John McCain says he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 instead of Mitt Romney because 'she was the better candidate'

 

When you have friends like John McCain, who needs political enemies?  That was surely the thinking of Mitt Romney today after the aforementioned said he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 over the former Massachusetts governor because she was the “better candidate”.

The slip by Senator McCain, which seemed to present Ms Palin as the gold standard of campaigning to which Mr Romney could not hope to measure up, came at a bad time. Mr Romney continues to face calls not just from Democrats but also some in his own party to release tax returns going back several years to quell questions about his personal fortune and whether he parked some of it overseas to dodge taxes.

Senator McCain thought he was being helpful. When in 2008 he rejected Mr Romney, his former rival for the nomination, as his choice for Veep it was not because of anything his vetting team had seen after sifting through two decades worth of Mr Romney’s tax returns, he said. But his follow-up – that he did it merely because Ms Palin seemed the “better” choice – ignited an unwanted uproar.

A livid Mr McCain later complained his words had been distorted. “We’ve taken an answer to a question as to why I selected her not Romney and twisted it around of course to some interpretation which is obviously not the case.  It’s really getting a little disgraceful, twisting someone’s words when clearly I said and meant that she was the best fit for our campaign.”

Today, the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, made his own stab at bailing water for the Republican nominee. “This is another sideshow intended to draw the American people’s attention away from the real issue,” he said. “And the real issue is the president’s economic policies have failed. They’ve actually made things worse.” The election, he added, is “not about the tax returns. It’s about the economy.”

Another Romney cheerleader extracting his foot from his mouth is John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor, who was forced to apologise after saying on Tuesday that he wished “this president would learn to be an American”. He insisted later that he was talking about Mr Obama’s business policies, but it sounded a lot like he thought him either short on patriotism or – that old thing – born of another land.

Senator McCain says here merely wanted to “personally vouch” for the fact that Mr Romney’s tax returns are clean and proper. “The only reason why I’m saying what I’m saying now is because of the scurrilous, scurrilous Chicago style sleaze intimations with no basis in fact whatsoever that there might’ve been something wrong with Mitt Romney’s tax returns, which is disgraceful,” he said.

Moreover there was a more identifiable problem with Mr Romney that didn’t having to do with his campaign abilities.  It was his wealth. “It would be a big liability that the presidential and the vice presidential candidates together owned more than a dozen homes,” Steve Schmidt, the former top aide to Mr McCain, said this week. “It was like something out of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit. I mean, come on.”

Those Republicans who have joined Democrats in urging Mr Romney to release his returns in hopes of ending the cycle of negative media coverage have included Governor Rick Perry of Texas and Congressman Ron Paul, who both ran against him for this year’s nomination.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all