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. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    he's still an old fool.... Palin was and is a disaster

    November 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. pam Eugene OR

    A little late for the hard interviews for Palin. Who cares now?

    November 12, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. sbkilb Ct

    It was great to hear that the fervent quest for President is over for mccain! I guess THIS TIME it finally sunk in that the American people just never wanted him as President.I'm hoping he will retire soon and disappear into the Arizona sunset. As for Palin PLEASE GET HER OFF THE AIRWAVES!!!! She doesn't get it yet that her brand of politics is over! The MAJORITY of people did not think she was qualifies to be vp... she thinks she'll be ready in 4 years? I don't think so...DAMAGE DONE!!!

    November 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Mike in Columbus

    If Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican party (which I honestly hope she is not), then their future looks pretty bleak.

    November 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Spencer/VA

    I don't know what future he's talking about. That lady doesn't hae a future in presidential politics. She was a political sideshow phony. Let her stick to what she know's best, being a corrupt politician. What's in the water up there in Alaska?

    November 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Phil-Little Rock

    President Palin? Only if it's for the Hockey Moms and Moose Shootin' Society of Alaska.

    November 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. patriot

    Aside from her political leanings, this woman has been plainly revealed as sorely lacking in knowledge (and even curiousity) of the world around her, willing to use her office to right petty, personal wrongs, and unapologetic about using tax dollars for her family's personal benefit. And 77% of Republicans would support Palin in future elections?? I thought Republicans were supposed to be the party of rock-hard high standards, of excellence, of shunning mediocrity. I challenge any of these 77% who are not uneducated right-wing nuts to explain why they would support her, without using the rationale of "she's like us", or "I'd like to have a beer with her". What is it you see in her that I am missing?

    November 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. josh

    I applaud John McCain for being a stand up person about this whole situation but it was obvious Sarah Palin knew they weren't going to win the election and started looking out for her own personal interests before the election even started. She should be ashamed of herself for acting the way she is now considering she wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for John McCain and I would never vote/support her in any form or fashion.

    November 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. JOHN

    McCain is a liar! The only reason he's talking like this is because he knows this dingbat is going to run again! What a world this is for someone as incompetent and just plain dumb to actually be in the spotlight in the political field like this!! It would be funny if it were'nt so scary!!! This party has stooped to its lowest form!

    November 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Remus

    I quote Bill Maher "Only 60% of Republicans want Palin to run for President, but 100% of us Democrats want her to run". It would just ensure the re-election of Obama. You betcha.........

    November 12, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. John, Encino, California

    This is why John McCain could never be President. What Sarah Palin did was inspire hatred, suspicion, and anger, mostly among the hardcore base of the Republican Party, which clearly was not enough to get McCain elected. The fact that he now has no misgivings about her selection speaks volumes about his judgment and where his loyalties lie– with ideology rather than the country. The irony is that if McCain had picked a qualified running-mate, we might be talking to Barack Obama right now about his regrets, rather than McCain. The bigger the role Sarah Palin plays in the future of the Republican Party, the smaller the turnout will be for Republican candidates in the future.

    November 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Liberated!

    Let's give Palin her 15 mins. so she can get it all out of her system and she can finally go back to Alaska to secede, and we won't have to hear about her again.

    America still see's her as a racist, devisive, fear mongering, conniving liar! Both she, John McBush and the rest of the Republicans thought America was still in that old south, Jim Crow state of mind..... but learnt the hard way that America had grown up and moved beyond that kind of hate.

    They have no one to blame but themselves.....I hope the Republican party never makes a comeback.....I absolutely hate and is in fear of their platform!

    November 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Red, North Carolina

    Oh, he's such a liar. You're smarter than that Senator. I'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU, Senator McCain, for bringing this profoundly uneducated, unqualified, polarizing, lying delusional hate spewing woman to the forefront of American politics. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO OUR COUNTRY?? We do NOT need another person to divide and polarize our country in these critical times! We will now, unfortunately, be dealing with *6 colleges in 6 years delusions of grandeur Sarah* into the foreseeable future – thanks to YOU and you "Mavricky" ways. Thanks a lot.

    November 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Randall in Burbank, CA - I Went to the Leno Show- Pssst, What you didn't see on the show

    I took my family to the Tonight Show yesterday. My wife and I had front row seats on the side near the stage and Cindy McCain sat two rows behind us directly behind my wife in the audience. My daughter sat directly in front of the stage and noticed the word charts that the stage manager is constantly writing on to get Jay's attention. One of the questions written for Jay was for him to ask McCain "if he thinks Sara Palin is a Diva?" Jay never asked the question, however, maybe because he didn't notice the small sign. Anyway, it was fun. The audience had many Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and maybe some Army personnel too. It was a good Veterean's day show. But, more importantly, Obama is the President elect and Biden is going to be the VP. Thank God, America voted correctly this time and hopefully the next 8 years Obama can serve two terms and straighten this mess out that Bush left in his wake.

    November 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Spencer/VA

    Please let her run in 2012. That will be a democratic victory in the bag.

    November 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Tom in Delaware

    Palin will be a huge fixture in politics for 2012. The 77% of Republicans that support her now will only increase as the Obama administration has to actually DO something rather than just talk about it with beautiful prose.

    The best part is that the Liberal Left are terrified of her and will shamelessly attack her without regard for the truth because she is the embodiment of living a life based on principles and selflessness rather than rationalization and selfishness.

    November 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Mark

    I do believe he has some regrets over this decision. If Palin is the new face of the republican party, with all of her social issue baggage, they are going to find themselves as the minority party for some time. I am fine with that!

    November 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    PLEASE.......PLEASE..........CNN..........STOP WITH THE ARTICLES ON PALIN............59% .........OF AMERICANS........DO..........NOT..........LIKE......THE .........WOMAN!

    November 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. Bret

    What else can the man say? It's extremely obvious that he picked the most unqualified VP candidate in American political history. For him to say it would only confirm his poor judgment. All this talk of Palin in 2012 must be music to the ears of Democrats. The woman is an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

    November 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. joe

    The office of the President of The United States of America cannot be won by winking, showing legs, and attempting to be sexy. Those qualities are for beauty pagents. Sex appeal was not what the country was looking for in a president. Beauty simply cannot take the place of brains.

    November 12, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. Dave in Houston

    She was a disaster to his campaign. Until she came along he could always claim how much more experience he had than Obama (and that would work with some people), but then he chose, or got stuck with, Palin who had even less experience. That advantage McCain had was instantly erased.

    She outshone him and that emphasized how old and tired he really was by contrast.

    She also catered to the far right wing, but the race was won with moderates and independents. She ended up driving a lot of them into the Obama camp, making his election even more inclusive and powerful.

    She was a cheap stunt that backfired and ruined the illusion that McCain was trying to project that he was a wise and steady hand. Sarah Palin has no future except for in Alaska and in the deep south. Her views are out of touch with the American middle. I hope the GOP runs her in '12 - it'll be a whopping landslide for Obama's re-election.

    November 12, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Rob Johnson

    If those numbers hold true, the 2012 Presidential campaign is easy to predict.

    Forget 77%, if Palin can get 51% of Republicans, she will be the GOP nominee in 2012.

    And she will get roughly 40% of the vote against Obama, who will win in a landslide bigger than the one last week.

    The other day, Rush Limbaugh said on his show that the 20% of Republicans who think Palin is a liability to the party should basically go and join the Democratic Party because they are not "true conservatives." If the GOP nominates Palin in 2012, that is exactly what they will do.

    Republicans, think about this before you bury your party for years. While I am not a Republican, I do think it's healthy for the country to have a strong and robust opposition party. If you hitch your wagon to Sarah Palin, you will be in the wilderness for a long, long time, and not only the GOP, but the USA will suffer as a result.

    November 12, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Eric

    Yes, Senator McCain "Palin inspires people."
    But who does she inspire? And what does she inspire them to do?
    I would submit that she inspires the very most socially conservative folks in the US. and that she inspires them to parrot her negative, narrow, less inclusive view of America, inspires them to believe that they are "pro America" and others are not. That they are "patriots" and others are not. This, of course, has been proven tired and false. And if Palin tries to run in 2012 on the same red meat, fear mongering, close-minded platform, she will find herself even more glaringly a relic of the past and not part of this country's great future.

    November 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Barbara

    At least the senator is nice when speaking about the Governor since they lost the election.

    November 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Tone

    Too bad the old McCain got lost in the GOP sauce.

    November 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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