Palin tamps down talk of '12 presidential run

MIAMI -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Thursday dismissed speculation about her ambitions for higher office but told a group of Republican governors that they are the future of the GOP.

"It is the Republican governors that have the experience and the leadership qualities that can help usher back in to our states and our nation the bedrock principles that do make up the Republican Party," Palin said at her first news conference since she became the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Palin is one of 17 governors attending the Republican Governors Association conference this week. The state leaders have used the meeting to assess why the GOP lost the presidential race and 26 seats in Congress and what they must to do to move forward.

Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's pick for vice president, has loomed over the gathering and has given several interviews to national television stations in which she has left the door open to higher office. On Thursday, however, she demurred on questions about her future and the presidential campaign that she just wrapped up.

"As far as we're concerned, the past is the past, it's behind us," Palin, surrounded on the stage by fellow governors, said during a brief news conference. "We're focused on the future. And the future for us is not that 2012 presidential race."

After three days of interviews on major national media outlets this week, Palin took only four questions and repeatedly used the word "team" in her answers, referring to her fellow state officials.

"The media likes to focus on us as individuals, but the Republican Governors Association is a group committed to governors who know that only we by working together can bring about the change that has been so desired by the American public," she said.

Asked why she was giving so many interviews this week after staying largely under wraps during the presidential race, she replied: "Hey, the campaign's over. I don't want to talk about strategy in a campaign that's over."

Asked what her message was in appearing at the news conference, she said: "I'm trying to convey the message that the Republican governors are a unique team," she said.

Moments later, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stepped in to end the press conference as the group of governors headed for their meeting, where Palin was among the featured speakers.