McCain’s Concession Speech
November 5, 2008
The following is a transcript of Senator John
McCain’s Concession Speech in Phoenix, Ariz, as provided by Federal News
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you, my friends. (Cheers, applause.)
Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening. (Cheers, applause.)
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 -- (boos) -- to congratulate
him -- (boos) -- please -- to congratulate him on being elected the next
president of the country that we both love.
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
I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have
the industry and will to seize it. Senator 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
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T.
Washington to visit -- to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in
many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful
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 -- (cheers, applause) -- let there be no reason now for any
American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on
Earth. (Cheers, applause.)
Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country.
I applaud him for it, and offer in 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
Senator 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. (Cheers,
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.
MR. MCCAIN: I am so --
AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain!
John McCain! John McCain!
SEN. MCCAIN: 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 am especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother
-- (cheers, 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
I am also -- I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin,
one of the best campaigners I have ever seen. (Cheers, applause.) One of the
best campaigners I have ever seen --
AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Sarah! Sarah!
MR. MCCAIN: -- and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and
the principles that have always been our greatest strength. (Cheers, applause.)
Her husband Todd and their five beautiful children -- (cheers, applause) --
with 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. (Cheers, 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.
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 Senator
Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us
for the next four years.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You deserve more!
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting off mike.)
MR. MCCAIN: Please. Please.
I would not -- I would not be an -- 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. (Cheers, applause.)
AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
SEN. MCCAIN: 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 Senator Obama -- whether they supported me or Senator 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. (Cheers, applause.) We never
hide from history, we make history. (Cheers, applause.)
Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)
Thank you all very much. (Cheers, applause.)