McCain: Palin would be "formidable" in 2012

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on CBS' "Face the Nation," August 21, 2011.

Sen. John McCain says Sarah Palin has not solicited his advice on running for president - but he says she would make a "very formidable" challenger if she did jump into the race.

McCain, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," declined to say whether or not he thought Palin, his running mate in the 2008 election, should run.

"That's a decision that is so personal," he noted.

But, he said, "I think she would be very formidable."

The former presidential candidate pointed out that it was still early in the race, and that "a lot of things are going to happen" that will likely change the game.

"I remind you that in 2007 at this time, I was done, if you might recall," he told CBS' Norah O'Donnell. "My campaign was doomed. A lot of things are going to happen. I hear, for example, maybe Rudy Giuliani is going to get in the race. I think he would be very formidable."

McCain said he was a long way off from endorsing any particular candidate, and demurred when asked to critique a handful of recent statements made by Texas Governor Rick Perry, in which he suggested global warming was a hoax and accused Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke of taking what he described as "treasonous" economic actions.

"You know Norah, I can't critique each one of these candidates," McCain said. "I know the pressures of being on the campaign trail. And very honestly I also know what the experience of having a few of your words plucked out."

He continued: "These are the things you go through. This is why campaigns are tough. It's not bean bag. My sympathy is with all of you."

"I'm glad I'm not with you," he laughed.