Longtime Ariz. Senator John McCain died on Sat., Aug. 25 after battling brain cancer. Back in 2007, as McCain made the rounds in S.C. ahead of the GOP primary, he made a stop at College of Charleston for the school’s Bully Pulpit speaker series.
At the Oct. 4, 2007 event, McCain touched on the topic of civil political discourse that still rings true: “I think that if we began to work together for the good of the country, no matter what the political discourse is in some parts of cyberspace and the media, that the American people would approve … and then we would see the virtue of working together on a bipartisan basis.”
“At the end of the debate we will go over and shake hands and move on to the next issue. What happens though, if you question someone’s patriotism or their character they don’t forget. And that is what makes it so difficult sometimes for us to work together.”
Watch the full video over on C-Span.
McCain was known to spurn his party and mainstream opinion on issues, a fact that would test his viability ahead of the 2008 GOP primary. He wound up edging out Mike Huckabee in the S.C. primary and earned the Republican nomination over the likes of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Fred Thompson. Democrats would nominate and the country would eventually elect a guy named Barack Obama a little-known senator from Illinois. Of course, the 2008 campaign was marked by instances of racism and xenophobia against the man who would become the nation’s first African-American president. Echoes of the ’08 campaign, which McCain spoke out against both at CofC and later during the general election campaign, are still heard in today’s national politics.
McCain was also very close with the Palmetto State’s U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Graham and and McCain were known for their friendship, spanning three decades, foreign wars, two McCain presidential campaigns, Graham’s 2016 presidential campaign, and three distinct presidential administrations.
In 2017, the war hawks ended a CNN town hall by wiping away tears after discussing their close friendship. “He is loyal to his friends. He loves his country. And if he has to stand up to his party for his country, so be it,” Graham said of his friend, “He would die for his country. I love him to death.”