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Complete text of Sen. John McCain's concession speech

Defeated Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain

Complete Text of Arizona Senator John McCain's concession speech, Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 4, 2008

(UPDATE: In a conversation late Tuesday night McCain's top aide, Mark Salter, who's collaborated on McCain's books, told The Times' Maeve Reston that the Arizona senator instructed him to craft a concession speech that captured the historic sweep of his Democratic opponent's victory, McCain's promise to work with him and another sympathetic mention of the passing of Obama's grandmother.

(Salter began the writing at 6 p.m. By 8, he had a draft of the 10-minute remarks completed for the senator's review. And the world heard those words soon after.)

MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.


My friends, we have -- we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.

A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him. [BOOING]

Please. To congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love. [Complete text of President-elect Obama's speech is available here.]

In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Sen. Obama believes that, too.

But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

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.

Let there be no reason now...[APPLAUSE]

Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth. [APPLAUSE]

Sen. 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.

Sen. Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain.

These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

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. [APPLAUSE]

Arizona Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

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 feel short, the failure is mine, not yours.


I am so...

I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends.


The road was a difficult one from the outset, but your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.

I'm especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother... [APPLAUSE]

... my dear mother and all my family, and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign.

I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.

You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate's family than on the candidate, and that's been true in this campaign.

All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.

I am also -- I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I've ever seen...[APPLAUSE]

... one of the best campaigners I have ever seen, and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength... [APPLAUSE]

... her husband Todd and their five beautiful children... [APPLAUSE]

... for their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign.

We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country. [APPLAUSE]

To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly, month after month, in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.

I don't know -- I don't know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I'll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I'm sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.

Political button for John McCain and Sarah Palin

This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life, and my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Sen. Obama and my old friend Sen. Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.

[BOOING] Please. Please.

I would not -- I would not be an American worthy of the name should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century.

Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone, and I thank the people of Arizona for it.



Tonight -- tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Se. Obama -- whether they supported me or Sen. Obama.

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.

Americans never quit. We never surrender. [APPLAUSE]

We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.

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Photo credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times; Associated Press;

Comments () | Archives (17)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Very good, John. I appreciate the gracious speech. Onward and upward!

McCain's concession speech was that of heartfelt sincerity. I definitely still have a great respect for this man. America will move on with pride.

I am a Barack supporter but kudos to Mr Mccain for a marvellous and dignified concession speech

John McCain is a man of honor. This speech was everything I expected from him and more; gracious and eloquent. I really believe that he would have been the better president. He has given most of his life to this country and really understands what it means to be an American. Thank you John.

John McCain is a real class act. His concession speech was inspiring and very appropriate. He is a true example of leadership for America. His campaign, though not sucessful in terms of the election outcome, has and will make a great contribution going forward, and I am certain that he will remain true to his promise to support President-elect Obama in leading this country to its future greatness. Well done, John!, I salute you!

john mccain is a great american, for you of those we did not support or vote for him shame on you, shame on you, he was clearly the right choice a patriot who has been fighting for this country since he was 17 years old but you decided that a man who was getting high and doing drugs while John Mccain was fighting for this country is more aprropriate for the job again shame on you, and for those of you who voted for him and supported you should be proud of what you have accomplished and we tryed our best.

McCain is an amazing man. This speech was incredible.

Hello another obama suporter here wow! no offence but if you wudda gave that speech or one similar 3 to 4 months ago you might have had a better outcome unfortunatly there isint enough time two visit every american 1 by 1 but a peice of me wish i coulda met you and obama face t0 face i do believe people chose against your party nt you

Thank you John McCain.
You are an American thru and true.

"This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight."

It has special significance for white Americans, too, and as I a white American, I was bursting with pride, too. Otherwise, yeah, a great speech by McCain. Since it was nearly perfect, I'll overlook this, but as these old as Jurassic generations die off, it is my hope we no longer have to tolerate such divisive language.

I commend McCain for being so honorable and respectful to Obama. It is too bad that some McCain supporters do not learn the same behavior.

I was moved by John McCain's speech. I found it honorable and delivered with great dignity and nobility. As a matter of fact, I found his speech to have more substance than President Obama's own acceptance speech.

Thank-you Sen. McCain for your moving, conession speech but most of all for your selfless,years of devotion and service to your country. The failure is not on your shoulders but on a country which failed to recognize you as the great leader you are.

WELL DONE John MCCAIN! Your speech last night was a reflection of the GREAT man you are; the same man you will be tomorrow and all the days to come! Absolutely inspirational you are a man to be admired!

Your service to this country is matched with many more who have been forgotten; their sacrifices left to fade with days gone by! Our country would not be the same without the whole of you, nor the opportunities or success attainable by anyone as proven by this Election.

We as Americans can only hope and pray that President Elect Barack Obama will prove to be the man he says he is. A man for Unity! Not for his own purpose or with a purpose for one race. That would destroy many years of pain and sorrow for many people of all races and cultures. That should have been made obvious yesterday.

I have heard many say this is an exceptional night for African Americans...this feat should not be excluded solely to the African American people! This was an exceptional night for all people! We have all been a part of this success in one-way or the other.
Our President Elect, Barack Obama is Bi-Racial, half White and half African American. This in itself speaks volumes about unity and the walls of racial boundaries that have been pulled down for a long time! We are who we are, and with hard work and sometimes a lot of sacrifice, we can all be successful and realize our dreams! We do not have to depend on anyone else to do that for us! Because we are Americans and we live in a Great Country.

Thank you John McCain for your Service and for being a man of Honor!

I have grown to know John McCain much more in the last 2 years and it saddens me that many of the younger generation will not know who JOHN MCCAIN REALLY IS nor will they know what he and many more have sacrificed for their freedom. Their freedom of speech voiced in blogs and forums across the Internet! Many who insulted this man of honor without really knowing him or what he stands for; shame on them and shame on the LA Times for adding the boo's from the crowds into his speech. Does not show much integrity or class, not in my eyes anyway!

McCain Concession Speech: FULL VIDEO 28 min and text of this Speech

it's a great speech from a great man, one who loves life and has integrity, but people has spoken and we can not denay it, it's hard to believe how many abortions will be promoted right now and great american family values distortes in these next four years. Thanks Mccain and Palin, God bless america.!

I have been following John McCain for about 15 years and am not only saddened but alarmed at his unsuccessful bid for President of the United States. While we celebrate the historic election of a first person of color to the White House, I mourn the greater missed opportunity we had in John McCain.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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