Former Presidents Remember ‘Maverick’ John McCain

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

John McCain was remembered in the hours after his death by former presidents on both sides of the aisle weighing in to pay their respects — two of whom had been pitted against the Arizona Sen. in political races over the years.

President Jimmy Carter released a statement through his presidential library.

George H.W. Bush honored his friend and fellow aviator with a statement through his spokesman.

In that statement, the elder President Bush wrote, “John McCain was a patriot of the highest order, a public servant of the rarest courage. Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens – and indeed freedom loving peoples around the world. Another American maverick and warrior, General George Patton, once observed: ‘We should thank God that men such as these have lived.’”

Former President Bill Clinton called McCain a “skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague” in a joint statement with his wife and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former President George W. Bush beat McCain in the 2000 presidential primary, but in the years that followed, viewed the Arizona Senator as a true friend. “Some lives are so vivid,” he said, “it is difficult to imagine them ended.”

Former President Barack Obama, who battled McCain for the presidency in 2008, praised the indomitable courage of a man from a “different generation” and a “different background.”

“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own,” Obama wrote. “At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt.”

Fair winds and following seas, Senator McCain.

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