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. Walter

    What an idiot. He's the one who picked her and all they do is complain about her. What a cry baby. I guess we are lucky he did not get elected.

    October 11, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. TangledThorns

    Steve Schmidt is slime and cannot stand the inevitably of a President Palin in 2013. Obama is an empty suit and Sarah Palin winning the WH will happen in 2012!! Go Sarah!!

    October 11, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Chris

    I know there are a lot of conservatives out there who say McCain lost the election because he wasn't conservative enough. I think the real reason he lost the election was because of Palin. Many people were sick of the hardcore Right Wing ideology and partisanship of the Bush years. What the neo-cons can't seem to understand or accept is that McCain won the Republican nomination precisely because he was such a moderate and had shown he was willing to work across the aisle. That's what made him appealing to both the more mainstream members of the GOP and independents. Although I was leaning towards Obama, I could still have seen myself voting for McCain.

    It is only when he brought in Palin to appeal to the base, that many people say he lost their votes, including mine.

    October 11, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. lissarftp

    REMEMBER what McCain said:

    "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military.." "The Issue Of Economics Is Not Something I've Understood As Well As I Should."

    What to look for in a VP – "somebody who's really well grounded in economics..."

    "We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed."

    October 11, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Seattle Sue

    John McCain, I personally don't care to hear your opinion on any subject. Maybe you should think about just retiring and going back to Arizona and help your wife spend her money.

    October 11, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. Gus The Willie

    Only an idiot will lament in his defeat that might be atttributed to the tirade of another idiot. This guy would have done better. I suggest they go hunting for a grizzly bear with a sling shot and a Swiss Army knife. Senator give Palin your tweezer and tooth pick. Lets put these two has beens on the CNN shelf, and move on to more news worthy topics.

    October 11, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. ICARE

    I lost hope in Palin when answred the phone and thought it was France'sPrimine Minister..... Sarkozy... I love her but she's too ...

    October 11, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. ICARE

    McCain made the right choice in picking her, but it was the ECONOMY that prevailed. She was a BOOST and a shot in the arm.

    October 11, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their foolishness.

    Whyo does Schmit think he is. Here you people go again trying to rundown a lady who is twice the person to be considered for President than the present one or any t9o come. BRING ON PALIN 2012 you have plently of supporter for we're cleaning the house in 2010.

    October 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Wilson

    McCain did all females a major disservice when he picked Palin to be his running mate. Instead of selecting one of the intelligent, experienced women in the republican party, he selected a woman with little or no knowledge of the world with the "executive experience"
    almost any Alaskan could do. McCain saddled himself with a liability. It was for this reason, I, as a registered republican, would not vote for McCain.

    October 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Ron

    Palin may have energized the base, but McCain made a monumental mistake in choosing Palin. Why? Because he did not choose someone who was qualified to be President of the United States. He sacrificed that principle for what turned out to be short-term gain. That mistake has put McCain in a tight spot ever since. What else can he do but be gracious to her? If he's not, he loses. If he keeps defending her (and his decision), he loses. I was a McCain admirer until he chose Palin. His legacy of integrity is forever tainted in my mind.

    October 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Linda

    Of course McCain is admitting there was a problem with Schmdt and the Palin camp. There was a problem with Schmidt. Look at how he ran McCain's campaign!!!

    And there is further evidence of that when Schmidt, before the book...or even a sentence gets released, goes on the attack of Gov Palin.

    Face it Schmidt, you suck. And while you're behaving this way...you were supposed to be working to elect them. It's not about YOU. And with your further conduct...you won't be getting more work, you'll be lucky if anyone wants anythig to do with you. You had a shot when McCain brought you in late, and we saw what you did.

    We're just passing the time.


    October 11, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Fitz in Texas

    No doubt McCain would NOT have been the best President this country has had.....AND there is no doubt he certainly would have been a better President than the one we now have.!

    October 11, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. mk

    "ahead in the polls until the stock market crashed" ?????? WHO is he kidding? Himself ? Cause he can re-write history all he wants in his own mind but the truth was in the numbers....and he didn't have them. He was delusional if he ever thought that Palin was going to "energize" his party long enough to get elected. She sunk him and he still can't admit that. Sad old man that John McCain, sad old man.

    October 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Gary Coonrod

    McCain would not have received the number of votes that he got if Palin hadn't been the vp candidate. McCain's flunkies claimed that Palin went rouge. They tried to get her to be a McCain clone "can't we just all get along". WE see where that attitude got McCain. It's a little late in my opinion for McCain now comes out in defense of her especially with the bad mouthing his campaign people did immediately following the election.

    October 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. newz4i

    The mistake of selecting Sarah Palin as his partner rests on Senator McCain's shoulders. He refuses to face the reality of "his" mistake.

    October 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. David

    Here we have the typical liberals spewing their typical ignorant comments concerning Palin.Name one liberal who has a book selling out 40 days before it is even published.Preorders at #1 at both Amazon & Barnes& Noble.Name one liberal potential candidate,or existing politician, besides Obama with 923,000 FB supporters.Have any of you people with your great insight and knowledge even read her notes at her FB page?You all agree she is some bimbo who means nothing to politics.However you are here commenting.You are so insecure about Palin you just have to attack her.Obviously to reinforce your liberal talking points so many are sick of hearing.Palin is a force,admit your short sighted narrow minded opinion to the world.Then afterwards,bow 3 times at high noon to your messiah.Yell your yes we can chant 3 times,await the clouds to open,white doves to land on his shoulders.One day perhaps God will forgive your lefty one sided narrow minded opinions.I thought the word liberal ment open to the viewpoints of others.Seems it really means my way or the hyway.

    October 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. God n' Country

    If she decides to run in 2012, I will happily support her. It's time we had a leader as our president, and not a liar, like Obama.

    October 11, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. mk

    October 11th, 2009 10:37 am ET

    Steve Schmidt is slime and cannot stand the inevitably of a President Palin in 2013. Obama is an empty suit and Sarah Palin winning the WH will happen in 2012!! Go Sarah!!
    OMG, some funny stuff so early on a Sunday morning. That alone is enough to make me laugh all day long. What a delusional thought this person is having, someone needs mental health help.

    October 11, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. Jacob

    John McCain would have won the election based on his experience argument had he not selected a running mate who only had been govenor for nine months, and basically had no other experience. That's not to mention that she sounds like the single most uneducated human being ever to grace the American political scene.

    October 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Larry

    " Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom " in a garden of weeds ? LOL

    The GOP has become such a joke

    For them to actually even consider Palin as a possibility simply shows just how desperate they have become

    The woman has no talent, no experience, and no common sense, and the American voter is no longer blinded by this type of Republican trash

    The GOP is gonna need some flowers to bloom alright, but until they start using some real and truthful fertilizer, they'll get nothing but weeds

    October 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Tom Sawyer

    Blame it on the STOCK MARKET! LOL!!!

    Simply put ... bad choice. Short term gain but long term pain. Bad judgement. Bad character.

    If you want to blame somebody else, why not Katie Couric? LOL

    October 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. Aunt Bea and Opie

    John please go take your nap in Louisana.

    October 11, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |

    McCain was going to lose this election no matter what but without Palin he would have lost 55%-43%.

    Not sure if I would vote for Palin for President but I certainly wouldn't underestimate her.

    Not liking either party I would certinaly vote for her over what we have now!!

    October 11, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. republicans hate america

    Mcphony it was not that the stock market crashed it was that when it did you said the fundamentals of our economy are strong and then went to give a weak excuse for your statement. PLUS good economy or bad the american people were and are still tired of the rush limbaugh party and their failed philosophy

    October 11, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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