McCain was faithful to “something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed,” Obama said.
For all their differences ― Obama and McCain ran against each other during the 2008 presidential election ― the former president said he and McCain both viewed their political battles as a “privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home and to advance them around the world.”
Obama said few people have been tested as much as McCain was but that “all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden also honored McCain, saying he had been an excellent friend and had made unparalleled contributions to the U.S.
“John McCain’s life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor,” Biden said in a statement. “A life lived embodying those truths casts a long, long shadow. His impact on America hasn’t ended. Not even close. It will go on for many years to come.”
“To me, more than anything, John was a friend,” he added. “America will miss John McCain. The world will miss John McCain. And I will miss him dearly.”
Read the full statements from Obama and Biden below:
John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of 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.
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 greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed 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.