McCain was asked on July 17 if he'd declined to ask Mitt Romney to join him as the VP candidate when he ran for President in 2008 because of anything suspect in the background of Romney; McCain was privy to a plethora of Romney documents, including his tax returns, during the vetting process in the last election cycle.
The line of questioning comes from a push, by media, and others, some his Republican peers, to get him to release more than the 2010 taxes
and partial 2011 taxes he's released (more 2011 documents are coming, but that is all he's agreed to make public). McCain may have blundered slightly with his response to a reporter's question, though arguably there wasn't a lot else he could say. But his answer to the question 'why?' is getting attention.
"Because we thought Sarah Palin was the better candidate," McCain told reporters. "Why did we not take Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the 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."
McCain: "Best fit for our campaign"
Later on Tuesday, McCain addressed
all the attention his response was getting. "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," he said. "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."
McCain did not say in what way his response was "twisted" around, or how the interpretation that he meant Palin was a better candidate was "obviously" the wrong one when he in fact said that she was "a better candidate." He did add that trying to suggest there may be something wrong with Romney's taxes when no one has seen them is "gutter politics" of the worst kind.