Joe Miller Still Won’t Say Sarah Palin Is Qualified To Be President

Yesterday’s Sarah Palin controversy du jour concerned Todd Palin’s apparent anger at the fact that Joe Miller, the Alaska Senate candidate who beat Lisa Murkowski in August, had hedged his bets when asked whether he thought the former Governor was qualified to be President. The Palin camp said late yesterday that there had been a misunderstanding, but Miller’s comments last night are unlikely to end the story:

MEGYN KELLY: Let me just put it out there then: are you willing to say now whether you think Sarah Palin is qualified to be President?

JOE MILLER: You know, I’ll tell you the exact same thing that I just said this last week while I was in D.C., and that is — she, if she puts her name in the hat and that’s totally up to her, there are a number of others that are there, as well, any of which would be a far better Presidential candidate than what we’ve got right now in the Oval Office — but her decision to run is hers and hers alone.

It’s not our decision as to whether or not she runs. It certainly is a sideline to what’s going on in Alaska, and we aren’t going to fall into the trap again that the media’s trying to plant and create this as being some sort of a struggle between the Murkowskis and Palins, because that’s not what this race…

KELLY: [interrupting]…. I hear you, I hear you. I’m not trying to lay any trap. I’m just wondering, you know, she endorsed you, and Todd Palin was clearly upset that you wouldn’t say whether she was qualified, and I wanted to give you the chance to, you know, say “yes” or “no”, and it sounds like you’re not really going to say “yes” or “no.”

MILLER: No, let me make this unequivocal. She’s done phenomenal things for this country, there’s no question about that. She’s elevated the debate critical to our race, and let me tell you also: we know what qualified means, don’t we?

We know that we have a constitutional requirement for somebody that’s gonna run for President. Of course, she’s qualified.


So yes, Sarah Palin is “qualified” to be President in that she’s over 35 and a natural born citizen. By that standard, so am I, and so is a large portion of the American population.

Beyond that ? Miller isn’t saying anything. And that alone speaks volumes.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Anon says:

    What would Miller’s rationale be for hedging? Politically, why not unreservedly say that she is qualified?

  2. Because he wants to be his own man in the Senate, and not be seen as a Palin lap dog

  3. Good. One of my hesitations about Miller was that Palin endorsed him. This speaks well for him.

  4. Franklin says:

    What would Miller’s rationale be for hedging?

    Maybe his mom told him that if he didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Most politicians ignore what their mother told them, true enough.

  5. This sadly reminds me of how a lot of Republican candidates deal with the birth certificate issue. On one hand they know a disturbingly large part of their base won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t believe Obama is a secret Muslim Kenya. On the other hand, they know that if they say this they look a loony to normal Americans. So they spends lot of times trying to avoid taking a firm position either way on the matter.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Miller is a West Point graduate. He spent four years having an honor code drilled into him. He’d be lying if he said Palin was qualified and it would be politically damaging to say she isn’t. So he’s answering by not answering.

  7. Chris Jones says:

    What a freaking jerk. He wouldn’t be where he is right now in that race were it not for Palin. It shows a pretty serious character flaw on his part that he can’t say she’s qualified.

  8. mantis says:

    It shows a pretty serious character flaw on his part that he can’t say she’s qualified.

    Actually, the opposite is true. It shows that Miller actually has some character. Palin would be an awful president, just like she was an awful mayor and governor. She’d probably quit as soon as the going got tough, too, which I’m guessing would be about two weeks in. Miller’s not going to be bullied into saying something he doesn’t believe, to his credit.