Sen. John McCain says he was surprised when 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced Friday he won't be seeking the office again in 2016.
"I thought he was going to run, to tell you the truth, when I heard all of the rumors. I had talked to him on the phone about it," McCain said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
"I think he seriously considered it, and then I think he decided it was not in his best interest."
The Arizona Republican said he is a "great admirer of Mitt Romney," but isn't sure if he could have won the GOP nomination.
"You have so many chances at the brass ring, and then people say, it's somebody else's turn," McCain said.
He declined to pile on his 2008 running mate Sarah Palin, who has taken it on the chin even from fellow Republicans after what was described as a rambling speech last weekend at the Iowa Freedom Summit.
Palin still has a strong base of support, he said, adding that he didn’t see the speech and can't comment on it. McCain's close friend, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, is likely to run and is getting his personal support, McCain said, but added of Palin, "I wish her every success."
"If she did not give a good speech, she's not the first politician that didn't give a good speech from time to time, including me," he said.
Asked about Graham's chances, McCain said, "I think Lindsey Graham will do very well in debates in New Hampshire. He will shine in the town hall meeting."
New Hampshire comes early in the process, and McCain made no mention of his friend's chances of still being in the race by the time the late primaries roll around.
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