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
9 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. Namryan

    The fact that Mrs. Palin was the best qualified in the Republican field tells us a lot about the quality of the GOP's members!
    All the preset candidates were already available for VP four years ago... I wonder what has turned Mr. Romney into the best candidate for President?

    March 12, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    @Cindy McCain, If you will not/did not watch the film, how can you criticize it...unless, you are told what was in it. The film was more about politics than character. The Katie interview sums it up in a nutshell.

    March 12, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  3. Tzckrl

    The film actually depicts many touching, human qualities of Palin. She was clearly unqualified, but her being chosen not her fault. McCain also shown as a very decent, principled man. And I'm quite sure he uttered the f word a few times during the campaign and probably still does. So what? Why should he be so sensitive about it? The film is great and before they condemn it as false, they should at least see it. As it is, they're speaking out of ignorance. Bu this is nothing new, I suppose.

    March 12, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  4. Fair + Balanced

    John McCain is the poster child for the social impact on untreated PTSD.

    March 12, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. Tzckrl

    The film actually depicts many touching, human qualities of Palin. She was clearly unqualified, but her being chosen not her fault. McCain also shown as a very decent, principled man. And I'm quite sure he uttered "bad words" a few times during the campaign and probably still does. So what? Why should he be so sensitive about it? The film is great and before they condemn it as false, they should at least see it. As it is, they're speaking out of ignorance. Bu this is nothing new, I suppose.

    March 12, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  6. shades

    Its funny how liberals are still crying that Palin was not qualified, yet they voted for a ticket with Biden on it, never mind Obama who had no experience whatsoever...and you see what that recklessness got us.

    March 12, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  7. Curt

    McCain's refusal to admit he made a mistake by choosing Palin as his running mate just proves he was not qualified to be President. He's a true politician. We all know the only reason he chose her was to get more votes from people just like her. Wake up McCain, you might have won the election if you had chosen someone else.

    March 12, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  8. Daniels

    Without a shred of doubt I would've voted for McCain if he had picked a VP I could support. Palin came off as vapid. Is she really like that? I don't know because all I have to go by are stupid 18 second sound bites. If McCain chose someone like Tom Ridge, former governor of PA and first Secretary of Homeland Security, I would've voted Republican for the first time in my life. Whoever gets the Republican nomination this year better STOP pandering to the far right and realize there are a lot of moderate, independantly minded democrats who will go against party for the right team.

    March 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    So many great scenes in this movie. Whether factual or not (we were'nt there after all) the scene where they were making the determination as to "running a dirty campaign" and who could start it for them was priceless. They never said who but the very next scene focused on a Palin rally where they were yelling things out about Obama while she made it a point of saying how he was "not like us". I guess they found the right person to run the campaign into the ground, in more ways than one.
    I didn' think I would enjoy this movie, but darn if I didn't. Definitely worth watching....unless she's getting a cut! lol!
    Obama 2012.

    March 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  10. gregory21

    Who's he kidding, he'll watch it. How will he answer questions when the media starts. Him and the gop made the biggest mistake picking her and they know it. They'll never admit it. She is quallified to be a dog catcher.She's dumb as a brick.

    March 12, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  11. Qi

    This tells me everything I need to know about the GOP. Time to change my game and support President Obama..

    March 12, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  12. ED FL

    Mccain says Palin was the best qualified. By whose standards. Mccain isn't or has never been the sharpest pencil in the drawer so his opinions are just that ,his opinions. He has screwed up in every aspect of the tasks that he has attempted. His Navy career was enhanced by being the grandson of two exceptionally high ranking Admirals. His life after returning to civilian life after his prisoner status was a disaster and his record as a Senator isn't that great. The Keating five and other civilian attempts at different ventures were nothing to brag about.

    March 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Lucky18

    McCain should be quartered, for bringing her in, without "vetting" her properly. The McCain campaign didn't care about the U.S., they only cared about winning! She was unqualified to be that close to the "prize".
    Having limited knowledge of the world, is no reason to dislike Palin. HAVING LIMITED KNOWLEDGE IS HER PROBLEM!!!

    March 12, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  14. The Prince of Common Cents

    Comparing Sarah Palin's unpreparedness for office to Obama's is "laughable" at best. In the movie, she's depicted as uneducated when it comes to foreign policy. Meanwhile, Obama is shown speaking to heads-of-state and crowds in the hundreds of thousands. I know that you Palin fans want to make her relevant in politics but.....

    March 12, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. dancingjelly

    How can they comment on it if they haven't watched it? Why is he still defending his choice in picking her when it was such an obviously bad choice. That makes him look senile. Luckily he isn't running for anything because these comments would only hurt his chances. Now look at our choices....really a sad situation.

    March 12, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  16. Carlos

    Poor old guy, he's senile.

    March 12, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. beefromnj

    The movie was great. Many of the scenes were actual words that Palin used. I know because i watched all of the interviews and the debate with Joe Biden. i find it disturbing how they made her study and memorize all of the questions before she debated with Joe and then she was praised for doing such a great job. I'm not gonna say i feel sorry for her, that she was just thrown in the race and used. because at the end of the day she is a grown woman and should have known that she wasn't ready to be on that big stage. They may talk about how Obama was unqualified but he's able to string together a sentence. He's an intellectual, can speak on any topic thrown at him and able answer tough questions without looking stupid. Palin couldn't do any of that and i didn't need the movie to tell me that. I saw it with my own eyes.

    March 12, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. Expat American

    The film attempted to reveal a human side to Palin. But frankly, I don’t see a human side in a simpleton racist and a bigot.
    The scary truth is the amount of electoral power Palin supporters actually wielded during the last election. Can you even imagine if such an unintelligent, ignorant racist bigot had ever become Vice President? This, of course not even touching upon a hypothetical McCain Presidency.

    March 12, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |

    John McCain gave birth to the Tea Party with his selection, and cemented an anti-intellectual fervor in the GOP. The film was much more sympathetic to her than the book and did show her strong commitment to her family, but this isn't the quality that makes for a great leader. What the film didn't play up enough were the combined dangers of rash decisions and absolutism. To remove nuance, deliberation, and patience from the process leaves behind a horde of sloganeers and elevates the basest elements of both parties.

    March 12, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  20. RINO Bil

    No John, no matter what you say, Sarah Palin was not qualified to be second-in-line to the presidency. That is exactly why you did not get my vote. Obama has been a tremendous disappointment, to say the least. But from what I have seen and heard from Palin in the last four years, I still do not regret my vote in '08.

    March 12, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  21. ja

    If palin was best qualified, the gop was in the toilet

    March 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. rockysfan

    He's not about to admit the he and the repub party were wrong. Anyone expecting that is delusional. Just a delusional as McCain and the repub party that Palin is qualified. Oh, my bad, she's qualified to quit. That's about it.

    March 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    How about the part in the movie where McCain was told by Woody Harrelson's character that he could no longer control Palin, and McCain essentially said that neither could he because he was afraid she'd turn on him?! Boy was this on point or what?!
    Obama 2012.

    March 12, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. Dave

    I'm not fan of Palin, because I think she is hurting Republican chances of beating Obama in the fall. However, it is clear that the media has a bias against conservatives.

    March 12, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  25. beefromnj

    One of McCains advisors was smart. He told him not to do it. He could have chosen from many others to be his running mate but McCain was only worried about winning. i really believe this movie. They grabbed Palin before they asked her any questions. They asked after the fact and they got smacked in the face hard. What an awful mistake McCain. Thanks

    March 12, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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