Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, sat for an interview on Nevada One's “NewsONE at 9."
Reporter Jeff Gillan asked Ensign about the fact that "if you look at the polling, the people who are voting against John McCain say the primary reason they're voting against him is because of Sarah Palin. They don't believe that she's ready to be vice president.
"You've heard some grumblings within the Republican party," he continued, "that circular firing squad already kind of setting up, people blaming each other for John McCain's fortunes right now. Do you think in retrospect, she was the best choice, and do you think your party would have been better served had he gone with a Joe Lieberman or had he gone with a Tom Ridge..."
"Or a Mitt Romney?" Ensign interjected. "There were some very, very talented people that he was considering. You remember, at the time, the Republican party was not fired up at all and she fired up the Republican party; and look at the crowds..."
Ensign continued, saying, "she was an initial great start and the campaign just completely mishandled her. What they tried to do is in traditional campaigns before 24-hour cable news, you had a situation where they always told you, 'when you do your campaign speech, don't get tired of hearing it yourself. Keep giving it, because you're going to be in Pennsylvania one day, to Nevada the next, they've never heard your speech.'
"Well, they kept having Sarah Palin, for the first two weeks after the convention, give the same speech and people were saying, 'She's just an empty suit -- all she does is give this little scripted speech, we’ve heard it all before,'" Ensign said.
"What they should have been doing at that time is briefing her on some of the international issues which she was absolutely inexperienced on -- everybody knew that; she's the governor of a state -- a tremendous governor, a very popular governor, did a great job as the chief executive, but then they should have let her go a little bit, because she's a great speaker, she's great off the cuff, she’s doing a lot better this last week or so that they let her have a little more freedom, and she’s getting a little more comfortable with the issues..."
Pondered the member of GOP Senate Leadership, "Has she been a net negative? You could maybe make that argument, but I would blame some of the campaign handlers for her being that net negative because they did not handle her correctly."
Asked Gillan: "Do you think she's qualified to be president?"
Ensign said, "I do not think that Barack Obama or her are experienced enough to be president of the United States -- neither one of them, and Hillary Clinton was much more qualified to be president than Barack Obama was, but that's who the nominee is.
"John McCain is much more qualified than Barack Obama and certainly, Joe Biden is much more qualified than Sarah Palin is," Ensign said. "I'd rather have the most qualified person at the top of the ticket, not number two."