Barack Obama Shares A Heartfelt Tribute To John McCain After His Death

Obama is expected to speak at the funeral.

Following news that Sen. John McCain passed away of brain cancer at age 81 on Saturday, former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to share a touching tribute to his fellow politician, who was his opponent in the 2008 presidential election.

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"John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics," Obama shared in the statement. "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."

"Few of us have been tested the way John was, or required to show the kind of courage he did," Obama continued, in an apparent reference to McCain's military service. (He was a prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam War.) "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."

Obama ended his statement by saying that he and wife Michelle sent their "most heartfelt condolences" to McCain's family. However, it may not be the last tribute the former president pays to the late senator. A source told NBC News in May that Obama and former President George W. Bush were expected to deliver eulogies at McCain's funeral. Bush was also a political rival for McCain during the 2000 Republican primaries.

"These were bitter contests, both of them," McCain's fellow Arizona senator Jeff Flake said of the choice, according to the Chicago-Tribune, adding that "to ask them to speak at your funeral, and for them to be honored at the opportunity, that tells you all you need to know." He also told CBS that McCain "was quick to forgive" and "put the good of the country above himself."

According to ABC News, Bush accepted an invitation to deliver a eulogy, saying he is "honored to have been asked to speak." In a statement following McCain's death, Bush said, in part, "John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I'll deeply miss."

(H/T: Today)

Cover image: mistydawnphoto / Shutterstock.com

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