Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Obama, Bush pay tribute to McCain

Published:Saturday | September 1, 2018 | 1:42 PM
Former US President Barack Obama
Former US President George Bush
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Two former United States (US) presidents today paid tribute to late Senator John McCain during a funeral service held in the American capital today.

Family members say in the months before his death McCain played a lead role in planning his funeral and insisted that US President Donald Trump should not be invited.

Barack Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 US presidential election, described the late Arizona Senator as “an extraordinary man, a warrior, a statesman and a patriot who "embodied much of what made America great.”

Despite their many differences, Obama said "we never doubted we were on the same team".

"John understood that our security and our influence was won not just by our military might, not just by our wealth, not just by our ability to bend others to our will, but from our capacity to inspire others with our adherence to a set of universal values like the rule of law and human rights and an insistence on the God-given dignity of every human being," he said.

Bush, who defeated McCain for the Republican Party nomination in 2000, underscored McCain’s courage, honesty and sense of honour.

"At various points during his long career, John confronted policies and practises that he believed were unworthy of his country. To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist 'We are better than this, America is better than this',” Bush said in his tribute.

"John would be the first to tell you he was not a perfect man, but he dedicated his life to national ideals that are as perfect as men and women have as yet conceived," during the memorial service at Washington's National Cathedral.

The Vietnam War hero, who became one of America's most high-profile politicians, died a week ago from brain cancer at the age of 81.

A private burial service will be held at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland tomorrow.

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