Former president Barack Obama, the man who ended John McCain’s Oval Office dreams, spoke of his former rival’s integrity as an example of what American politics should be.
On McCain asking him to speak at his funeral: “What better way to get a last laugh than to make George [Bush] and I say nice things about him to a national audience. And most of all, it showed a largeness of spirit, an ability to see past differences in search of common ground.”
On bipartisanship: “He understood that if we get in the habit of bending the truth to suit political expediency or party orthodoxy, our democracy will not work. That’s why he was willing to buck his own party at times, occasionally work across the aisle on campaign-finance reform and immigration reform. That’s why he championed a free and independent press as vital to our democratic debate.”
On America’s greatness: “John understood, as JFK understood, as Ronald Reagan understood, that part of what makes our country great is that our membership is based not on our bloodline, not on what we look like, what our last names are, it’s not based on where our parents or grandparents came from, or how recently they arrived, but on adherence to a common creed: that all of us are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.”
On politics: “So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage. It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.”