Palin's Future? Grandma Governor, for Now

Palin and her aides reflect on failed VP run, consider what comes next.

ByABC News
November 5, 2008, 11:41 AM

Nov. 5, 2008— -- Gov. Sarah Palin paused in Arizona before heading home to Alaska today and dismissed any suggestion that her presence on the Republican ticket cost Sen. John McCain the presidency.

The McCain candidacy was crushed under the weight of the country's economic crisis, not the presence of Sarah Palin, she said.

"I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit... that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me," Palin said this morning in the lounge of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.

"Now having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I'm sorry about that because John McCain, I believe, is the American hero," she said. "I had believed that it was his time."

To many Republicans, Palin is not a loser and not a handicap. She is the future of the Republican Party.

Even McCain praised Palin, despite surveys like a recent ABC News poll that found 46 percent of voters said her presence on the ticket made them less likely to support McCain.

During his concession speech Tuesday night, McCain called Palin "an impressive new voice in our party for reform," and said, "We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country."

As she heads back to Alaska today, Palin declined to speculate about her political future four years from now.

"2012 sounds like years away. What will we be doing then? Enrolling Trig in kindergarten," Palin said of her 6-month-old son.

Palin still has two years to serve of her first term as governor of Alaska and, if she chose, she could run for a second term.

She could also aim for a U.S. Senate seat in two years if she wanted to challenge a fellow Republican. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's seat is up in 2010. Palin took on and defeated Murkowski's father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski, in Alaska's Republican gubernatorial primary in 2006 to win her current position.

But after voting in her hometown of Wasilla on Tuesday, Palin hinted that she may have a role in national politics again.