I found it telling that McCain’s crowd booed his congratulation of Obama. It was an odd contrast to see such grace in defeat from someone who ran such a wilfully ugly, negative, racist and deceitful campaign. It spoke volumes that his only speech from the heart, which seemed truly honest, took place after his defeat.
I urge all Americans — (applause) — 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, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that. (Cheers, applause.)
It is natural — it’s natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought — we fought as hard as we could.
And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.
It was your failure in recklessly picking Sarah Palin without any vetting, it was your failure to curb your legendary temper in the debates, it was your failure in coming across as erratic when the economic crisis hit, it was your failure in setting loose the very robocalls you despised (and which destroyed you in 2000), against now President-Elect Obama, portraying him as something he was not. You have the ability to make limited amends by living up to your dignified words here, and truly working in a bi-partisan manner in the Senate to help Obama fix the awful problems afflicting America. Calling your opponent a ‘terrorist’ by insinuation or design might have been an effective election strategy throughout the last generation, but no longer.
This election the country decided the problems it was facing were too great and they needed someone who was prepared to move past such meannness. Hillary Clinton campaigned for the Democratic nomination because she believed cynicism would always trump Obama’s message that the old-style politics really could be overcome. In that she was like her even more cynical friend John McCain, who will go down in history as the first white man to lose to the first black nominee for president, who has now won on his very first attempt.