In his 2008 concession speech to Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain declared that Obama’s election as president was ‘a triumph for the country.’ Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, along with predecessor President George W. Bush, will deliver the eulogies at McCain’s funeral. McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona and Vietnam War veteran, died Saturday night from brain cancer. He will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. McCain was 81.
“Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator.
And so very proud of the good man she helped raise,” McCain said.
McCain also noted how much the country has changed with Obama’s election. ”A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States,” he said.
At the end of speech, McCain wished Obama well. “I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.”
McCain also made a great gesture when he took a microphone from a woman at a 2008 town hall meeting. The woman said she could not trust Obama because he was an Arab. To a chorus of boos, McCain corrected her, calling Obama a decent family man and citizen who he happens to disagree with on certain issues. He told the audience there was nothing frightening about Obama. The boos became cheers.
And now Obama will eulogize his former colleague in the Senate, his former presidential rival, lauding John McCain as a man of commitment and courage, a steward of America’s highest ideals.
By Frederick H. Lowe