"I think there are more qualified candidates," McCain said, on why she doesn't believe Palin is right for the job. "I just don't agree with the moves she's made since the election. If I was advising her I would have told her to go away, stay silent, read up on everything, then really start campaigning hard. The reality shows, it's just not what I believe in for the White House."
That's not to say McCain, who is a columnist for Tina Brown's The Daily Beast, doesn't have respect for Palin.
"She is captivating on every level, and she's a lot smarter than people ever give her credit for," McCain said. "I do not think she's stupid. I do not think she's crazy. There are these things that she is stereotyped to be."
McCain said Palin has been treated unfairly by the media, which is something the media does to other conservative women as well, like McCain herself. But McCain said Palin is too conservative for her taste.
McCain said she didn't believe Palin hurt her father's chances against Obama in the last election when she served as the vice presidential nominee.
"I think my father could have had Jesus Christ himself as his running mate," she said, reminding the audience to think back to how the country was in the grip of "Obama-mania" at the time.
For similar reasons, McCain said she doesn't like the idea of Donald Trump eyeing the presidency either.
"I have actually kind of a problem with people like Donald Trump saying they're going to run for president. This shouldn't be something you do for publicity," McCain said. "I think it's very strange."
Of course if he ran, the country would have two reality shows to follow, Trump's and Palin's, she said.
"My personal favorite right now is Mitt Romney," she said. "I like that he's not so radical. I like that he has really, really played his cards right, almost perfectly since the last election."
McCain said she didn't believe Mike Huckabee had what it takes to beat Obama.
"We're going against the Obama machine, which even if it's a little less bright and shiny than it once was it's still the Obama machine," she said. "And we need something intense to really showcase exactly what his administration is doing wrong. And not get caught up in the fray."
Following her talk, McCain held a book signing on her recently published memoir, "Dirty Sexy Politics: A True Story." Caleb Wallace, 23, of Powder Springs, a junior majoring in history, said he was impressed.
"She brings something fresh to the table from our generation as opposed to always hearing from the older talking heads who we're always hearing from on the news," Wallace said. "She really just brings a fresh perspective and encourages people like me who are kind of cut off from the Republican Party as a young voter."
Criminal justice major Deanna Pucci, 20, of Woodstock, is also a fan.
"I absolutely love her," Pucci said. "I'm not really that much into politics, and I follow her on Twitter a lot, but she's just so funny and down to earth, and I think she's a good role model for younger generations."