John McCain may have lost the race for the White House to Democrat Barack Obama but the Republican presidential nominee's 'hot' running mate Sarah Palin, described as "an impressive new voice" in the Republican Party appears to be a potential candidate in 2012.
After McCain's overwhelming loss to Obama, 44-year-old Palin has emerged as one of the strongest and determined leaders the Republicans can flaunt.
"We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country," McCain said while conceding defeat in the presidential poll to Obama.
"I am also - I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I've ever seen, and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength...," the 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran said in an emotional speech in Chicago, flanked by Palin and her husband Todd.
Having undertaken the "rough and tumble" of the presidential campaign, Palin, once dubbed "America's Hottest Governor," is unlikely to return quietly to her job in remote Anchorage, Alaska.
"I'm not doing this for naught," the ex-beauty queen and mother of five said last week, indicating that she may have set her sights on the 2012 version of presidential polls.
Palin's rise to international fame was meteoric after McCain picked her up to be his running mate in August. Though she was well known with conservative insiders but unknown outside.
However, pre-poll surveys had found that Palin may be hurting McCain more than she is helping him as many felt she does not yet have the personal qualities to be a President.