Sen. John McCain said he was surprised but not "shocked" by the resignation of his former runningmate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. On NBC's Meet the Press, the Arizona Republican said Palin's decision was consistent with his definition of leadership to resign from office mid-term.
NBC's David Gregory seemed incredulous that McCain thought Palin's resignation spoke well of her leadership capabilities.
"You have sustained personal torture, personal attack, political attack, investigation," Gregory said. "You have never resigned from anything. Is it consistent with your qualities of leadership to resign an elected post like this?"
"Sure," the senator said.
McCain said it was a question of how Palin could serve most effectively, and that she had decided she would be most effective if she stepped down. "I respect that position and that decision," he said, "and I cannot tell you the appreciation I have for her."
McCain insisted that Palin is qualified for the highest office in the land. But he declined to endorse Palin for a potential 2012 presidential run, which also surprised the NBC host.
"Can you understand how people would think it's strange?" Gregory said. "You vouched for her in front of the country, that she was qualified for the highest position in the land. Yet, you're not prepared to endorse her now?"
"Ronald Reagan didn't endorse George Herbert Walker Bush until the year of the election," McCain said. "I mean, it's just way too early. I'm confident she would make a fine president. The question is what's the whole political scenario?"
"Do you think she'll run?"
"I don't know. I know she will play a major role."