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. deb0155

    To Bruce: Your comment was:

    "personally at his age it is time to retireā€¦"

    With what our government (both Republicans and Democrats) and Wall Street have done to the American people – McCain is the future of working people! You will see many, many more 70+ year old people working full time because they won't be able to afford retirement. And, no thanks to Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Great oversight people!

    November 12, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. BKrause

    For one who inspired so much hate, anger, and nastiness, cultural and historical illiteracy, if that is what this country wants as our representative, a vote for Palin is a vote for those values. But I would think that the last 8 years have etched deep into the American soul the sense that those values don't work...unless, of course, we favor that kind of rapture.

    November 12, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Jeremy

    Ron Paul should be the face of the revitalized Republican Party.
    p.s. "irregardless" is a word, and it is interchangable with "regardless"

    November 12, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. AD

    Playin' a big role, you betcha! Makin' sure them Dems stay in office!

    The more she talsk now, the less of her we'll hear later.

    November 12, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Tylenol666

    My GOld Fish Susi is Ready in 2012 ,,she has more experience floating,,, she will bring the floating party together! I mean the GOP

    Vote Susi / 2012 !!

    November 12, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. pat napolitano

    Mc Cain was a gentleman on Leno....Palin has not stopped being a pit bull. What an ego this woman has. She has not stopped blaming, finger pointing, moaning since the election and yet says she is only interested in being the governor of Alaska. She has walked away from that long ago and has had a taste of Washington and wants more. If the republican party puts her up in 2012, they will lose as she is part of the reason they lost this year. If they wanted her in the v.p. job, Mc Cain would be the pres. elect now. Take a hint, Sarah.

    November 12, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. Jim D

    The old man really is going senile, if he thinks airhead barbie dolls like Palin are going to be leading anything in the future. There are PLENTY of capable, smart, inspiring Republican/Conservative women, and Palin is just not one of them.

    The sooner Republicans realize that Palin, while inspiring to the fringes of the Conservative movement, will AT BEST attract ~35% or ~40% of voters leading to a sure defeat, AGAIN, the sooner they will retool and catch up to mainstream America.

    I guess two election azz-whoopin's in a row still isn't enough to get Conservatives to see the light of day. Have fun getting whooped again in 2012.

    November 12, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. SHELLI13

    I guess Gov. Palin will make a big diff. walking the Republicans on the Bridge To NoWhere! And take them on through the Alaska pipeline that has not truly started yet. It's like taking a long walk on a short peer. You-all get my drift!

    November 12, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    As one of Palin's supporters stated "Palin needs more education". Palin has skated by without any education and that's one reason she didn't know of a VP.

    November 12, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Tired of W, OH

    CNN, the election is OVER. Stop focusing on the losers. You're like my neighbor who has yet to take down his McCain yard sign. Let's move on!

    November 12, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. BS not Maverick

    Unfortunatly the GOP does no longer appeal to the majority of the Voting populus. There will be many, many more losess in the years to come.

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

    CNN, your viewers are getting SICK of your obsession with
    You headlined her during the campaign more than all the
    other candidates put together.
    Your republicans did not win. Get over it. We have.

    November 12, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Linell, Winter Park, FL

    If Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican party then God help the Republican will cease to exist. McCain has his head buried in the sand refusing to see or admit that he made a mistake...a common Republican foible.

    November 12, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Gracie

    The REPUGS just don't get it, do they?






    If Republicans think about "using" her in 4 more years as their Presidential nominee, they are in for another BIG SPANKING!!! Sarah Palin, is like a nicely wrapped gift box, she's pretty to look at, but has NO SUBSTANCE and NO INTELLIGENCE. She "babbles" a lot and she continues to hold these "press conferences and interviews" which ONLY show her to be totally CLUELESS on all levels.

    GOV. SARAH PALIN DOES NOTHING BUT "RAMBLES" ON AND ONE AND YET NEVER ANSWERS A DOG-GONE QUESTIONS DIRECTLY!!!! She's a journalist and it shows.... she needs to learn how to KEEP HER MOUTH SHUT and KEEP HER ANSWERS SHORT AND TO THE POINT!!! Anything outside of that only proves what a complete IDIOT SHE IS!!!

    November 12, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. david

    This is just great.... The party that serves up leaders with low intellect just keeps on giving.

    Could it be that it's not about who is on the stage but the people who want and need to pull the puppet's strings?

    November 12, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. Joel

    He should regret and probably has allready regretted his choice of Palin since week one of his choice. There were soooo many more qualitied repubs he could have chosen and if he wanted the Hilary effect a few female Repubs he could have chosen with WAY more experiance and smarts than Palin.

    November 12, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Republican for Obama

    If Palin is the new face of the Republican Party I will definitely be changing my affiliation to Independent this year. The Republican party left me and others behind when they decided to cater to the far right wing nut jobs and discard fiscal responsibility and civil rights. We used to be the progressive party edging on the center right balancing social justice with common sense and fiscal control. That party had died and I can only hope that it gets resurrected as a better version of what we were.

    November 12, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. MikeH

    Sarah Palin is an ignorant, vindictive, irrational pathological liar. Whether or not McCain knew that before he chose her is water under the bridge now. He paid the price for his disaterous decision.

    McCain's choice of Sarah put America in peril, and I hope he recognizes that.

    Sarah will be the same toxic person in four years, maybe a little less ignorant, but knowledge is not the same as wisdom, and Sarah can't study away her irrationality and vindictiveness.

    She still needs to release her medical records – is that fifth baby hers or her daughter's?

    November 12, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. I voted for "that one"

    Yes, Palin, please run in 2012. I would love to see Palin debate Obama. She is too brainless to win.

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Chipster

    Wow! I just read the John Edwards responses. I had no idea that we had so many perfect people in this country. I thought there was only One Perfect One and He talked a lot about forgiveness. In fact, that was His sole purpose, wasn't it?

    I disagree with Palin on almost every issue but see no reason she wouldn't continue to serve her country to the best of her ability. She stepped up when asked and I give her credit for that.

    Oh yeah, and she should keep the clothes and tell the petty fools out there to take a hike! Of all the important issues facing us, that isn't one of them. I'm sorry she was hurt over it.

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Irony

    If the GOP choses Palin during the primaries (unlikely) then they have truly lost their core values and are no longer the party of Lincoln.

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Defected Republican

    I bet she has a greate track record. A record of knowing nothing. She wouldnt even make it thru primary season if she ran.

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. T

    I for one am elated that the house is now in the hands of the dems after what the rep party have done to this country. If Sarah Palin is the best they can do, in terms of hope for the future, then 2012 will be an easy taking for the dems. Sarah Palin, please take a long walk on a short bridge to no where. You're a self declared maverick, but I totally blame you for dragging down a ticket that was already weak. I am so proud to have Barack Obama and Joseph Biden as our new leaders. I totally feared the thought of this country being led by you and Johnny, what a scary thought. And what's worse had something happened to Johnny, and you taking over......just go away, please, go away!

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Scott Tucson

    After four years of an upcoming Obama/Biden/Clinton cronies/democratic controled administration, the nation would wish they had voted for McCain and Palin instead.

    So far we have seen after Obama's White House tour that he can't be trusted to keep his mouth shut concerning private conversations he had with president Bush. And we're suppose to trust Obama with our nation's secrets??

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. Candy West Virginia

    Well he can't admit he made a horrible mistake now can he? Which he did. She was negative, divisive and smeared Obama every chance she got. Besides that she is a pathological liar.

    November 12, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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