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. slack al san diego

    please stay in the public eye and become the embodiment of Republican idiocy...I think they need to pick that nutcase Dobson as her VP and then they can be the new rightwing theocrat party

    November 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. roy

    Like the Republicans ignored the electoral count on election night at McCain's rally once they were down, so they ignore that almost 60% of people polled think Palin does NOT have the qualities to be President.
    Remember Bush's logic: "If you keep repeating it, it MUST be true!!" Looks like more of the same.....if they keep repeating that Palin will be a 'force'.....does that make it so?

    Palin also has four years to grant interviews...and we know how THAT goes!

    November 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Tim

    Do you honestly think that experienced candidates like Romney and the gang are going to let her emerge with power? They will be taking her down faster than you can drop a wolf from a helicopter.

    November 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. jane

    If Sarah Palin is the next, new leadership for the republican party, then the democrats have a bright future. The republican party is living in the dark ages. Abortion and gay rights are not the only so-called "moral" issues in the world. Poverty, greed, war, child care, heath care, environment ... just to name a few, are also issues that need your full and undivided attention. And you are no where to be found on these issues of morality. Shame on the republican party. They do not represent the real America. They are a lost party. The past 8 years have been a disaster and they have no solutions for our future, except to ban abortion and prevent gay and lesbians from seeking civil rights. Oh and low taxes. Wow. How valiant.

    November 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Gringo

    I'm curious at all of you that say she is under-qualified to be President. Obama certainly doesnt have a long lengthy track record of foreign and domestic affairs as a one term senator. Regan was a governor after his only. Clinton was only a governor, Bush Jr a lush and a governor also.

    Fact is other than someone that has been in national politics, than a VP no one is really more or less qualified to be President. Brains and common sense are not a guiding factor either it seems.

    We are stuck electing the lesser of two evils as long as we continue with a two party system.

    November 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Ann

    Palin needs an education not a presidential run !
    palin needs an education not a presidential run !

    She need s to understand how she is percieved by smart Americans and move along ! she is a dumb woman !

    November 12, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. reggie

    McCain has said and it is clear when you see them together that he adores her. He has no regrets about choosing her for VP. In fact, he has introduced her to the nation. He will be remember as the man who helped launch her career to President of the United States.
    Palin 2012!!!

    November 12, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. bob

    Who cares about Palin. Time for Americans to live their lives.The media should like Americans alone now after that painful election!!1

    November 12, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    To CNN and Everyone else:

    Sarah Palin is like Paris Hilton. If you stop talking and reading about her, she will go away. She does not have the ability to stay on the national stage due to what she has "accomplished" and she has to keep this gossip about their campaign going to stay relevant.

    This is going to be my last time reading an article about her and posting her name. Join me and she will go away, I promise.

    November 12, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Matt

    The entire GOP has gone compeltely daft. Are they really so arrogant and narrow-minded that they can't admit she's a walking, babbling, fountain of stupid and that it would be a giant mistake to put her in a prominent position in their party?


    November 12, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. William A. Schaedler from St. Louis

    What does it take to be a president of this country? Minimum acting ability and a good line of B.S. Starting with Clinton, that's all we've been receiving.

    November 12, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Jim L.

    Enough about this woman, already! You'd think she had won. What is the fascination with someone who had convinced most people by the time of the election that she was not qualified to be President (or even vice president). Can we please move on to another Flavor of the Week?

    November 12, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. Catherine

    CNN Thanks for letting me know when Palin will be on. I plan on changing the channel. I am a couch potato CNN viewer but too much Palin for me. I do what can be done - CHANGE THE CHANNEL

    November 12, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Southern Yankee

    How is Sarah Palin travelling now? private jet? Alaska to Miami must be at least $50,000. r/t in jet fuel – who is paying for her and her entourage now? the RNC, the good people of Alaska or some Republican fat cat? Please – somebody give her a talk show and get her out of any future Presidential Campaigns!!

    November 12, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. rtg

    It's obvious Palin was a horrible choice. Choosing a woman was a good idea, but he should have done his homework and chosen a more intelligent, experienced running mate. Unfortunately, for him, at his age, this was a one-shot deal and he blew it.

    November 12, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Seattle Sue

    I watched McCain on the Tonight Show and it seem as though he is still campaigning. I almost choked when he told Leno what a clean campaign he and Palin had run. The only campaign that was dirtier was GEORGE W. BUSH four years ago with the Swift Boat ads against John Kerry.

    November 12, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Stupid is as stupid does


    If I hear that idiot Palin speak one more time, I will climb to the top of the tallest skyscraper, douse myself with gasoline, set myself on fire, jump, and while i'm falling, shoot myself in the head with a teflon coated, hollow point, 9 mm bullet. and hope to land on someones picket fence when I hit the ground.

    November 12, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Proud American

    CNN, please stop giving Palin so much publicity! We all know how much Campbell Brown loves the woman, but that's 1 vs millions of us who hate her!!

    We don't want her to run our country, we don't want her anywhere near the public sector down here in the mainland! She is conniving, evil, scheming, and ambitious! She thinks that man and dinosaurs walked the earth together!!


    November 12, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. David

    What on earth is CNN's obsession with Palin all about?!?

    She was in the second spot on the losing side of the election MORE THAN A WEEK AGO. Many people, myself included, think she was part of the reason McCain lost.

    I think the twice-daily updates on every thought that crosses her mind are way over the top.

    Idea: interview the people WHO WON THE ELECTION and will actually be in office come January. What they think is much more important.

    November 12, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. ran

    Palin is one of many reasons of whats wrong with the Republican party. Hate/fear/exclusiveness/right wring singleminded agenda are a few more.

    November 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Quiet Conservative

    It seem like Gov. Palin still scares the libs and the biased media. How funny is that... Why don't you guys concentrate on your train wreck pick for president? Oh wait, that would require some scrutiny and possibley some good journalism... Hmmm... I guess that won't happen.

    November 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Illinois mom

    Oh my gosh – the left must really be concerned about Sarah to still be name calling! That just warms my heart. Only confirms that Sarah has a strong future if she can put up with such nonsense from our liberal friends.

    November 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. dave

    I'll add my voice to the choir of Democrats: PLEASE run in 2012, Sarah!

    November 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. Bluv

    It is amazing that she would barely do an interview BEFORE the elction when people wanted to get a chance to feel comfortable and now she is doing interview after interview; UNBELIEAVBLE! To me it is the same as during the election: CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE GET THIS LADY OFF MY TV?

    November 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Becky

    Sure, have Palin run in 2012 so that Obama can have a second term.

    November 12, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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