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. Terry from West Texas

    I support Sarah Palin for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012. As a good Liberal, I realize that America needs nothing more than the destruction of Conservatism as a political force forever.

    Sarah Palin is just the gal for that job. Go, Sarah, go!

    October 15, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Its a bad economy, the man wants to work again....plus I'm sure he's been hit with a few death threats as well....thats why he's re-qualifying his statements.

    BTW: the realities of governing are ALWAYS different from a campaign. The reality of the campaign was the GOP brand was tarnished, and nothing could change that.

    October 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Ouch, that trip to the wood shed must have hurt.

    October 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. snappysandy

    Sounds to me like Schmidt is trying to defend himself in defense of what might be said about him in Palins book. To come out now and say she would have been good as a VP, is typical of someone who doesn't have the guts to take what is about to be given back to him on a silver platter. It always amazes me how some of these low-lifes act and how they will say anything to stay in the game.

    October 15, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. NC

    Sarah Palin should run for congress. Mitt Romney should be elected President in 2012, we need a conservative to get our country back to where it needs to be. He can cut spending and put Americans back to work.

    October 15, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. mike

    conservative are nothing but the scum on my shoe

    October 15, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. RMH

    Schmidt's apparent reversal of opinion could not be farther from the truth. The minute McCain picked Palin, I eliminated him as an option. Anyone how would pick such a moron to be VP can;t be trusted to make any decisions a President.

    October 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Average guy in Kansas

    The fact that Sarah Palin is still a news item, even if someone else is talking about her, is a reminder of just how obsessed many have become with her.

    Think of Sarah Palin as a a GOP standard bearer, and think of Sarah Palin as a moron. But, I repeat myself.

    We all need to move on and let her self destruct without paying her anymore attention.

    October 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Another Home is Forclosed on Every 7.5 Seconds

    Oh please, please, PLEASE can we give up this fascination with this female equivalant to Rush Limbaugh??!!! C'mon . . . enough is enough! She ran for VP, lost the election for the Republican'ts, quit her job as Gov. of Alaska 1/2 way through because, and ONLY because, she wanted to make millions and STILL we give her attention!

    October 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. jeff jackson, alabama

    If Palin had been the campaign manager they would
    have had a better chance of winning.

    October 15, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. God n' Country

    I have to disagree with Schmidt. If Romney were McCain's VP, Obama would not have been elected.

    October 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Sorry schmidt. mcnasty lost because sane citizens in the US could not fathom that woman one heartbeat away from the presidency. Then again, you can't make up your mind either? Did she threaten to hunt you down from a helicopter? She is a hateful uneducated twit.
    The continued trash talk from the repugs about why they lost and the President is making me and others I know sick!
    You lost, get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grow up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. lyn

    Thank God that the Republicans lost the election,can you imagine if they did win we would have been at WAR with Iran, Russia,Iraq,etc. the Republicans don't care a dan about we the poor people who is struggling, they only care about who they can be at WAR with.--- Thank God for President Obama.

    October 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. harold

    Sarah.. how do you feel about 50 Million USA people being without Health care and just being left to die off....because they have no insurance and no money to pay the medical bills?.. Tell me just what is pro life about this situaton in the uSA.... people without health care?.. Get with Jesus Sarah..Jesus cares about these people... you do not..care about these people...

    October 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Robin

    Palin is underestimated. She is a true conservative who has been demonized beyond belief.

    October 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. russell

    What was he smoking ? Of course when this bumbling idiot came onto the seen there numbers went up a couple of points , but as soon as people heard her speak and found out who she really is ( quitter ) their numbers took a deep nose dive ,, even if the economy didn't collaspe there's no way Mcain would have won with all the devisive comments and lies that were put out by Palin , wow and to think some people out here in America actually think that Palin would be qualified to be POTUS , I have news for them , not today , not last year and not yesterday , don't forget that this woman is a quitter , just Google how many ofices she has quit ( 5 ) . Now why would we want someone as president who may decide that the job is way to tough for her and turns around and quits................................enough said !!!!!

    October 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. GI Joe

    Ignorance and the desire to spread hate and fear were the only reasons they picked her.

    She's an idiot – a foul-mouthed idiot.

    October 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Darth Cheney

    Keep up with it, GOP. Keep moving rightward, and go for people like Palin who fire up with base but have no crossover appeal. Just wait and see the results...

    October 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. rita

    I'm confused!!! She was O.K. for the #2 spot, but not the #1 spot. What does he think would happen if McCain (God forbid) would have died in office? Guess he wasn't thinking that far ahead. It was highly predictable to imagine that #2 would then take over the office of #1.

    October 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Va 4 Obama

    Oh no, no, no! Pres. Obama's decisive victory HAD EVERYTHING to do with putting that NUTJOB on the ticket! Nice call – we Democrats thank you!! If only we didn't have to continue to listen to Palins "dribble" ; )

    October 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. m jeff

    He was right the first time,Catastrophic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Lynda

    What did Lumpbaugh and Beck get ahold of this guy and tell him to change his story? Or was it some other right wing Republicans? That just show you that you can't believe a thing the GOP says

    October 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Doc in Virginia

    Is Schmidt bi-polar? What did he say the other day about her being a catastrophy? No wonder that campaign was so dysfunctional and kneejerkingly idiotic. They all deserved each other. McCain sure can pick people he can rely on.

    October 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. icanread

    Obviously, Mr Schmidt has been taken to the woodshed for a good talking to by the powers that be in the "Party". I believe his previous statements regarding Sarah.

    October 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Schmidt is defending John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin. TO LATE!


    Why do the GOP continue to think they can always take back with their first response was? First response is always the right one.

    I guest RUSH Limbaugh got to him. I really feel sorry for those Republicans that can not speak their mind about their ture believes without getting in trouble with their leader Rush Limbaugh.

    October 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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