POLITICS

Congressman, McCain Bundler On Palin: I Would Have Picked Someone Else

11/01/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Monday, John McCain dismissed the notion that there was dissension among conservatives over his choice of Sarah Palin as vice president.

"Really," he asked the Des Moines Register editorial board. "I haven't detected that. I haven't detected that in the polls. I haven't detected that among the base... so again, I fundamentally disagree."

If McCain is truly unaware of Republicans souring on the Palin choice, then he's not paying attention.

In fact, around the time that McCain was speaking to the Des Moines Register, a Republican congressman and McCain surrogate and bundler was unwilling to say that Palin was qualified to take over the presidency on moments notice.

Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois told the Chicago Tribne that had he been the Republican presidential candidate, "I would have picked someone different" for VP.

Pressed whether she was qualified to be one heartbeat away from being Commander in Chief, Kirk replied: "Quite frankly, I don't know."

In making his remarks, Kirk becomes the first elected official associated with the McCain campaign to publicly air his queasiness with Palin. The Illinois Republican bundles donations for McCain, having raised between $100,000 and $250,00 for the campaign. Kirk, additionally, is a member of McCain's "National Campaign Committee Members and Supporters," and is considered an important House liaison for the Senator.

The Jerusalem Post wrote in late August that Kirk, a former naval officer, "is expected to be given a senior position in the Department of Defense if McCain is elected president."

That Kirk would not express such deep reservations about Palin is reflective of just how far the Alaska Governor has fallen in her standing among voters and even within conservative crowds

In a September 2008 interview with the Tribune, Kirk said he was "encouraged" by Palin's nomination, saying that "hopefully it will be the Republican nominee who becomes the first female vice president." A Politico article on September 4, had Kirk proclaiming that the Alaska Governor would go over well in his district.

"Her initial introduction was as a young, good-looking female governor -- and that created a positive impression. And the second impression is she killed the bridge to nowhere, and that was huge," he said. "That was my battle."

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