McCain: Palin ‘Most Qualified’ VP Nominee in Recent Memory

October 22, 2008 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Sen. John McCain gave a remarkable interview with radio personality Don Imus this morning, and the principle topic of discussion was Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

McCain dismissed the notion, which Imus said he shared, that Palin performed poorly during interviews with ABC’s Charles Gibson and CBS’ Katie Couric:

She did fine in the interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. If I called you up and asked “What’s the Bush Doctrine?” I doubt if you would know what it is. I think you’d probably have a pretty funny answer. She did a great job in those interviews.

When Imus responded that he would be able to say what newspapers he reads, which Palin was unable to do when asked by Couric, McCain suggested it was a “gotcha question,” and Palin gets her news from the Internet.

Do you think she doesn’t read newspapers? A whole lot of people get their news online now. They just go online. That’s why newspapers are declining in circulation.

It’s easy to make fun of people and ask them gotcha questions. That’s fine. I understand how the game is played. But don’t think that the American people buy that baloney.

Of course, Palin never mentioned getting her information online when Couric asked, or, for that matter, when Fox News’ Carl Cameron gave her the opportunity to re-do her answer after the vice presidential debate.

Imus clearly struck a nerve when he questioned the campaign’s reluctance to put Palin through the grinder on Sunday morning talk shows. McCain laughed through his response that seemed to border on mocking:

Imus: It used to be said that a candidate had to get through a “Meet The Press” session with Tim Russert, and if they didn’t, it was difficult to recover -

McCain: Who said that? That’s hilarious. That’s hilarious. With thousands of people showing up at a town hall meeting, at a rally, I’ve never had one of them say, “Why hasn’t she gone on ‘Meet The Press?” Not once. That’s very good. That is very good, Don. I bet you there’s some who say she’s never been to a Georgetown cocktail party. I’ll bet they say that too.

Actually, McCain’s attorney, Robert Bennett — who had earlier investigated McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal — said it this year, during an interview with The New York Times.

McCain lashed out at the ever-increasing list of Republicans questioning McCain’s judgment because of his choice of Palin as a running mate. He rejected concerns that Palin is unprepared for America’s second-highest office.

My question is, ‘What’s their problem?’ She is the most popular governor in America…

Because she’s not known, or she hasn’t been to a Georgetown cocktail party, or maybe some in Manhattan — **I think she’s the most qualified of any that who has run recently for vice president, to tell you the truth. **[Emphasis added.]

Apparently, McCain has yet to learn the lesson that hyper-inflated praise for Palin only increases the public’s expectations of her.