McCain: Palin was 'best qualified'
Then-Republican presidential nominee John McCain stands with then-Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention on September 4, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
March 11th, 2012
04:10 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain: Palin was 'best qualified'

(CNN) – Despite the hype, Sen. John McCain has no plans to watch HBO’s “Game Change,” the new film about his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign.

“I’m not going to watch it,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s based on a book that’s completely biased and with unattributed quotes, et cetera.”

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The film, which debuted on television Saturday, is based on the 2010 book of the same name and focuses on McCain’s vice presidential pick, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. In the election, McCain and Palin lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, with Palin’s inexperience on the national stage cited as one of the reasons.

But McCain defended his choice Sunday, as he has done consistently, saying she was the “best qualified person” and had the ability to energize the Republican Party.

“I admire and respect her and I’m proud of our campaign,” McCain said. “I’m grateful she ran with me.”

The Arizona senator also rejected what he said was the film’s depiction of him as foul-mouthed.

“I have been told I am portrayed as using an exceeding amount of coarse language,” McCain said. “I don't use coarse language very often. I have a larger vocabulary than that.”

McCain’s wife, Cindy, criticized the film to CNN’s Piers Morgan earlier in the week and said she too would not watch.

Nicolle Wallace, who served as a senior adviser to Team McCain during his presidential bid and was also portrayed in the film, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the movie was “true enough to make me squirm.”

“Watching ‘Game Change’ is like reliving the most tumultuous professional roller coaster ride on which I’ve ever been,” Wallace wrote Sunday on “It brought back the highs – Palin’s surprise selection and her glorious moment on stage at our national convention – and the now well-documented lows.”

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Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. Me know for sure

    Johnny boy, your colorful language was the least of your problems in this deal. Jeeez, you were a navy pilot for christss sake. We understand some cussing, ESPECIALLY when it comes to that Palin weirdo. That you really, really, really screwed up.

    March 12, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. rossmick

    If that is the best the GOP has to offer they are in REAL touuble. She is nothing but a putz and SO past tense. Did I mention a looser and the GOP hates loosers. Sarah who?

    March 12, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Rob in MO

    Poor guy; he cannot bring himself to admit that he made a terrible mistake. He will go down in history as the man who afflicted us with this idiot.

    March 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. mike

    Wallace and Schmidt have both said the movie is truthful, and neither have a reason to lie. And that is scary.

    March 12, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  5. Satberry

    She has to be an ex mistress.I can see no other reason for him defending her.I liked McCain also.It's terribly hard now to respect him.

    March 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  6. Concerned

    If she was the most qualified vice president candidate, then I have absolutely no faith in the Republican Party!!!!!

    March 12, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  7. Rex Bovee

    So sad, isn't that? I'm wishing McCain had had run this time, with Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell as Veep (Or such a paring Last Time!); might not have voted for them, but at least I would feel like the GOP was engaging in a fair fight. This campaign seems like a sketch on SNL or the Colbert Report: I keep waiting to hear the announcement that the actual nomination will be determined by forensic comparisons of dental records!

    March 12, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. JohnRJ08

    John McCain proves with this statement that he was not fit to be President. His "Country First" campaign slogan couldn't have been further from the truth. He agreed to Palin as his running-mate for the most cynical of reasons: he knew he was in trouble with the increasingly radical base of his party and he needed Palin to offset the fact that he was perceived as a moderate.

    McCain isn't a very bright man. Got into the Naval Academy only because his grandfather and father were both decorated Admirals in the US Navy. Then, he managed to graduate 896th in a class of 898 midshipmen. After graduating, he promptly went out and crashed two aircraft, not counting the one he was shot down in. Then, in his first term as a US Senator, he was embroiled in the worst scandal of the decade. As a member of the "Keating 5" he would have been expelled from the Senate if he hadn't be a "war hero" and former POW. Now, he has to support Palin, otherwise he admits to making one of the most irresponsible decisions in the history of US politics, placing a person who didn't know why there are two Koreas one heartbeat from the Presidency.

    March 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  9. BettyC

    Hmmmm Sarah was the most qualified???? I'm not a fan of Tim Palenty at all. But compared to Sarah well there is no comparison.. And if he wanted a woman I'm sure there are many republican women who are so much more qualified than Sarah. McCain needs to admit to himself and the world that he made a terrible mistake letting her loose on the rest of us.

    March 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  10. John

    Best qualified? I can think of a whole lot of Republicans that ought to be pretty teed off about that comment.

    March 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. SAGG

    I think McCain's trying to cover up the fact that he was just plain wrong in choosing Palin. He simply won't admit he made a mistake. Sad, really.

    March 12, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  12. Bill744

    McCain is a loyal and honorable man. There are few like him in politics today. Palin did energize the party for a short while, but it should have been fairly obvious that her depth was limited to snarky one-liners. Not someone you would want as the back up for a president. I would hope that personal loyalty would not cloud judgement. Either he is just being loyal or just being fooled by an overextended sense of loyalty.

    March 12, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  13. Mark

    wow if you have nothing to lose you thought it was true. If your decision was shit its a bunch of lies. funny that. There is no human face to portray. Palin proved that having a lot of opinions is not the same as being smart or inteligent or willing to learn. 5 colleges for 1 journalism degree-what did you learn?

    March 12, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  14. kevin

    All one needs to do is listen to Palin to know how under qualified she was. The movie just illistrates this. The move to make her a running mate was just an attempt to bring the female vote to the republicans. No way she was "the most qualified". The sad thing is she has an small and loud following that helps inflate her fragile ego. Oh...I do blame her for what happened to Gabby Giffords as well.

    March 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  15. Lurker

    *Sigh*. McCain needs to stop sugarcoating his Palin pick. Whatever political affiliation you boast, it doesn't take a genius to see how ridiculously unqualified she was. It was obvious it was a move for McCain to gain the "soccer mom" votes. BTW Palin, better get back to the Alaskan border, Putin's still in house. Put those years of international skills to use and protect us again from his horrible reach into Alaska.

    March 12, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  16. 100% ETHIO

    I saw the portraits, it is great. It is just treating the seat Senator McCain as a Hollywood boy, while the former Alaska Governor(which gave honour...), Palin was a spotlight in every news, now in this movie....

    March 12, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  17. arabellaJane

    McCain is struggling so he doesn't leave the political scene being viewed by some as a failure because of his VP pick. I would hope that with time served in the Senate since 2008, he will be able to one day speak openly and honestly about her inexperience and unexpected short comings.

    March 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  18. aafan

    How many people complained when noted genius Dan Quayle was vice president? And how about Spiro Agnew? Wasn't he a brainiac? Dick Cheney was constantly having heart attacks and blew his friends face off. He was elected vice president twice! But Sarah Palin was horribly unqualified and inappropriate, compared to these guys. When exactly did we start being so picky about our VP's?

    March 12, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  19. Proud51

    Obviously McCain is so dumb that he doesn"t get it. McCain, sir, America told you in 2008 that she was not the best qualified. You, yourself are not qualified to be a senator, never mind President. I wonder what his comment does for Romney, Santorub, Ryan, the ever low class racist Gingrich.

    March 12, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. Name Essie

    Someone's not telling the truth! ...I think it's McCain. If he is so proud of his campaign & VP pick, then watching the movie will only allow you to relive those glorious days! But the truth is, he knows that he made a huge error by trying to be so different and pick a non-vetted, pretty-faced, low IQ-PALIN! ...He has to now live with his mistake and watch this accurate movie and LIKE IT!!

    March 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  21. Gil

    Watched & it wasn’t bad, like most documovies they are never 100% accurate. Now that a few staff members have said it’s pretty accurate I’ll believe them. Does the movie depict Sarah as not the brightest penny in the gar? Yes. Does it depict her as a fighter and a force? Yes. Does it change the fact that she was not ready to be VP? No. What’s going to be very predictable is on Monday the anchors on Fox will say this is a left wing attack on Sarah & conservative woman and how Hollywood hates conservatives. What a joke that will be. Just because someone doesn’t show Sarah Palin as a living god in the GOP that does no wrong it doesn’t mean it’s a left wing attack.

    March 12, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  22. shadysider

    McCain should watch it. It shows him in a good light. A shame he compromised his maverick tendencies after 2000. Good movie overall. Factually honest and great acting.

    March 12, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  23. Tom

    People always like to hide there dirty laundry from public view, and that's a good thing for them. In politics, however, dirty laundry is public domain. When John McCain says that Sarah Palin was the best qualified to be VP of the USA, he shows that he was not qualified to be President of the USA.

    March 12, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  24. Joe Unger

    I saw most of it and McCain isn't shown using a lot of coarse language. He didn't get accurate information. But why would he want to watch a replay of him losing the presidency?
    But what was up with Palin and the lapses into catatonic states?

    March 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  25. farmdog47

    the best qualified? aw cmon John

    March 12, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
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