BY CLYDE HUGHES, AC JosepH Media
President Barack Obama, who defeated U.S. Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, hailed the late legislator in a statement after he died Saturday after battling brain cancer.
Obama joined a number of other prominent African-Americans in honoring McCain, a former Vietnam POW known for his determination not to be released before other war prisoners and served in the Senate since 1987 until his death.
McCain, who earned the nickname “Maverick” for his willingness to stand up against his own Republican Party, was known during the 2008 campaign for defending Obama against one of his own supporters during a rally.
“No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign issue is all about,” McCain told his supporter in Minnesota when she falsely called Obama an “Arab,” according to the Huffington Post, a rarity in today’s political climate.
“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics,” Obama said in his statement, which was posted on Twitter. “But we shared, for all of our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of all Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.
Obama continued: “Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greatest good above our own. At John’s best, he show us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.”
The Congressional Black Caucus added in a Twitter post: “In Congress, where there is more pressure now than ever before to stand on the left or right, he often stood in the center—putting patriotism before party; the health care vote he cast last year & his criticism of Trump are just a few examples.”
New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker added his voice on social media.
Others African-American legislators added their voice as well.
News One wrote that even though McCain initially voted against a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. he later regretted his opposition and apologized for his support in 2000 for keeping the Confederate flag displayed at the South Carolina statehouse.
”I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary,” McCain said after the 2000 campaign about his initial Confederate flag answer, according to the New York Times, a symbol many African-Americans see as reminder of racism and slavery. ”So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth.”
He then went further, saying that Confederate soldiers “fought on the wrong side of American history” and “I don’t believe their service, however distinguished, needs to be commemorated in a way that offends, that deeply hurts, people whose ancestors were once denied their freedom by my ancestors.”
Photo of John McCain courtesy of Wikipedia