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Sarah Palin on John McCain's military service: 'I'll defend him as aggressively as I'll defend my own kids'

In an interview reflecting on Sen. John McCain's death, his former presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, said the late Arizona senator will be remembered "as an American hero."

"I think he should be remembered as an American hero when you consider his military service, the hell that he went through physically and mentally in service to our country," Palin said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail.

She added that critics of McCain's politics should respect and honor his service to the country.

"So when people decide to slam him, to condemn him, do it for his politics, but you bring up his military service and you invoke that as a reason to dislike him or to try to discredit him, and I'll defend him as aggressively as I'll defend my own kids," Palin added.

Speaking of McCain's politics, Palin suggested that individuals surrounding McCain did not serve him well during his 2008 run for president.

"I respect his military service. I think it's unfortunate that he had people around him — and they continued to be around him for a very long time — who weren't serving him well," she said.

"They certainly weren't serving the country well with what they were trying to do."

She said that the "DC bubble" had influenced his thinking.

"I believe he was told things about what America really wanted or really needed because he's been in that DC bubble for so many years," she said.

"I don't think inherently he necessarily was really connected, so he did rely on people telling him — in polls — telling him and … he went from there."

"I think that's unfortunate because he had some strange people around him and ... disloyal people, and you know, I don't say that as like hate speech or griping about it, it's just a fact they were just some not nice people."

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