October 15th, 2009
10:57 AM ET
13 years ago

Schmidt defends choice of Palin for VP

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/15/art.schmidt1.gi.jpg caption="Schmidt is defending John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin."](CNN) - Ten days after declaring Sarah Palin would be "catastrophic" to the Republican Party should she become its standard bearer in 2012, former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt defended the choice of the former Alaska governor for the No. 2 spot on the GOP's presidential ticket last year.

"I believe to this day that had she not been picked as the vice presidential candidate, we would never have been ahead - not for one second, not for one minute, not for one hour, not for one day," Schmidt told students at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Wednesday, according to the Web site Arkansasnews.com.

A CNN poll of polls immediately following the Republican National Convention in September 2008 showed the McCain/Palin ticket with a 2-point lead over its Democratic counterpart. But a similiar poll of polls two weeks later suggested that lead quickly evaporated.

Schmidt, among those in the campaign who lobbied McCain to pick Palin as his running mate, suggested Wednesday that President Obama's decisive win had more to do with the economy than either member of the Republican presidential ticket.

"We were three points ahead on September 15 when the stock market crashed, and then the election was over," he said.

Still, tensions ran deep between Schmidt and Palin through the campaign's final stretch, and Schmidt told CNN's John King earlier this month he's not expecting a flattering portrayal in the Alaska Republican's upcoming book, "Going Rogue."

"I think it may say that I was anti-rogue in the running of the campaign," Schmidt said.

In his Wednesday comments, Schmidt also cautioned Republican politicians not to follow the dictates of conservative talk radio hosts.

"Republican politicians who seek to lead the party, and in fact seek to lead the government, cannot be seen as kowtowing to the emperors of talk radio," he said. "If they are, then I think the broad middle of the electorate that decides elections disqualifies them from leadership."

Filed under: Sarah Palin • Steve Schmidt
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. FormerGOP

    She sealed the defeat for the GOP and now they are to sham to admit it, she is a huge joke and a hick!

    October 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. MikQuick

    Palin is an idiot. The sooner she quits the spotlight altogether the sooner she will stop distracting "real" americans from real issues. Who cares what a flash in the pan, never heard from before, chosen for her gender and never to be heard from again has to say?

    October 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Pam

    The VP choice did make a difference!
    She was relatively unknown, and as became very apparent – unintelligent!

    It was clearly a bid to try to win the women's vote!
    and it failed. (thankfully!)

    October 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Gary's Opinion

    McCain would have one won if he picked Mitt!!!

    October 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. jim s

    admit it sarah was just a gimmick you tried and failed
    but after 8 years of bush any woman the republicans picked would have been fine whether is was sarah or paris they probably would have done better with Paris at least she is intelligent

    October 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. donttreadonme

    Sarah is a “Real” American who climbed the ranks all the way to Governor based off of hard work and merit, nothing else. Not some prep school, over privileged, liberal lawyer who was lifted to the top by rich socialist elitists.

    October 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. RANCE

    Stupid Republicans still don't see the light.

    October 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. sean

    This is typical, same Republican, different day, different statement. Look, Palin is a loser. She quite every public job she ever had. She would be an awful President. But, if he Republicans want her that is the Party's business-simple as that. They need to be able to deliver a consistant, and coherent message over time though. Their "candidates" can't be a disaster one week and a savior the next. This endless spin cycle Republicans are in only reinforces the image that they either have no reality at all, or they think everyone esle is as stoned as they are.

    October 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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