November 25th, 2008
02:54 PM ET
9 years ago

McCain says Palin has a 'very bright future' as a GOP leader

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain confirmed Tuesday he’s planning to run for a fifth Senate term in 2010."](CNN) - Former GOP presidential candidate John McCain denied Tuesday that political considerations - a desire to appeal to Clinton supporters - played a role in his selection of running mate Sarah Palin, calling her “an energizing factor” and telling reporters the Alaska governor has a “very bright future in a leadership position in the Republican Party.”

"She did a great job of energizing our base. I'm very proud of her,” he said at a press conference in Phoenix, his first since losing to Barack Obama three weeks ago. “It's one of the great pleasures I've had to get to know her and her family, and I think she has a very bright future in a leadership position in the Republican Party.

"....I knew that she would be an energizing factor, because she energized me," he added. "Our base, and most Americans, viewed Governor Palin as a breath of fresh air."

Taking a look back at the presidential contest, he said his campaign was dealt a fatal blow when public focus shifted from foreign policy to the faltering economy. “The American people - and I respect that decision, I don’t in any way criticize it – [decided] that the economy was of vital importance. And it is,” he said.

He also told reporters: “We worked hard, and we inspired a lot of people, Sarah Palin and I. I think we look back with pride."

The Arizona senator said that he’s planning to run for re-election in two years, and that an official announcement would come “at an appropriate time.” He praised the president-elect for his cabinet picks so far, especially his reported selection of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano – long mentioned as a likely 2010 Senate rival - as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Multiple sources have told CNN that Napolitano is Obama’s top choice for that post.

"I have already talked with her, and look forward to moving her nomination as quickly as possible through the United States Senate," said McCain. He said he is also planning trips in the near future to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even with his stiffest competition is reportedly taking a pass, McCain’s home state has been trending blue - he beat Barack Obama by just 9 points - and the four-term senator told reporters Tuesday he’s expecting a “tough race.”

Filed under: Arizona • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (801 Responses)
  1. TCN

    Go ahead Libs and CNN moderator start your blasting comments...

    November 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Get it together Repubs

    What was the purpose of this news conference?

    November 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Nick

    THAT was fresh air I smelled?

    November 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. hitobito

    If you are a democrat, the news that Sarah Palin is the part of the "bright future" of the GOP, this is great news indeed! There are many very smart women in the Republican Party, but Sarah Palin is not one of them. She is intellectually pathetic, has a total lack of humility, and was unable to construct and use intelligible sentences in the English language! Her education must have been abysmal! The only base she energized were the uneducated, Pro-life, anti gay, racist, religious conservative wing of the GOP. If this is the definition of the GOP of the future, they are in deep trouble! She is attractive as a female but her vacuous persona is a real negative!

    November 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Mike

    Senator McCain is still delusional. Even if the debate remained on foreign policy, the Repubs would have lost. "Most Americans" did not view Sarah Palin as a "breath of fresh air". They barely tolerated Palin as she only really connected with the Republican base. More women voted for Barack Obama than men. Allow Palin to be the leader of the GOP and the Republicans may not see the White House for a very long time.

    November 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. matt

    She just needs to go away. NEWSFLASH: we dont need MORE people that "don't believe in science" in our government. Those are the people that have screwed up the environment almost beyond repair. Lets get some people know....believe in science and facts and not just talking snakes and rapture and all that.

    November 25, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Tim in LA, CA

    If she's has a very bright future as a GOP leader, then the dems have a much brighter future for years to come.

    November 25, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Repubshateamericans

    She has a very bright future for the GOP. Too bad for her the GOP is on its death bed. The youth of America are done with the white nationalist party. RIP GOP.

    November 25, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Mikey

    Was that the look on his face when he said it.

    To all Republicans: Please react to the colapse of your party with a very hard right turn and nominate Palin for President every election for the next 20 years.

    Seriously, if the moderates – the reasonable wing of the party – can take control after this debacle, the GOP stands a chance of being relevant in the next decade. If not, well.........

    November 25, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Judy

    John McCain will never admit that he made a mistake choosing Palin to be his running mate. Following his choice, the McCain camp announced (to the media) that she was the most popular governor in the USA when most of us had never heard of her! Today, he says that most Americans view her as a "breath of fresh air. Who in the heck does he think he's fooling?

    November 25, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Craig in Washington

    Judging from McCain's highly successful campaign strategy, it's obvious he can spot a good leader.

    And Fred, you are not eligible to write intelligent comments. Obama is a legal citizen of the U.S. Are you?

    November 25, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Richard A. Spomer

    Senator John McCain is a very gracious and humble leader in which the Obama Administration would be greatly energized by bringing a leader of this caliber into his Administration! Obama stated he would reach across the political isle to unite, and bring this country together and this sort of action is warranted!

    November 25, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Gaylon Barrow

    I certainly hope so. With Palin I believe what you see is what you get. And that is a person set on doing what's right for this country with no ulterior motives. Besides all that she is pretty too. So if she was President for eight years there would be something pleasant to look at on the screen when she gives a state of the union message unlike what we've had and especially have now.

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. sally

    really, what else can he say?

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. JB

    I bet she fizzles out, unless she appoints herself Senator.

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. djb

    I just finished reading two articles that give advice to Michelle Obama as she considers her role as "first mom". Let me say that I am SO GLAD that the Obamas are our "first family role models", rather than the Palins. The Obamas truly have "family values"...they live it rather than just talk about it.

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Why does McCain still refuse to speak the truth?

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. katiebee

    why was this "press conference" necessary? Just to hear McCain spout the same ol' tired rhetoric about Sarah and inform us...what??? that's he's going to run for Senate in 2 years?? And this "urgent" news couldn't wait?

    He just supports my theory that he and Sarah still have not come to grips with the fact that the campaign is OVER and not only is is over, but THEY LOST!! Please. Go away, catch up on your rest.

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Random Dude

    well, in that case, The GOP doesnt have a bright future

    November 25, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Credit Card Republicans

    Poor guy still doesnt have a clue.

    November 25, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Bob (Illinois)

    "Our base, and most Americans, viewed Governor Palin as a breath of fresh air."

    "Most Americans"? Really? I'm afraid Senator McCain has lost touch with reality.

    November 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Jude

    Well, here we go...saying whatever after the elections. You got beat fair and square. Palin was a drag on your ticket. She may have energized the GOP base but she also energized the Demos and moved the Inddependents away from you. Bottom line is that Palin is too devisive to make an impact on this country.

    November 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Adebukola

    Senator John McCain should be commended for being such a gentleman. What else should one expect him to say about the person chosen as his Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party. I don't believe for one moment however, that Senator McCain believes she is a viable choice to lead the Republican Party back to the time when we were proud of being Republicans. Back to the time when Newt Gingrich stood on the steps of the Capitol with the Contract for America in his hands. Then to be a Republican meant being intellectually curious about the governance of this country as well as global initiatives as well as global affairs. Sarah Palin is not qualified to be Vice President or President of the United States, and the next four years will not find her more ready than today.

    November 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Bill, N.M.

    What is he gonna say, he can't tell the truth.
    PALIN is no leader

    November 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Rick in WA

    Palin did not destroy the Republican party. The party was weakened (it will be back) by leaders trying to be too moderate and abandoning core values (smaller, leaner government; strong states' rights; individual liberties; freedom from excessive regulation and taxes; etc.). George W. Bush did more to hasten the disease than anyone.

    November 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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