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. Sean

    So if 1 in 4 voters support her to run in 2012, and 77% of Republicans also support her in four years, that puts GOP voter numbers really low, doesn't it?

    November 12, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. Dexter Skagway

    Spin, spin, spin. McCain just cannot admit any mistake, like Generalissimo Bush, whose regrets were some things he said . . . as if an unjust and unwinnable war, a devastated economy, a concentration camp, a policy of torture, shriveled civil rights, and all that other stuff which put Obama in office were not regrettable.

    November 12, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. April

    He should tell that to the other Republicans who are doing their best to not let this happen.

    November 12, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. BTGH, Streamwood, IL

    If Sarah Palin has a big future in the Republican Party, then the GOP does not have a big future with me and my vote.

    Sarah Palin is the primary reason that I did not vote Republican this year. The GOP needs to get away from the far right extremists like Palin, Huckabee etc.

    I am hoping that leaders like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindhal can restore the Republican Party to its core values of fiscal responsibility and working for the good of the country and not the party.

    Country First – not Politics First.

    November 12, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  5. GA Independent

    "...she will play a big role in the future of this country..." as the female equivalent of Dan Quayle. The thing is, Quayle was just dumb. She is dumb AND dangerously "base". Let's hope we've had enough of her by now.

    Wolf – couldn't you just let it go?

    November 12, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. b

    The election is over...enough already and let's get back to work!!!!

    November 12, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  7. CanIcallyouJoe

    Sarah Palin is a joke.

    She is inexperienced, cannot handle the easiest questions asked of her by the press, has a less than questionable religion, abuses her power in office, does not know basic and integral things needed to govern, has questionable knowledge of elementary geography, has been proven a hypocrite regarding her stances on pro-life, family values, and the "working man's problems", and she calls Barack Obama a "celebrity" when she is still showing up on news rags even after her astounding defeat and rejection.

    I would not let Sarah Palin manage a lemonade stand, much less a country. How she is still employed as governor is beyond me.

    This is not sexist. Just because she is a woman doesn't mean she isn't a moron. Idiots come in every shape, sex, and religion.

    November 12, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. MG

    I like the idea of Jindal as a leader. He seems very smart. They really need smarter, less partisan, more focused people leading the party.

    November 12, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. Georgia Gal

    Even if he does regret it (and honestly irregardless of what he says I don't know how he could not) I doubt he would ever admit it.

    November 12, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. mary, colorado springs

    This question is a no-brainer. McCain cannot say anything but continue to defend his choice. She proved she wasn't ready for the VP job, and there is nothing to indicate she will be any more qualified in 2012. Projecting possibilities of her running in 2012 this far ahead is asinine, and presupposes the fact she may not wish/be able to run.

    Only the conditions in 2012 with give the answer.

    November 12, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Charles

    In defending Palin, he is really defending his decision to select her. Not only is she unqualified, but she appears to be lacking in ability to communicate effectively or to think logically. She doesn't believe in science and is religious to a fault. The Republicans will never again occupy the Whitehouse unless they move away from their base and their extremist views.

    November 12, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. former gop

    REALLY? McCain, did you learn nothing from your ridiculous choice of Palin? I was going to vote for you until I saw what poor judgment you have. Until I was kept up at night terrified of the possibility of her having to step in for you. I honestly think dementia is setting in. See a geriatric doctor, McCain.

    November 12, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. pat C.

    i would never vote for a bumbkin like sarah palin. this country needs smart people not dumb idiots running the most powerful office in the land. she is a joke and other countries would laugh at us. look how they feel about us now. NO WAY ON PALIN.

    November 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. mayah

    she has potential , but is obviously lacking in education, the two needs to cmpliment each other..

    November 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Chuck


    November 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Beth

    Will they ever just go away? I am so sick of Palin, mavericks, and "my friends". The idea that Palin can even think about 2012 makes my skin crawl. And, if you saw the Tonight Show last night and watched his expressions when talking about Palin...I'd love to know what he REALLY thinks. Honestly, I think the Republicans were screwed no matter who would have run with McCain...but, I think his choice of Palin just sealed the deal that much more.

    As much as I don't want to hear from her, I'll be watching her interviews today with Wolf and Larry. She's like a train wreck you can't help but watching.

    November 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. Mark from Houston

    Let's change the phrase "open a can of worms" to single: "open a can of A WORM". John, I don't know how you can still be so happy after you have opened a can of A WORM.

    November 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Jose Seixas

    Funny.. Now she has "time" for interviews??

    November 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Valarie in Ohio

    The lights are on but no one appears to be in the building. McCain has to save face at this stage. He sank his own career and hopes of becoming the president by selecting an unqualified candidate to be his running mate. Sarah should bow out gracefully, which she wont. She should go back to school and learn more about politics, which se wont. She should focus on Alaska and her children because clearly they need her more than America....and of course she wont.

    November 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Susan

    Enough of Palin already! Good grief! She wouldn't speak to the media while running for national office, now she won't stop! What's up with this woman? After the negative and sleazy campaign she ran, she will NEVER receive a vote from me and I really am not interested in hearing anymore from her. Enough already!

    November 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. J

    I really hope so... It will make things much easier for the Democrats b/c that woman is about as smart as a big of hammers.

    November 12, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Support the Prez Elect

    Wait, so Americans said she was a drag on the McCain ticket, but yet 77% of Republicans will support her in four years for President?? That makes a LOT of sense.

    I'm sorry, Palin is not smart, and I do not see how she has ANY support. I mean look at her, she's back home offering interview after interview. All that she's interested in being is a DIVA, not a president. We don't need that running the country.

    November 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. maynard hopkins wi



    November 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. R White

    I am a Republican and so is my husband and we both voted for Obama. Why? First Mc Cain was too old and second, Palin! If the Republican party cannot do better than Gov. Palin, then it has not learned anything from this year's loss. We need a QUALIFIED candidate for President, a more moderate candidate, not someone who is stapled to the right side of the party and will not move a inch. Please younger and smarter!

    November 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  25. bottom line

    Good ole' John Mccain... tisk tisk tisk... One has to wonder... When its all said and done, what exactly will be his legacy?

    November 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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