As the two presidential campaigns make their closing arguments to voters in battleground states, Sen. John McCain said he's confident about his chances on Nov. 4 and pledged to continue to reach across the aisle and serve his country, win or lose.
"I'm confident we'll win next Tuesday," McCain told ABC News' Charlie Gibson today. "I think we're going to fool the pundits one more time."
Most political experts predict the Democratic Party to take firm control of the Senate and the House after Election Day, but McCain said that if elected he would not have trouble governing with a Democratic Congress.
"I have a long record of reaching across the aisle," McCain said. "And I have a long record of accomplishment. Look, there are some people on the other side of the aisle and maybe a couple on my side of the aisle that are not personally close to me. But they respect me."
McCain said he "wasn't measuring the drapes" in the White House, but if elected his Cabinet would be made up of Democrats as well as Republicans. He didn't cite specific names, but said, "They are respected people in America."
McCain told Gibson that whether he wins or not, he would "do what I've been doing all my life. Serving my country and putting my country first. That has been my record. ... And sometimes that has not made me the most popular in my own party because I have put my country first."
"Anybody who puts their country first can heal the wounds of this -- of any political campaign," he said. "And right now, America is ready for a united effort to fix our economy and keep our country safe."
McCain also said he saw a bright future for his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, telling Gibson that "the nation needs people like Sarah."
"She's a reformer," he said. "She took on her own party. She, she is the most popular governor in America. ... Sarah Palin, I think, would have emerged on the American political stage whether I happened to have chosen her or not. It's not a question of whether. It would have been a question of when. And I think she has inspired millions and millions of people."
McCain said that he has discussed the future with his campaign but said that "for me to start picking my chief of staff or that kind of stuff is something we've got plenty of time for."
"Americans don't like for you to measure the drapes," McCain said. "They want you to win first. And that's why we have a period of time between the election and the inauguration. ... But, clearly, I know what the challenges are and I know how to meet them."
A McCain-Palin administration's first priorities would be national security and economic recovery, the candidate said.
"[The first priority of] any president is to ensure America's security," he said. "That is a first priority of any president throughout our history, particularly, in the 20th and 21st centuries."
McCain lauded the work of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for his work in Iraq and appeared to be considering a permanent position for the adviser in his administration.
"I'm not sure that he would want to stay permanently. That is one of the toughest jobs in America," McCain said of Gates' role in his Cabinet. "I did like for him to at least stay on for a while while we arrange whatever transition may be necessary.