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. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I think McCain's choice of Palin was a mistake given the wonderful people he could have chosen e.g. Kaye Baily Hutchinson (Texas) or Christie Todd Whitman (NJ), Susan Collins (M). Palin may be effective at local government but NOT at the National level.

    November 12, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Dr. Sam

    The greatest danger Palin faces is the inability to know that she does not know! Even in her recent flurry of interviews, she revealed a big and gaping scope of ignorance. Just check out Keith Olbermann show of Novemeber 11, 2008 where many of her gaps in knowledge were exposed. Much of the the media–including more conspicuously Greta Vansestran, CBS Morning show, CNN's Situation Room, and of course Fox News, have failed to call her attention to the incorrect information she was glibbly mouthing and spouting. Instead, I get a sense that they simply want to provide a sounding board to Palin as their next spuerheroine. That is not journalism at its best. Some have even implied that being a beauty queen or a "charmer" is enough qualification for election to the highest office in the land. God save us from lazy journalists unwilling and unable to do their homework! Lazy journalists cannot be true sentinels of freedom in a democracy. The likes of Maurine Dowd, Keith Olbermann, Larry King and CBS's Katie Curic are well ahead of the pack in their more critical and knowledge-based approach to journalism. I applaud their effort to inform us as well as broaden our perspective!

    November 12, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. Angela

    HE STILL DON'T GET IT or IS HE LIKE HER???????????????

    November 12, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. Frank

    Hearing Mccain and Palin speak is like chewing tin foil. I wish to god they would both shut up and go away.

    November 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. NYer

    It doesnt matter what McCain thinks, he lost. What does matter is that Palin is now a popular choice for 2012. Go Sarah !!

    Sarah – The liberals will say horrible things because you scare them to death!! God forbid someone should have morals, respect life and be a woman at the same time!! Pay no attention to the leftist zelots on here or anywhere, they will soon regret BARRY and 65 million people will have 65 million regrets!!!

    Sarah Palin 2012 !!!!!

    November 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Greg, NY


    Actually Bill Maher didn't say that, Paul Begala did, but doesn't change the fact that the statement is true. Just giving credit where credit is due.

    November 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Minnie

    Old news. Game over McCain-Palin. There are much bigger issues to address.

    November 12, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Seattle Sue

    If McCain thinks Palin was such a wonderful pick for VP, why has it taken a week for him to defend her? I just hope both of these "mavericks" are put out to pasture.

    November 12, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Gloria - Minnesota

    I cannot imagine anyone still supporting Sarah Palin contributing to anything in this country, whether it be her current governship, a Senate seat, or of all things, the Presidency. It must be the most strident, social conservatives in the base who continue to support this train wreck!!

    A Palin in the administration of our great land would be the ulitmate disaster!! Let's enjoy the prospects we now have for the at least the next 4 years of change and hope for our country! Focus needs to be on uniting behind Pres. Elect Obama and Vice-Pres. Elect Biden to move forward! Must we speculate immediately after such a long, bitter, draining campaign about who may sit in the oval office in 2012? Instead of hope, the very thought of Sarah Palin sends chills down my spine!!

    November 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. Retired USN, Norfolk VA

    We don't need a racist to run for president

    November 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. P. D.

    McCain made a HUGE mistake picking Palin. The woman can't even say anytihng coherant. She drives me nuts.

    November 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. Lewis

    Obama hasn't even been sworn in yet. Come on people how about we worry about 2008 and the huge list of things that will need to be fixed in order to make it to the election in 2012. This isn't a TV show, its real life!!! Please join in.

    November 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. Liberal and proud of it!

    Why is anybody surprised? Republicans all have two things in common:
    1.They are incapable of admitting a mistake .
    2.They are incapable of taking responsibilty for their mistakes.
    (A major short in their wiring I guess.)

    November 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Elizabeth

    Get rid of that stupid woman!!! I cannot even comprehend how anyone could consider that ignorant hick, Palin, for a top poltical position!!! She is so obnoxious!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. worriedmom

    You know for all you Liberals that lives to have peace, harmony and a perfect world, you don't live by your so called beliefs. All I have seen from you is nasty comments, racial slurs and nothing positive toward people that don't agree with your thoughts. I think John McCain is a fine person, he lost and I have gotten over it. I think Sarah Palin does have a future. I think what it really comes down to, is that you guys are scared of her and the only way you can express it is to be bullies! Sara may become the STAR that you made your beloved Obama become. I hope and pray he does a good job, because i really don't relish the thought of having to tell you "TOLD YOU SO"

    November 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Give me a break in Dom Rep

    Sarah Palin? Look at Geraldine Ferraro, now, a has-been, as Palin will become as well. For the sake of keeping Dems in power to clean up the Bush Cheney mess, I hope she's a part of 2012, because she is emblematic of how lost the GOP really is these days.

    November 12, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. Mohamed from Virgina

    I will Vote for Sara Palin 2012

    November 12, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Aaron from Ohio

    We can only hope she runs. She and McCain dug the grave for the republicans and the voters shoveled the dirt on top. All Sarah has to do now is run again so that we can sow the ground with salt. What part of "We don't want you" doesn't she understand?

    November 12, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Joe in MN

    It's true. She has 4 years to go back to college!

    November 12, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. MD, TX

    Amazing. Even as President-Elect, the press still gives a harder-edge interview to the losing candidates than the winning candidate.

    The Press/Obama love-fest continues.

    November 12, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. ts mpls, mn

    I see I will be avoiding cnn today. Larry King and Wolf Blitzer need to get the point that Palin didn't win the election. Obama did. And no one wants to here from the ditz in Alaska anymore.

    November 12, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Eleanor

    I think there was more of a possibility he would have won without
    She incited too much hatred and negativity at her rallies
    the republicans need to realize that is one reason why they all went down!!
    The american people are fed up with that and want to hear about the issues NOT how bad the other guy is!
    Palin is only in the limelight now because the *media is focused* on her and she eats it up.Most of the american people want her gone...out of the picture!!!.An interview with vice-president elect Joe biden would be nice right now and how he feels about being elected

    November 12, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. Susie

    IRREGARDLESS is NOT a is regardless, that is it...

    November 12, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. Russell Hammond

    John WHO?

    November 12, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  25. edd

    Do these people like McCain truly and honestly believe that such a dimwit has any future role outside Alaska?

    November 12, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12