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. Docdeb

    Neither saw the film but object to it and disagree with it. How typical of republicans. It actually was very generous to Sara Palin from what has since come out of Alaska. She was one of the most viscous vindictive women ever. And it did not portray McCain as foul mouthed at all. I don't know who told hhim that.

    March 11, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Hoosier2012

    Of course old man McCain is going to defend his mistake. Just imagine, she's only a heart beat away from becoming POTUS. McCain was trying anything to get the votes.
    On the other hand, I'm so happy that old man McCain was not elected....otherwise, we would be in world war 3 by now.

    March 11, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. Thor

    Best Qualified – That's a rather revealing statement about the state of the GOP party from one of their poster boys.

    March 11, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. LMC

    If Sarah Palin was the best McCain could come up with, then the Republican party is sadly lacking. We all know that they hunted quickly for someone they thought could catch the disappointed supporters of Hilary Clinton, thinking the candidate only needed to be female. Instead they came up with a polarizing figure that didn't come off very intelligently. I don't think Sarah is stupid, she seems to be a shrewd business person, but she sure was/is lacking in knowledge of the world beyond Alaska at the time.

    March 11, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. RushBeGone

    Indeed, it's a mighty fine line between pain and pleasure. As thrilling and rewarding as it has been to watch the GOP (Government of the One Percent) tear themselves to shreds (and potentially inflict mortal wounds to any would-be future party candidates), at times it has also been a bit saddening. To wit: In declaring that Sarah Palin was the "best qualified person" to serve the United States of America in the post of VICE PRESIDENT is a horrendous slap in the face to EVERY OTHER REPUBLICAN ON PLANET EARTH THAT, AT THE TIME, HAD AS MUCH AS A PULSE!!! Good god, man, have you taken leave of your senses?! Sarah Palin... the most qualified... at being elected to any office higher than Wasilla Elementary School crossing guard? The political savant that couldn't handle the pressure cooker that is the Alaska Governorship? Really?!!! Call me crazy, but I get the feeling that you and your wife will be receiving far fewer Christmas cards this coming Holiday season! Mon dieu, what a sad state of affairs. Here is a man with such a distinguished record (both in the military service and in the halls of government) now being fitted up for a conical cap and relegated to the corner of the room. Fare thee well, John, fare thee well...

    March 11, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Liz the First

    More proof positive McCain's judgement is seriously flawed. thank God we weren't stupid enough to elect him.

    March 11, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  7. smc

    If Palin was the "best qualified", that certainly explains the current crop of GOP losers.

    March 11, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  8. metaphorical

    McCain lost the election and he owes that loss to a great degree to his poor choice of Palin. The fact that he still hasn't figured it out shows all the more how bad of a President he would have been.

    March 11, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    This old man is completely senile and a big time liar. What is he going to say about the unvetted bimbo. That besides disobeying orders and getting shot in Vietnam this is probably the second biggest mistake of his life.
    He will go to his grave pretending that it was a good choice. He lost any legitimate chance of being president when he sold his soul to the devil for a ho wearing high heels and a big empty space between her ears.
    Nobody has to tell us the story of this debacle. We lived and, thanks to cnn, continue to live it with stories about some unknown who is still the worst thing that could have happened to this country in decades.

    March 11, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  10. Aaron

    I would have voted for McCain before Bush, and after. He lost his mind selecting Palin and her absolutely pathetic disqualification of herself by displaying zero knowledge of the world beyond her kid's hockey rink destroyed any credibility of herself and especially of McCain. McCain has been a great solider, leader, patriot and politician. His last 'hurrah' was supporting Palin in a desperate attempt to let an allegedly attractive Republican woman get him into the white house. Pathetic, right-wing, white wash.

    March 11, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. Erik

    She makes Perry look smart.

    March 11, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. Emmy Skaddittle

    Well since he picked her, i have to wonder about qualifications to be president.

    March 11, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. rough_edge

    If Palin was the best qualified, then that does say much about the republican party.

    March 11, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. jim fawcett

    McCain should be run out of politics and be forced to retire to Arizona and listern to Gigrich's speeches 24/7 for foisting that buffoon, Sarah Palin, on the American publi!!!

    March 11, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Jaynicia

    Well, he has to say's not like he can say "biggest mistake ever."

    March 11, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. carol sullivan

    they all tried to help sarah BUT YOU CAN'T HELP OR CURE STUPID

    March 11, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  17. WB

    WHy is it so hard for a politician, especially if as decent and respectable as Mc Cain, to say: "I screwed up, it was a bad decision!" and just move on! Only three people on earth say that it was not a mistake, SP , her husband and mcCain.....

    March 11, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. gypsyalso

    we watched the movie. was worth our time. how much was fact and how much was fiction i do not know. but i do know we believe very little that we see on tv.

    my complaint? i respected John McCain – while i am not a republican, at one time i probably would have voted for him. why did they have to portray his language as so coarse? why do we have to put up with this language in our living rooms? just recently the AARP newspaper – for what it is worth – had an article on civility – and how it isn't too much around anymore – so why do screen writers and actors have to speak so crudely? can't they use English we all are not ashamed of. i did not like the movie for that reason. i also wonder – if that is what happened in 2008 – and we didn't know that stuff – just what exactly is going on with the gop circus today. lord have mercy.

    March 11, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. SSampson

    How can you critisize something you refuse to watch....

    That is lunacy – anyone who can denounce something they haven't fully seen or heard has no credability....

    In this article she seems to elude she has read the book, but a couple of weeks ago it was reported she had seen exerpts.... (whatever that 'really' means)

    I bet she's the only McCain that really supported Palin....

    March 11, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  20. Cody

    Its a pretty sad state of affairs when PALIN is the best qualified.

    Wow... just... wow.

    March 11, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. ALKP

    The old man says it is biased just because foxnews didn't write it. If they did then it wouldn't be. If there is any new media extremely biased is foxnews. I guess he doesn't watch foxnews then.

    March 11, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. grahame rhodes

    OK But Yes! Do you expect him to tell the truth? That Palin is, was, and every shall be an embarrassment to the average intelligence of the human race. If you take offense to this remark then I suggest you examine the Katie Couric interview. Palin is a bimbo, it's that simple. Can you really imagine her one coronary away from the red button and the start of nuclear war? She couldn't even serve her full term in Alaska since she is so thin skinned she couldn't take the criticism so she quit to make a book deal. Give me a break. She is just a joke and only in it for the money..............

    March 11, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  23. Listen please

    Steve Schmidt is probably killing himself every day for the last four years. The movie shows him in a very balanced way. Yes, we all now know that Palin was an opportunist, then, now and in the future. One uninformed politician!

    March 11, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  24. Justjean

    If Palin was the best qualified at the time it either reflects on McCain's judgement for which he was thoroughly punished or it reflects on the GOP stable of potential candidates. Either way, it doesn't look good for any of them.

    March 11, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that McCain is really becoming delusional because there were better qualified women. He could have had Christie Todd Whitman from NJ; Kay Baily Hutchinson from Texas; Snowe or Collins from Maine; all of them would have been better choices.

    March 11, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
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