John McCain says Sarah Palin was a ‘BETTER candidate’ than Mitt Romney

Former Republican presidential nominee John  McCain is now on the defensive after he said that during the 2008 campaign he  ‘thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate’ than Mitt Romney.

Now, considering he is a Romney surrogate, it  comes as no surprise that he is backpedaling saying that the quote was taken out  of context.

During an interview with Politico earlier Tuesday, the Arizona senator  was explaining why he believes- in spite of public illusions to the contrary-  that Romney should not be fearful of releasing more tax returns.

Trouble among friends? John McCain (left) explained that his comment was not a slight against Mitt Romney (right) but taken out of context

Trouble among friends? John McCain (left) explained that  his comment was not a slight against Mitt Romney (right) but taken out of  context

When McCain was running for the White House,  he and his aides looked over the files of a number of top Republicans- including  Romney- and part of that file included over 20 years of tax returns.

During that inspection, McCain said that  there was nothing that disturbed him about the returns, but said that he simply  decided to select Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska who was only in the  midst of her first term at the time, because she was more appealing to them.

When asked by the Politico reporter why he  decided against Romney, McCain said: ‘Oh come on, because we thought that Sarah  Palin was the better candidate.’

‘Why did we not take (Tim) Pawlenty, why did  we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn’t I? Because we had a  better candidate, the same way with all the others. … Come on, why? That’s a  stupid question.’

That stupid question is now proving to be a  troubling one for McCain, and he has made his feelings about the altered  interpretation very clear.

‘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,’ he told a group of reporters after the initial article ran.

McCain’s former campaign manager Steve  Schmidt explained to The Huffington  Post that there was nothing wrong  with Romney’s tax returns, but rather it was his personal wealth that caused  hesitation for the McCain staffers during their discussions about the vice  presidential pick.

‘Senator McCain got caught flat-footed  answering a question about how many houses he owned,’ Mr Schmidt explained.

‘In fact, they were Cindy McCain’s properties  but that distinction was lost in the political optics and we knew it would be a  big liability that the presidential and the vice presidential candidates  together owned more than a dozen homes. It was like something out of a Saturday  Night Liv’ skit. I mean, come on.’

Their thinking appears quite prescient, as  one of the biggest criticisms trailing Romney’s campaign throughout this year’s  presidential bid.

Prior ambitions: John McCain ran, and lost, as the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and many viewed his selection of Palin as damaging

Prior ambitions: John McCain ran, and lost, as the  Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and many viewed his selection of Palin  as damaging

McCain went on to defend Romney’s decision  not to release any more than two years of tax returns, even though there have  been calls for him to do so by major Republican players like Mississippi  governor Haley Barbour, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael  Steele, and Romney’s one-time opponent Senator Ron Paul.

‘So if your opponent makes a big deal out of  some issue then you’re supposed to do something that no one else has done?’  McCain said as justification.

Romney has said that he will not release the  returns- and will keep with tradition in doing so- because he doesn’t want to  add fuel to the potential fire, even though he says that there is nothing  illicit involved.

‘In the political environment that exists  today, the opposition research of the Obama campaign is looking for anything  they can use to distract from the failure of the president to reignite our  economy,’ Romney told The National  Review.

‘And I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving  them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie  about.’

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