Washington, Nov 12 : Making his first public comment a week after he lost the election to Barack Obama, John McCain joked with "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno that his defeat was "all the press' fault" and that he's ready to go again in 2012.
McCain's appearance, which was tied to Veteran's Day and follows two days of televised interviews with his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, was aired on Tuesday night on NBC stations.
McCain refused to place any blame for his loss on Palin, and offered several familiar refrains about his running mate and the campaign, Politico reported.
"The one thing I think Americans don't want is a sore loser," he noted after Leno tried several times to corner him about Palin's reported problematic behavior, the media's perceived tilt toward Obama and other issues that plagued his run for the White House.
"I'm a fighter," he said, with a laugh. "I knew I had a headwind. I can read the polls. They tried to keep them away from me. But I knew we had a real headwind."
McCain said that since the election ended he's been "sleeping like a baby - I sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours...."
He seemed relaxed and comfortable, happy to be rid of the Secret Service protection that guarded him 24/7 as a candidate and amused at all the post-mortems that have filled the papers and cable news shows after the race ended.
Asked the main reason he lost, he joshed that it was because of his "personality - maybe too many people saw me on the Jay Leno show."
Commenting on running again in 2012: "I wouldn't think so, my friend. It's been a great experience and we're going to have another generation of leaders come along," he added.