On Election Night, I was moved by your concession speech. It was the resurgence of the John McCain we had seen in 2000 during the Republican primaries. It was the man who truly does put country before party and political gain.
I also heard the boos, the reluctance to follow your message of compromise. And that did not stop you from, finally, being the maverick you wanted to be, breaking from the hateful script that characterized the last several months of your campaign.
These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to [President-Elect Obama] tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. 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.
Now is your time to make a difference, Senator McCain.
Over the last eight years, since Karl Rove and his push polls smeared your campaign, you have bowed to the Republican party. You have rarely shown the independent fire you claimed. You followed their lead and their tactics. Your dream, your aspiration was moved out of reach because of them, by putting the morals, ethics, and straight-talk aside at their insistence.
Now is the time, Senator McCain, for a real maverick. Now is the time to truly put country first, and focus on fixing the system and the problems ahead of us.
It will be rough to truly and finally separate from the hateful ideologues who booed you during one of the hardests speeches you’ve had to make. I don’t know if it is possible to remake the GOP back into the party of Lincoln, or if you would need to follow the lead of Jim Jeffords or your personal hero, Teddy Roosevelt. It will be hard, and victory is far from assured.
But Senator McCain, there’s just one thing I have to tell you.
Yes you can.