McCain’s Concession

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From my story just posted on

John McCain ended his campaign as he began it: On his own terms, in front of a relatively modest crowd.

Before hundreds of Republican activists, the GOP nominee refused to play to partisan passions or score political points. In blunt terms, he praised the historic significance of Barack Obama’s victory and embraced the pain of his own defeat. “Though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours,” he told the crowd, earning jeers along with cheers.

He pledged to help Obama lead the nation through the dangers ahead, and praised his victory as a civil rights breakthrough of particular significance for black Americans. “Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this the greatest nation on earth,” he told the crowd, flanked by his wife, Cindy, his running mate, Sarah Palin, and her husband, Todd.

The lawn at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa never filled to capacity. A space that might have held 2,000 or more stood about one quarter empty. And many of those present took poorly to McCain’s praise of Obama’s achievement. They booed at times, and one loud man swore at the stage, evoking the excretions of various farm animals. The fireworks the campaign had purchased to celebrate victory never fired off.