Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Palin calls for Republican rally

Palin dampens speculation about a 2012 presidential run

Defeated Republican running mate Sarah Palin has urged her party to fight for a role in the debate on key issues facing the US.

Republicans might be the minority party but they should not "become the negative party", she said.

The Alaska governor stressed the need to focus on the here and now, playing down speculation over a possible 2012 presidential bid.

Mrs Palin made her remarks at an annual meeting of Republican governors.

The group are debating how best to move the Republican Party forward following its election defeat by the Democratic Party on 4 November.

'New strength'

Since the election, Mrs Palin has maintained a high media presence, prompting speculation she is considering a run at the White House in 2012.

On Thursday she appeared to gloss over such talk.

In 2010 we're going to have 36 governors' positions open across the US. That's what we're focused on
Sarah Palin
Governor of Alaska

"The future for us is not the 2012 presidential race," she said. "It's next year and our next budget, and the next reforms in our states, and in 2010 we're going to have 36 governors' positions open across the US. That's what we're focused on."

There was no lack of issues for the party to concentrate on, she said, and Republicans should help present solutions to the economic challenges the country faced.

"We are now the minority party, but let us not resolve to become the negative party. Losing an election does not have to mean losing our way," she said.

Republicans should go on "confident in the knowledge there will be another day and we will gather once more with new strength".

Mrs Palin also paid tribute to President-elect Barack Obama, saying: "If he governs with the skill and grace and greatness of which he is capable, we're going to be just fine."

On Wednesday the mother-of-five told CNN's Larry King that she was proud of Mr Obama and prayed for him.

Sarah Palin was relatively unknown outside Alaska before Mr McCain picked her as his number two in August.

She drew huge crowds on the campaign trail despite tough criticism that she lacked political experience.

But correspondents say Mrs Palin could face stiff competition if she wants to become the Republican nominee in 2012.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who both failed in their candidacy this year, along with Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, may also be candidates.

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