McCain Warmly Congratulates Obama
Elizabeth Holmes reports from Phoenix on the presidential race.
John McCain conceded the election to Barack Obama, ending a nearly two-year long campaign for the Arizona senator.
The Republican presidential candidate had no introduction. He simply stepped to the microphone and graciously congratulated his Democratic opponent on his victory.
“In a contest as long as difficult as this campaign has been his success alone commands my respect,” McCain said to a chorus of boos. He repeatedly urged the crowd to stop with a “please.”
McCain offered nothing but praise for Obama, despite a bitter battle which included repeated attacks from both sides. “I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president,” McCain said.
The rowdy audience on the lawn in the middle of the Arizona Biltmore hotel wasn’t feeling the same. They booed repeatedly and yelled profanities at the mention of Obama. “Bullshit!” one man yelled.
McCain, joined on stage by running mate Sarah Palin, continued his goodwill speech despite the crowd’s reaction. “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together,” he said.
McCain also made note of the moment in history he was part of—the first time an African American was elected to the Oval Office. He remarked on how far the country had come since President Theodore Roosevelt invited of Booker T. Washington to the White House more than a century ago.
“America today is a world away from the cruel…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,” McCain said. “Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this the greatest nation on earth.”
Several senior aides have said throughout the day that McCain was running in the toughest environment possible, what with the unpopularity of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party as a whole—compounded by the recent economic turmoil.
McCain wasn’t out to blame anything specific during his concession speech. “I don’t know what more we could’ve done to try and win this election,” McCain said. “Every candidate makes mistakes and I’m sure I made my share of ‘em.”
He did take time to thank his campaign staff, including campaign manager Rick Davis, senior strategist Steve Schmidt and his close friend, Mark Salter. “Thank you so much, a lost election can never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.”