Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended Mitt Romney from Democratic speculation that he passed on him as a 2008 running mate after reviewing his tax returns, saying Sarah Palin was simply the better choice at the time.
McCain called the tax claims “outrageous” and “disgraceful” in an interview with Politico Tuesday. He said he chose Palin “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,” McCain said. “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.”
Former McCain adviser Steve Schmidt told the Huffington Post this week that the campaign was primarily concerned Romney’s vast wealth would make the ticket difficult to sell to average Americans, but didn’t believe Romney’s taxes were a liability. Schmidt also said he never personally saw 23 years of tax returns Romney provided to McCain during the vetting process.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.