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.”

CNN and HBO are subsidiaries of Time-Warner, Inc.

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Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. Patrick Peavy

    It is so sad that people are really making their political judgments based on an HBO documentary of two chapters of a political gossip book of anonymous sources.

    March 11, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  2. Wvazoe

    "best qualified" for what?

    March 11, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. KatyaKatya

    Best qualified, poor man who couldn't find better, sad general picture for the conservative. She was what prevented a lot of people from voting for him, I know it. That said, movies about living people are not a good idea. Imagine yourself in his shoes, nobody is ever going to make a movie is OK with you, it is impossible.

    March 11, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Asturiano

    John is still on drugs. There are dozens of more qualified Republicans.

    March 11, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Dem Leaning Independent

    I could have easily voted for Senator McCain even though I don't agree with him on every issue if Sarah Palin hadn't been added to the ticket. After watching the movie, I understand a little better why his team chose her. As mistakes go, this one was catastrophic! That said, he should watch the movie. If anything, it really shows what a truly decent (potty mouth aside) human being he really is. Too bad Ms. Palin didn't take his advice and avoid the Rush Limbaugh's of their party. How can anyone live in a free society and refuse to communicate with those who don't agree with you? The thought of Ms. Palin as President gives me cold chills!

    March 11, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. LauraJT

    I agree with Realist. I voted for Obama and really could not stand Palin; however, I watched the movie and it actually gave me a much better perspective on her. She truly was out of her realm, yet it humanized her in a way and McCain also. I thought it was really quite good.

    March 11, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Brownie2

    How could the senator say anything else? Any criticism of Palin is criticism of himself since he made the final decision to "sign her on." McCain can't and won't take responsibility for the meanness he unleashed upon this country.

    March 11, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Alaskatrailrunner

    He damns her with faint praise...

    Of course McCain's going to defend Palin – he's the one that thrust that nitwit upon the rest of the country... She was fairly well-liked here - mostly because the crook she ran out of office was far worse than she was perceived to be at the time, and also because she was purtier than he was. But nobody with half a brain here in Alaska thought she'd make a good vice-president, and we feared she'd have to assume the presidency at some point – scary as that thought was. But now, here she is – a millionaire, and for what skill? Being purty. Only in America.

    March 11, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. yogi

    The stupidity in the Republican party knows no boundaries. That includes past GOP presidents,and past and present GOP candidates, all of them! And now McCain continues with his war threats as if wars are video games. Republicans are fascinated with wars and the human toll it took and continues to take seems completely irrelevant to them. Shame on all of them for going backward with civilization.
    Obama 2012, and onward with vision and true leadership and intelligence in foreign affairs.

    March 11, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. K3Citizen

    The movie made Palin look smarter than she really is.

    March 11, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. batjones

    I hope one reporter will finally flesh out why Senators Collins or Snowe were not put on the ticket. The selection would have created a real national ticket that covered the Southwest of McCain's Arizona and the Northeast of the senators' Maine. Instead the Republican ticket was purely Southern based. Alaska is its own region but has only three electoral votes. There was no additive effect on the electoral college by placing Governor Palin on the ticket, unless they thought Alaska was up for grabs in a three point differential race.

    March 11, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |

    best qualified, McCain continues to prove he has less than a

    March 11, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Norvy

    What else can he say? To admit she was not a good choice for VP would be admitting he made a terrible decision that led to many people doubting his ability to be a good leader, who makes good decisions. Also, notices how he slightly grimaces before answer questions about Palin?

    March 11, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. QQ

    If Palin was the best qualified then the GOP had some serious problems.

    March 11, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. Observer from Canada

    My wife & I watched the movie last night & felt it was a fair depiction of the way the Election race in 2008 unfolded . Our opinions of Sarah Palin's qualifications to be Vice-President were validated & confirmed , however ,she did come across as a loving caring mother with a lot of charisma ,but way over her head in the jungle called American politics. She has made a ton of money from her celebrity status these past four years & should perhaps not allow her ego to fool her into thinking that the American public will ever believe her competent to be a major player again.

    March 11, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. Jilli

    Mr. McCain, you made a completely careless, reckless and irresponsible decision when you chose Ms. Palin. She comes across just as unqualified as I assumed she was, but what was totally astounding – when I saw it in the movie – was the absolute cynicism McCain possessed when he selected Palin as his running mate. His reputation is dirt – through his pathetic attempt to win, he could have placed this nation into the hands of someone that didn't even know why there's a North and a South Korea! Good lord Mr. McCain, you're pathetic.

    March 11, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. Charlie from the North

    Poor John McCain. Whoever is advising him on this is dead wrong. He should have said. "Well the Hillary voters were really angry and I thought by offering a woman as VP I could get them to vote for me I was wrong, sorry America, oh and to Fox News you are welcome" That is what he should say, but he cannot admit a mistake. Why? I don't know.

    March 11, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. Seattle Sue

    McCain was a senile old man four years ago, nothing much has changed other than McCain is more senile and four years older.

    March 11, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. Jack in Florida

    Such a sad old man, living in such a delusional world. Megan, help your Dad to the recliner.

    March 11, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. mjw

    McCain remains in denial

    March 11, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. Andrea

    I enjoyed the movie, and yes, I believe it put McCain in a good light. McCain came off as someone who cared about the way his campaign was moving, and hoped to keep it positive. As for Palin, she really didn't fool most intelligent Americans... and that is why they likely lost. It is definitely true that the McCain camp tried to hide her from interviews toward the end of the campaign. The truth about McCain's potty mouth, here in Az. there are a number of people who say he's a potty mouth, people who know him. That doesn't really matter to me, I use rude language too often as well. I'm a Democrat, and used to vote for McCain, he really didn't lose my vote until he started pandering to the extreme right. Long live the moderates, may they continue to win, please don't let our country fall to extremists.

    March 11, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. Doug

    Doesn't this line from the argument say it all. "McCain’s wife, Cindy, criticized the film to CNN’s Piers Morgan earlier in the week and said she too would not watch."
    She hasn't seen it but she's criticizing it. Gives new meaning to the expression, "The Truth Hurts."

    March 11, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. lynn

    palin the gop frankenstein monster .

    March 11, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. purnellmeagrejr

    I celebrated the choice of Palin; I knew it was was over. It was just a matter of fiolling in the details of the disaster that she was to become.

    March 11, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. Olaf Big

    Great book! McCain is sweating small stuff if he does want to read it because it says that he swore a lot.

    March 11, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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