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. Matt

    Sarah who?

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

    Gary – you and your kind are part of the reason the pathological liar, sarah palin, lost. You betcha!

    November 12, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Todd

    It's amazing that someone who was just handed a landslide loss by the American people is now CONSTANTLY reported to be considering a run for President.

    I thought she had a job...Governor of Alaska, right? Is she considering checking in with her office? Maybe do a little WORK for a change?

    I think we've all heard enough from Palin. If she wants to run in 2012, fine, but how about we hear no more about it for a few years, OK? Enough is enough!

    November 12, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Wisdom

    It really doesn't matter what Republican runs in 2012... it will be a landslide win.

    Obama's tax plan and socialist programs (much like Carter 76) will run millions of independents back to the right.

    This election should have been 70/30... the fact that it was even close is a huge statement for conservatives... in 50 months the right will be in control again... in 26 months they will get congress back.

    We've all seen this before... if you're over 30 anyway

    November 12, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Vincent, Great Lakes, Illinois

    You know, McCain looks happier and more relaxed then he did during the campaign. With everything that is going wrong here at home, and abroad, maybe it was for the better that he didn't get in. Being the President is a thankless job as, either they love you or they hate you. Even though I didn't vote for him, (McCain) I wish him well.

    November 12, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Soccer mom

    She divided Americans. Some violence is now happening because of her stoking hatred. She divided the Republican party. Then she torn apart the campaign. In just eight short weeks. Remarkable!

    November 12, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. carson


    November 12, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. LB

    A lot can happen in 4 years. Palin may run but if she was up against another women of experience and intelligence on the Republican ticket I really believe the other women would get the nomination before Palin. Her past remarks and interviews will come back to hurt her in another run for the Presidency.

    November 12, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Erik on Wall St.

    Rather than all this talk on TV about Palin being the future of the party – they should call a spade a spade and look at how she ruined the Republican brand for a long time. The woman is ignorant to anybody with any bit of intelligence. I wish McCain would own up to the hugh gaffe in picking Palin. She chased all the moderate Republicans to Obama including me! Why don't we hear more about this? The Republicans should be begging her to stay away from politics forever!

    November 12, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Bob Stephens

    McNasty is going to lie right till the end. He needed her to win the undecided and independent voters like a fish needs a bicycle. They didn't vet her, he didn't even know her,and she is almost illiterate. He should have stuck with Paris Hilton, she's smarter and I be she knows that Africa isn't a country.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Barbara

    Yes she is popular, but she would have been national and world disaster if elected, and it is true for the future. And she very much WANTS to be president.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Chi4Obama

    I just hope and pray that the Republicans will put Sarah Palin at the very top of their ticket in 2012.

    This will be great news for the Democratic party.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA



    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Tolu

    Of course he has to say all these things. It's courteous of him to. But it'd be stupid of anyone to believe that he remotely means a word of it. He ABSOLUTELY regrets picking Palin.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. becky

    "Irregardless" falls in to the relam of "ain't". Sure people use it but it really detracts from what you are saying.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. m. mckenzie

    SARAH PALIN – You are sooooo unqualified!! Stay in Alaska where you belong. You pulled John McCain down so badly, he must have been out of his mind to have picked you – I believe he is becoming senile. You are ignorant about world affairs and the Americans do not need you and your whining. STAY OUT OF POLITICS.

    November 12, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. President Obama to You

    Are these people delusional? Are they totally divorced from reality.

    hint to GOP: PALIN IS THE REASON YOUR TICKET LOST. People found this woman's charm and good looks great at first. Then she opened her mouth and revealed herself to be a dimwitted, dogmatic nut. The same kind of politician that has run this country into the ground.

    What part of these people believe she would make a good national leader? As Barack demonstrated, you have to have charisma and intelligence.

    Unfortunately, intelligence is something you cannot teach. Least of all in an international ruler

    November 12, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. A Canuck

    McCain must be either senile or stupid!!! If he thinks Palin will play a big part in the future.....God help us.

    November 12, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Mills in WV

    There is no surer way to hand Obama a second term than to put Palin on the ticket again in four years. She is poison.

    November 12, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Purple Nurple

    No way would she get my vote EVER. Just like her to think she can run again in 4 years. Most of this country will NOT forget what a real moron you are! She is a small minded person that offers nothing new to my govt, expect how to destroy the English language!! So, you consertivites might be excited, but real America will laugh her off like we did this year in 08!!

    November 12, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. Betsy

    I think Palin was an excellent choice. The mere fact that so many Democrats are on here spewing their venom is proof of that.

    At the republican campaign rallies just the mention of her name drew cheers. I doubt the same for that old Biden. She's the future – you betcha!

    Palin 2012!!!

    November 12, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Peg, Canada

    I'm so tired of hearing about Sarah Palin. Just because the media couldn't get an interview with her during the campaign , now that she has made herself available everyone is interviewing her.Give it a rest. At least Wolf's and Larry's interviews won't take place in her kitchen while she is whipping up supper. What's that all about? So she can cook.Hardly a requirement to be President. Enough of these softball interviews. If she is the future of the GOP shouldn't reporters be asking her serious questions about foreign policy, the economic situation etc.

    November 12, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. larrys

    McCain was responsible for his own destiny. The once open and honest politician gave uninspiring "politically correct" speeches
    that damaged his candidacy.

    Dont blame Palin for what McCain failed to do.

    November 12, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. Noah

    First of all, Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing.

    Second, the "Republican brand" may have been hurt over the past 8 years but that does not mean conservatism has been hurt. These Republicans in power have been anything but conservative. In fact, they have exhibited more liberal tendences such as big spending. Conservatism is still alive and well. John McCain is not a conservative and he never has been. Therefore, conservatism was never on the ballot and thus didnt lose. The Republicans need to find energetic conservatives in the party that can once again appeal to the middle Americans as they had for many years. The Democrats have only elected 3 president in the past 40 years, while the Republicans have elected 7. That tells you the country as a whole does not trend to the liberal left. We will be back in 4 years in full force

    November 12, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Chi4Obama

    Hey Sarah,
    Are you really dumber than a 3rd grader....You betcha!

    At least the average third grader knows that Africa is a Continent, and not a country.

    November 12, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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