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. Storyteller

    McCain quotes Mao? (Thousand flowers bloom.")

    Truly the apocalypse has come.

    October 11, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. chubby

    If there is a person completely unqualified to be President then you have to look no farther than who is in the White House right now. Talk about being inept nobama is the poster child for inept. Quadrupled the debt and deficit and now he wants another stimulus package and over half of the first one is not spent yet. I guess he wants to put our great grandchildren in debt not just our grandchildren. Well you fools voted for change and look what it has got us.

    October 11, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Tim from Tampa

    Always the ostrich, McCain still refuses to admit that Palin was the last nail in his Presidential coffin.

    October 11, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. cgillette369

    if mccain were a patriot he would retire and go home an dlive off cindy's money.

    October 11, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Nick

    First of, liberal does not mean open minded. Open minded means open minded. Anybody on the far left or far right is by its definition narrow minded.
    Secondly, nobody disputes Sarah Palin is a force. We dispute why she is the force that she is when she shows so little intelligence on the issues of national politics. Ridicule is not solely based on anybody's own insecurities. Just admit that she has fed the fire with her own incompetence.
    I appreciate you defending someone you believe in, but why is it that you believe in her? The fact that she is a force does not take away from her inability to answer fundamental questions in the heat of a presidential race.
    People might take cheap shots, but the behavior of this particular candidate and the people who support her may warrant the criticism, don't yah think?

    October 11, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Marilyn, Powell Ohio

    Just because you have a best selling book with a ghost writer doesn't mean you are intelligent. I don't hate Sarah Palin; she is not mentally capable to be in national politics and is an embarassment to women who have accomplishments. She wants fame and money. She is shrill, can't compose a sentence that is undertandable and quits when the going gets tough. She thinks being Governor of Alaska puts her and her family in the spotlight. She couldn't handle the White House job!!

    October 11, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Larry

    And speaking of books ...

    Heard a great line the other day

    This is the first time a book was "written" ( and Palin did not write it ) by someone who has never read a book .

    Palin is as ignorant of whats going on in this country as is a first grader

    Palin is a legend ONLY in her own mind, and apparently in the mind of a few less than educated people on this comment page

    October 11, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Poor John is still in denial. SHE was the major reason he lost the election! I hope she is the front runner in 2012, the Dems will have a cakewalk!

    October 11, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. roger

    Palin was the right choice. It further confirms what most of us already know. The republicans are a bunch of sub human freaks. They don't deserve to live in our country. They belong in born again christian taliban camps somewhere in the middle east, where they can practice their voodoo and spirit cleansing. remember the witch doctor on video driving evil spirits from Palin's soul? Our next president? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Linda

    He still supports Sarah Palin? What a bunch of hoey! God Bless us everyone if she ever came near the office of the presidency. The GOP is shooting itself in the foot everyday with its ignorance, hate mongering and unpatriotic behavior! They celebrate the defeat of our nation – they try to blame Obama for the mess they caused and they can't even be positive when the world community hopes that America is the country of peace again. Why are we even hearing so much from McCain? I's rather hear from his daughter. She is with the times and progressive in her own way.

    October 11, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. liberalshavenoballs

    By reading the comments on here it shows that libs [party of baby killing, gay sex, higher taxes, saving killers from death, and allowing gihad to flourish] are not ready for a women to president. Even though our current occupant of the whitehouse has more x chromosomes than a normal male your comments show you are not ready for a full fledged woman.

    October 11, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. mary from minnesota

    John, really. You were ahead in the race until Sarah opened here mouth.

    October 11, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Bob Stephens

    How long is McSame going to keep trying to convince voters that Palin is anything but a Bimbo..?

    October 11, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. sharon, newport news, virginia

    Picking her as your running mate was the turning point in your campaign. When she was first announced, women were thrilled and so were many Americans. She seemed young and refreshing. Then she opened her mouth and air came out and it was not long before the American voter realized she was in no way qualified to be VP. Her attempts to frighten the American voter(and that hasn't stopped) with her "palling aound with terorists" comment turned many voters off. Now visualizing her as President is laughable and John McCain you know it. The Rep. candidate for governor in Virginia absolutely did not want her anywhere near his campaign. He said thanks but no thanks – smart man. Bring her on as President and watch this nation, as we know it , topple like a house of cards. I'm not sure the salary is high enough for her anyway. Plus anyone that Rush Limbaugh supports can't be hitting on much since in the last 8 years he has supported losers.

    October 11, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. jaythejanitor

    Being able to quit your job, to fly around selling your book, and getting paid to speak in other countries <<<<<THE AMERICAN DREAM

    Most of us, me included, are still dreaming about it...

    Palin/tito the builder 4 EVER

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

    David the reason that palin sold her book out is because the people who read it are sheep and much like the people who read the bible. since they can not think for themselves they must have a crutch to tell them what to think.

    October 11, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. kd

    If Palin is the nominee, Obama will be re-elected. Obama could fail at everything from now till then but Palin would still be seen as a worse choice.

    October 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Spencer

    Senator, I admire your restraint. Your repeated attempts to calm everyone down is a throwback to the days of true diplomacy. However, for the sake of yours and mine party, please don't encourage Palin to run. She is wholly unqualified, and would make for an atrocious President.

    October 11, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. CD in FL

    "Why are you libs so afraid of Pailin, I just don't get it. Is it because she represents the average american and isn't an elite, or is it she believes americans should lead their own lifes and not the government telling us what to do everday and what is best for us?.."

    Sorry buddy, but I don't want to be represented by an average person...Hehe...what are we talking about?? She is definitely below average.. Changing 5 colleges to achieve a poor bachelor's degree is in my eyes a big proof of being below average.
    If you were willing in your infinite ignorance to look back to the human history you would realize that the progress of this world hasn't been achieved by average/below average leaders.

    October 11, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Right wingnuts live in their parent's basement.

    The republican party is the party of killing 45,000 people a year to provide big benefits to the health insurance industry. They also defend their getting big money from defense contractors and companies that have been found guilty and fined for ripping off the American people. They are a sad little group of people that 20% claim to belong.

    Elected congressional republicans should all be impeached.

    October 11, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    and this is were John McCain flushes himself down the political tolet

    FLUSHHHHHHH BY JOHN please grab palins mouth and take it down with you

    gary davis
    harbor oregon

    October 11, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Pun Nio

    Republicans need to get a grip. Not everything has to do with moral issues, not everything is economics, not everything is all or nothing.

    John McCain chose Palin because Dobson would deliver the fundamental votes.

    Voters questioned McCain's decision of Palin, and too bad he caved in to the right arm of the Republican Party.

    McCain, basically really didn't want to win. He knew how bad Bush managed the last 8 years and what mess he'd have to clean up. Why would he want to clean up Bush's mess, an opponent who spread lies about McCain in SC during the 2000 election. Then Lindsey Graham was his best friend during the campaign? What's up with that? The religious right controls the Republican Party, and they better watch out.

    As for the Democrat for 51 years who will vote for Palin, it's your right, but you won't sway any voters by claiming to be a democrat.

    October 11, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Brian MacDougall

    Pretty funny: with one hand he strokes her, sort of, by saying she's “a formidable force.” On the other hand, he shows his true feelings when he says, "Let's come up with a winning combination the next time." He blames her for the loss, even if he can't say so publicly.

    October 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Andrew

    I am watching cnn alot more these days.Seems they are starting to actually report again,instead of promoting WH talking points like the big 3 constantly do.Fox well they are becomming a joke.I read Palins FB notes,seems the medias opinion is way off about her.I agree with almost every opinion on the issues she writes about.Palin is not as ridiculous as everyone here says.Seems she is hitting the books,and finally getting good advice.I am willing to take a second look at her and her record.Like most fair minded people realize everyone deserves a second chance to give their opinion.Will she be the 45th POTUS? Like Mccain says who out of all of us here really can answer that?Would I write her off because of 2 bad interviews?No,just like I wont write Obama off after only 8 months.I will buy her book and watch how she does these next few years.Why?It is because I am a fair minded person,who believes most politicians do deserve the benifit of my doubt.

    October 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. JF

    When John McCain selected Sarah Palin to be the potential next VP of the USA, he clearly demonstrated his priorities: Politics is more important than the welfare of this country. So sad. He used to have my admiration.

    October 11, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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