ABC News’ Lindsey Ellerson Reports: Former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, age 73, said Tuesday in Arizona that he intends to seek a fifth Senate term in 2010.
"I intend to run again," said McCain during his first news conference since his White House loss to President-elect Barack Obama. "We will make a formal announcement at the appropriate time."
McCain was unable to escape the press conference without a flurry of questions about his former running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The GOP Senator stood by his veep pick, forecasting a "very bright" future for Palin.
"I think she did a great job of energizing our base. I’m very proud of her. 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," McCain said.
McCain also took a light-hearted tone when discussing the failed GOP presidential ticket, joking that the curse of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful presidential run in 1964 has become Arizona’s continued legacy.
"Unfortunately, now it’s Goldwater, Udall, Babbitt, McCain, all who have made it, again, impossible for mothers in Arizona to tell their children that some day they can grow up and be president of the United States," said McCain.
McCain applauded Obama for his recently announced economic team, as well as Obama’s top pick for the director of the Department of Homeland Security, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
"I have already talked with her and look forward to moving her nomination as quickly as possible through the United States Senate," said McCain of the popular Democratic governor.
"I think she’s highly qualified. And we as citizens of Arizona are very proud to have a border state governor and someone with her knowledge and expertise serving in this very, very important and vital position."
When asked if he had any intension to run for governor of Arizona if the post was vacant, McCain said he remains committed to a fifth term in the Senate.
"My attention will be focused on — on running for re-election in the Senate," said McCain. "That’s a six-year term, and I would be committed to fulfilling that."
The Arizona Republican pledged to work together with Obama and referenced their meeting last week at the president-elect’s transition headquarters in downtown Chicago.
"As you know, President-elect Obama and I had a very good meeting and discussed a number of issues, ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq to the need for — address the challenges facing our economy, including various reforms in the practices of the Congress, as far as spending and budgetary issues are concerned," said McCain. "So I look forward to working with President-elect Obama and — as we face these enormous challenges that we have."
McCain also said that he looks forward to resuming his work in the Senate, adding that he is eager to get back to his duties on behalf of Arizonians.
"I will resume my duties in the Indian Affairs Committee and work on Native American issues, land, water, and, of course, the significant military presence we have here in Arizona," said the Senator. "I’ll be looking forward to working on those issues, as well as the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee."
The Republican Senator also announced his intension to visit the Middle East in the near future.
"I intend to travel soon to both Iraq and Afghanistan," said McCain. "Obviously, the situation in Iraq, as regards to the status-of-forces agreement and the status of our forces and the — the success of the strategy, and now the next steps we need to take, I look forward to discussing with General Odierno and the leaders of the Iraq government."