November 25th, 2008
02:54 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain says Palin has a 'very bright future' as a GOP leader

McCain confirmed Tuesday he’s planning to run for a fifth Senate term in 2010.
McCain confirmed Tuesday he’s planning to run for a fifth Senate term in 2010.

(CNN) – Former GOP presidential candidate John McCain denied Tuesday that political considerations - a desire to appeal to Clinton supporters - played a role in his selection of running mate Sarah Palin, calling her “an energizing factor” and telling reporters the Alaska governor has a “very bright future in a leadership position in the Republican Party.”

"She did a great job of energizing our base. I'm very proud of her,” he said at a press conference in Phoenix, his first since losing to Barack Obama three weeks ago. “It's one of the great pleasures I've had to get to know her and her family, and I think she has a very bright future in a leadership position in the Republican Party.

"....I knew that she would be an energizing factor, because she energized me," he added. "Our base, and most Americans, viewed Governor Palin as a breath of fresh air."

Taking a look back at the presidential contest, he said his campaign was dealt a fatal blow when public focus shifted from foreign policy to the faltering economy. “The American people - and I respect that decision, I don’t in any way criticize it – [decided] that the economy was of vital importance. And it is,” he said.

He also told reporters: “We worked hard, and we inspired a lot of people, Sarah Palin and I. I think we look back with pride."

The Arizona senator said that he’s planning to run for re-election in two years, and that an official announcement would come “at an appropriate time.” He praised the president-elect for his cabinet picks so far, especially his reported selection of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano – long mentioned as a likely 2010 Senate rival - as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Multiple sources have told CNN that Napolitano is Obama’s top choice for that post.

"I have already talked with her, and look forward to moving her nomination as quickly as possible through the United States Senate," said McCain. He said he is also planning trips in the near future to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even with his stiffest competition is reportedly taking a pass, McCain’s home state has been trending blue - he beat Barack Obama by just 9 points - and the four-term senator told reporters Tuesday he’s expecting a “tough race.”


Filed under: Arizona • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (801 Responses)
  1. Ed

    I questioned McCains selection of Palin right from the get go. I figured it was totally to try and swing those women supporters of Hillary and that as it turned out was a huge failure, of course watching Palin's attempt at intelligent conversation become an embarressment to anyone who saw, well then I questioned if this man had all his marbles..well I think at times he did but then he'd have a spell or two every once in a while, example the Palin pick and once again this example. He is just having another spell when he speaks of Palin. God Bless his heart.

    November 25, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Larry Kincaid

    She might be a "breath of fresh air, but most American's were rightfully frightened of her leading the country.

    November 25, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Palin was a destructive force for the GOP and was one of the main reason John McCain lost this electon! I am tired of people saying she was good because she energized the conservative base. It was not the conservative base that McCain had to win, it was the independent moderate middle that he failed to secure and this was entirely because he sold out his political soul to the right-wing extremist of the GOP and selected the idiot Palin as his running-mate.

    November 25, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    I'm getting old - with any luck, I'll be dead by the time this woman gets to be president, if this country is dumb enough to elect her.

    I sure feel sorry for the younger folks, however.

    November 25, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. gpm

    Let us hope that if she is the future of the GOP, then the Democrats will be in power for a real long time.

    November 25, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Will, NJ

    So much for rebuilding the party.

    November 25, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Irma in North Carolina

    Sure John she cost you the election, especially the hate rallys she gave and you did not stop her and by this she was the cause of the threats on Oboma life. The only people who like Sarah are just a few republicans. You guys ran to nasty of a campaign. And as Sarah would say it was a task from God to let you two loose the election. At least Americans can sleep better at night knowing that Sarah could of been running the campaign. I will say tho you gave a very decent concession speech. Cannot believe that Sarah was so dumb and thought the VP canidate was to give a speech. Thank God your campaign did not let her give that speech, it would of been full of hate.

    November 25, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Jesse from Berlin

    Is that the best that the GOP has to offer?...
    I bet that the GOP would do worse than this year..

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Christopher

    Was Palin "energizing the base" when she spewed her accusations of terrorist ties regarding Obama?

    Was Palin "energizing the base" when she stood in front of crowds that chanted "Kill Him" about Obama and she said nothing?

    Was Palin "energizing the base" when she botched a simple question like "what do you like to read"?

    Come on Sen. McCain...

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Mary

    Enough about Sarah Palin. She cannot put a coherent thought together, let alone be a leader of anything. If McCain thinks she is the future of the Republican party, Democrats will be in power for a long time!

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Gloria - Minnesota

    Oh my, he still says he's proud of her, and he also says that most Americans viewed her as a breath of fresh air!! Which Americans is he referring to?? Oh, the Republicans in the base perhaps!!

    Perhaps when he runs in 2010, he will have Sarah Palin at his side campaigning for him...God help us all!!

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Diane Panama City Fl

    For Palin to have a "bright future", shouldn't she at least be "bright"? But, looking at the average Republican these days, I guess it doesn't take much to reach the top when the top is so low to the ground.

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. gary n.

    Just what are you smoking, old man ? Wink , wink.

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Shari, NY

    Wow! Palin stories are like the Energizer Bunny.

    November 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Simmy

    This must be a move of desperation for the Repubs to try and stay relevant! Bless ya hearts!

    November 25, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Love My USA/Do You?

    Sara is a breath of fresh air. Liberals may hate her, and they have good cause. Many of us are looking forward to the day when she will be in a position to take on many of the liberals. For those of you who thnk you hate her, it is because she is a Threat to the liars and double talkers in Washington. Some of you who are Sara bashers, you have been watching to much of of Saturday Night Live..

    November 25, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. A Canuck

    I THINK MCCAIN IS HAVING ANOTHER "SENIOR MOMENT" !!!!!

    November 25, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. chucky1169469

    wow...the GOP must be in real trouble if she is the best they can do

    November 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. sbp

    What's the point of "energizing your base?" They are voting for your party anyway! The Republicans are always trying to pacify "their base." You never see the Democrats aiming at the far left. Regardless of how the right characterizes the Democratic candidates, they are almost always moderates. Which pulls in the independents. Which makes it all the harder to figure how W. won in 2000 and 2004.

    November 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. andrea from MA

    stop giving him press coverage !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. Phil-Little Rock

    She energized him alright. Him and his loins. Lord knows, that alien xenomorph looking wife of his couldn't do it.

    November 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Chuck

    Truly shows how out of touch McCain and the rest of the GOP is. There divisiveness drove a wedge in this country that won't be repaired for years. The only good thing that came out of this election was that it energized people who are true Americans for equal rights for all, not just for christians.

    November 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. al

    please run Sarah....you are the poster child for what is wrong with Republican politics...and will cause the Overton window to move even more to the left

    November 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Sue

    Senator, if "most Americans viewed Governor Palin as a breath of fresh air", as you say, you would have won. Since you have some time on your hands as you are not planning your inauguration, I suggest you take a few lessons from your failed campaign. Foremost among them: Just because you say something, doesn't make it so. Most Americans viewed Palin as a hate-inciting, moronic, ill-equipped, unprepared, spiteful and race-baiting fool who quite possibly cost you the election.

    Please keep talking her up. I look forward to the Republicans making the same mistake in 2012. The world has changed, and left Karl Rove and his ilk in the dust. Although personally, I can't get enough of her! They can't keep the greatest entertainment of all time up there in Alaska, you betcha!

    November 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. TrueIndependent

    Denial is a state of bliss.

    November 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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