November 12th, 2008
09:11 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain: Palin will play a 'big role' in the future


Watch McCain on Jay Leno Tuesday night.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Tuesday he "couldn't be happier" with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, despite polls suggesting she was a drag on the Republican ticket.

In his first television interview since the election, the Arizona senator said he was proud to have had Palin as his presidential running mate and grateful that she agreed to run.

"She inspired people. She still does. And look, I'm - I couldn't be happier with Sarah Palin. And she's going back to be a great governor, and I think she will play a big role in the future of this country," he told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released the weekend before the election indicated that Palin's unfavorable ratings had doubled since McCain picked her, and 57 percent of Americans believed she didn't have the personal qualities a president needed.

As for the future, the poll indicated that only four in 10 voters would support Palin if she chooses to run for president in 2012. Among Republicans, however, 77 percent said they would support a Palin candidacy in four years.

McCain said Tuesday night that his party "has a lot of work to do," and he predicted that new leaders like Palin would help carry the party into the future.

"I really believe that Sarah Palin is amongst some, like Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, there's a group of young Republican governors and - mainly governors, but also some in the Senate - that I think are the next generation of leadership of our party," he said.

Asked if he'd be up for another presidential run, the 72-year-old senator seemed doubtful.

"I wouldn't think so, my friend," he said. "It's been a great experience, and, you know, we're going to have another generation of leaders come along, and I'll hope that I can continue to contribute."

This was McCain's 14th appearance on "The Tonight Show." The former Navy aviator's appearance was scheduled to coincide with Veterans Day.

Today Alaska Governor Palin sits down for a one on one interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The interview will appear on the Situation Room starting at 4pm ET. Palin will also appear tonight on Larry King Live at 9 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. GARY

    Thats right.She has more guts and experience than Obama and Biden with leadership. Should dont need to con Americans.She has a great track record.

    November 12, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. Will18E

    What the roll of loser part II.

    November 12, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  3. Michael watching from Canada

    Of course John McCain will say positive things regarding Sarah Palin. To do otherwise would be a poor reflection on his judgment.

    November 12, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. Bruce

    personally at his age it is time to retire...

    November 12, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. MEL

    what a hot head says to another hot head??? we're mavericks!!!!!

    November 12, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. Angie-OHIO

    Plz NO MORE palin. EVER. LET THAT PITBULL STAY PUT IN ALASKA. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 12, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. Susan

    Can someone please tell the GOP, and Sarah Palin specifically, that the election is over? And media, can you please stop giving this woman any press? Honestly, give us all a break before the 2012 election.

    November 12, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. Brandon

    Thank you John. You have always been a great leader. We appreciate your service to our country and wish Mrs. Palin the best in the future.

    November 12, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  9. Supreme Court

    I still don't think she is ready for Prime Time!!

    November 12, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. arc, Lugano CH

    Once the dust had settled from her ridiculous convention speech, it was clear that this woman is nothing of a stateswoman; instead nothing more than a rabid clown.

    Folksy winks and flirtations will not win you over educated people of any party affiliation or electorate.

    She appeals only to the ignorant, the bigoted and the ones who are easily swayed by unfounded fear. She serves these people only to justify their small-minded xenophobic and isolationist intellects which are trapped in the 1950s.

    November 12, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. Karen, Arkansas

    Sarah's 15 minutes of fame has expired! Please let the women stay in Alaska! Please NO MORE OF THIS WHINING WOMAN!!!!

    November 12, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. rumpusgoopus

    CNN, What in the world is with your fascination with Palin? This is nothing but tabloid material at this point.

    November 12, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. Thebe

    John, John. Please stop rewinding the tape. Put a new one in!


    November 12, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. Annie

    I don' care what anyone says, from the moment her name was announced, she was ridiculed, belittled and made to look a fool by both the media and the liberal bloggers. Of course the McCain team handled her all wrong in keeping her from the press, but maybe they already had a taste of what they might do to her when within that first 24 hours her son was claimed to be her illegitimate grandson and CNN sent Kyra Phillips up to Alaska shortly afterwards to check out the rumor and John Roberts pondered on TV whether she should take the time away from her family and new baby to be VP and was correctly put in his place by Dana Bash. But the scrutiny and microscope Palin was put under and being held to a different standard than the other three was absolutely shameful.

    November 12, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. katiec

    The republicans would be pretty hard up to resort to someone
    like palin, Lying, distorting, attacking seemed like second nature
    to her She fit right in with the sleezy campaign the republicans
    were running and enjoyed working the crowds into anger,
    fear, hate and distrust. She tried to divide our country.
    If she or politicians like her are what the republicans will have to
    continue to represent them than there is no hope for the party.
    You would think they would learn some lessons.

    November 12, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. Barbara in NC

    Not if a bunch of us can have our way, you old liar.

    November 12, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. Steve from Florida

    McCain continues to disappoint with his commitment to Palin...he must be kidding

    November 12, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. cool onlooker

    Time to retire and enjoy life, grandpa.

    It will be very wise to zip up on any comment on Palin. It is a shame to not admit someone's blunt mistake. Instead, you are still hurting the party. How far can you go?!

    Feel goosebump whenever compliment on Palin...

    November 12, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    I am a Democrat, and I voted Obama, but I have always looked up to Senator McCain and I am an American first. What I have always wanted, and always said should happen in the executive branch, is true coalition government. In order to bring together all sides, I would like P.E. Obama to extend the invitation to Senator McCain to join the Cabinet as Sec. of Defense. I doubt Senator McCain would take it, but he would be a fantastic selection in my estimation. We need all hands on deck during these rough times and we need to bring the best people together to see us through.

    November 12, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. tg

    WHO CARES.....OBAMA2008/2012

    November 12, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. Praetorian

    If recent GOP promotions...and what McCain says is true of "a new generation of GOP leaders" led by a "base qouting" empy vase like Sarah Palin–then we're in for something even scarier than the "Stepford Wives" leading the Republican Party.

    Internet wasn't the secret–but it helped.
    The reason the GOP lost severely–was because the conservative principle of "trickle down" economics has been slowly, painfully, and unquestionably proven wrong. Reagan was wrong, the contract on America was wrong–therefore...a large portiion of the GOP core platform is wrong (at least according to a majority of Americans).

    Too bad the GOP decides to unite behind a plastic facade of conservatism like Palin rather than rethinking the principles of conservative in the current world we leave–what to keep; what to toss out; what to redesign...only by doing so will they reclaim American's hearts and minds.

    November 12, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. Donkey Party

    I will never be able to forgive McCain for using the mantra "Country First" and then picking a VP who could've been the most dangerously underinformed, under-educated, and incompetent running mate ever, so close to the White House. Thanks to Obama and his supporters, disaster averted.

    November 12, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. Pete

    He has to defend her. He decided to have her as his running mate and she's a huge reason the republicans lost. The woman proved she didn't have working brain cells. Now she's having to scramble around and try to convince everyone she's not as stupid as she appeared to be for the 9 weeks she was on the national stage, and her answers to questions are every bit as meandering and nonsensical as they were during the campaign.

    John, you messed up big time. Just admit it and move on.

    November 12, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. Montana Mama

    She needs to go back to grade school to learn the basics...reading, writing/speaking, social studies, ethics, science...then attend a real university and earn a degree that enriches her brain...then hope and pray that the 65 MILLION people who voted against her, get amnesia...

    November 12, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  25. She's the "Thrilla from Wasilla"

    Never underestimate Sarah Barracuda-she always wins in the end-
    Mayor, Governor with the highest approval rating in the U.S., Member Alaskan Energy and Conservation Board, candidate for VP-all by the age of 44 and all while raising 5 kids-

    Let all you men and women who criticize her put your resumes on the Ticker next to hers–

    And by the way, she's also gorgeous.

    November 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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