Richard Nixon after Nixon realized that selecting Spiro Agnew as his running mate was a mistake.

    John McCain needs to be honest and admit his own mistake with Palin. Her only strength is that she can solidify the wingnuts of both sides, while doing nothing for the political center.

    In this day and age, that is not a positive strength.

    October 11, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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