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. Carole

    Good luck, Senator McCain. I have always admired Senator McCain. Did not vote for him, but still admire how he does care about this country. He is a true American.

    **Sorry, but when Sarah thought the VP ran the senate, she lost me. You can't overcome that faux pas. She will never live down her answers.

    November 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. John in Houston

    Defending her is really defending his poor choice for his VP. He cannot admit that he ruined his own chances by choosing a completely unprepared, divisive and polarizing figure who still lives in the middle ages.

    November 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. PS from Tennessee

    Please give normal people with a brain a break about Palin. She is so UNDER qualified to be a VP. I agree that Bobby Jindal will be a strong GOP contender because he is QUALIFIED AND SMART!

    Palin's train left the depot and she missed i!

    November 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Margi

    I wish McCain would have told us he really feels about Palin so it would drive her off of our airwaves.

    He gave a gracious speech on election night.

    November 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Senility is no excuse, Sen. McCain. Sarah Palin simply doesn't have what it takes to be a national leader. She is far too provincial, much too impulsive, has nowhere near enough historical or geographical knowledge, and is far too divisive. Even her political methodology and administrative ability are subpar. All she has is self-centered ambition, and quality leadership demands infinitely more than that. This country (and even the state of Alaska) deserve much, much better. God help the Republican Party if she is allowed to climb its ladder!

    November 12, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Michael

    I, for one, would have voted for John McCain had he chosen Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee as his running mate. Mr. McCain continues to claim his support for Palin, even after she has been exposed as a liar, a thief and incompetent for the position of Vice-President. Her knowledge of politics, at home and abroad appears to be at the level of a sophomore year high school student with aspirations of going to college and majoring in political science. McCain's continued irresponsible behavior adds credibility to my choice in voting for the great Sen. Obama.

    November 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Tim in NC

    What else is he going to say?

    McCain has somethingto lose by blasting Palin, his aides do not. Thus, I'd listen to them more than his "spin".

    November 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. chris24

    He's still lying for the team.

    She lost the election for him, so, now she's the leader?

    When will this morons learn?
    He picks Hagel, he wins.

    Lie before the election, lie after.
    Go Republicans, back to obscurity
    for another 8 years.

    Go Bama!

    November 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  9. chuck

    I don't know what John McCain is smoking or is he telling Americans the facts?--Sarah Palin is going to be a great Govenor. That is FUTURE TENSE-–SO IS McCAIN IMPLYING that Sarah Palin is not as good as most Americans believe right now. Sorry John McCain,let me give you some STRAIGHT TALK . YOU MADE A HUGE MISTAKE ON YOUR VP PICK,SO FACE UP TO THE FACTS OF LIFE. Sarah Palin will only be great in her own KITCHEN or BEDROOM and NOWHERE ELSE.

    November 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Salt

    I just wish she would go away. Also.

    November 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. Doug R.

    She may or may not play a big role in the GOP's future. The Republican party is in a meltdown, dysfunctional, and lacking any real leadership. As of right now, Palin is a walking talking mumbling bumbling idiot. The majority of people have an favorable opinion of her.

    November 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Hopeful for Tomorrow

    Please don't let her run in 2012. There are other, more reasonable, candidates who -don't- incite the crowd to near violent levels.

    November 12, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. Herman In LA

    Say it isn’t so Charlie

    November 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  14. norb

    John McCain lost bigtime because of his judgement in picking Sarah Palin. To defend that she is qualified to somehow be the president of the United States or be a player in the Republican party,shows just how out of touch he is. If the Republican party really thinks that Sarah Palin is there future. Then the Democrat's will be laughing and dancing for many years to come. She doesn't appeal to most woman, most hispanics and most black's. She can't even make a complete sentence that makes sense! If she's the future of the Republican party, then I'll guess I'll put my name in the hat for Secretary General of the United Nations.

    November 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. Carol McCain is the REAL Hero

    John is right....

    Sarah Palin will have a big role in the future of politics... TO REMIND others just what NOT to look for in a VP pick... Stay away from extreme right wing idiology.. Extreme..!!

    Sarah Palin was a disgrace to the future of politics and was disrespectful and hateful in her rallies..

    America showed her what we want in an American leader... and she aint it..!!

    John your judgment of VP pick was wrong... and that will be the take-away for the future of politics..!


    November 12, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. LyonsPhilly

    Aaaaah stuttering Sarah.....I wonder if the Alaskan Dude follows her to the bathroom too...He loves to hover....Nice of McCain to say nice things about Sarah but I'm sure he's sick of her and really upset with himself for picking her as a running mate.

    I think McCain is going to be okay.....

    November 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. Joyce in Florida

    With all due respect to John McCain, I think it would be a good thing if we never hear about Sarah Palin again. We have already seen that she has no experience to even think about running in 2012. I want to laugh my socks off at that one. Are you serious?!?!?! Of course the Republicans would welcome her chance in 2012. They want to get back into the White House but I am hoping that Obama will serve 2 terms. It will probably take at least that long to fix the MESS the Republicans made in our country. It was done before by Bill Clinton and I believe it will be done again, but it will be much harder now since the deficit is way off the charts compared to what it was when Bill Clinton took office. Also, have to fix the wars and economy MESS as well. I blame this Administration and I am sooooo glad that we Americans finally made our decision for the BEST candidate. That IS Barack Obama!!!!! Signed, a Hillary Clinton supporter proud of my vote for Obama.

    November 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. AL

    What is the poor man going to say? "There's no fool like an old fool"..
    He listened to the RNC instead of doing what HE wanted to do and now in the end he is the one that has to swollow his pride.

    November 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. k price

    Palin was unqualified for the VP position and the voters knew it. Period, end of story.

    November 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Sarah Barracuda: 44 Years Old and A Star

    The media and the public cannot get enough of Sarah Palin,

    She was on the losing side but she's on TV now more than anyone-
    Greta Van Susteren, Larry King, NBC Today Show, Wof Blitzer tonight on the Situation Room--Oprah and the View to come.

    Why? She's got STAR POWER.

    And by the way, did I mention she's also one of the most beautiful 44 year olds with 5 kids to walk the planet?

    November 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is good that McCain is picking up from the end of the campaign. It is sad that he doesn't realize that Palin still doesn't have the understanding, knowledge and national/international experience to deal with all of the aspects of being president. If she runs on her own, she will be toast by anyone. She is alot like George W. Bush and Dan Quayle - don't really know enough to be president because the job really requires some intelectual curiosity. She never seemed like she would be willing to learn, and that frightens me.

    November 12, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. Christopher

    That goes to show you how much McCain is willing to lie. Palin was a terrible pick and the world simply wants her to GO AWAY!!! Palin is a say anything do anything to win type of person. We dont need that in leaders.

    November 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. patriot

    I think McCain is a reasonably intelligent man. So I can only conclude that his pride and stubborness are the reasons he will not admit that his failed hail-mary was a collossal mistake.

    November 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  24. legare

    Palin is she still here?

    November 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  25. jason

    pin your hopes for the party on palin if you want to, but palin is too far to the right and in 4 years people will not have forgotten that. even if they do, the media will remind us.

    November 12, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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