Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain accepts presidential nomination

US Senator John McCain has accepted the Republican Party's presidential nomination at the party's national convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, saying the party needs to win back the trust of the American people.

Seeking to distance himself from the legacy of current President George W Bush, Senator McCain said the Republican Party had been guilty of being too close to special interest groups and had forgotten about the interests of the nation as a whole.

Billing himself as a battle-scarred reformer, he vowed he and running mate Sarah Palin would change Washington as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination.

"Let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd, change is coming," Senator McCain said, adding he was honoured to accept the party's nomination.

But his prime-time convention speech was briefly interrupted by several anti-war protesters, who had sneaked into the crowd.

One held up a black sign reading "You can't win an occupation," and started chanting, but was quickly drowned out by the crowd cheering "USA, USA," and then hustled away by security staff.

Senator McCain, 72, touted what he said were decades of working across the political aisle to solve problems, contrasting his record with that of Democratic nominee Barack Obama whom he faces in November's election.

"That's how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again," he said.

"I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not."

Senator McCain also tapped into his life story as a former Vietnam prisoner of war to suggest he, and not Senator Obama, should be trusted with the presidency.

"I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's," Senator McCain said.

"I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for, I was never the same again.

"I wasn't my own man anymore. I was my country's."

Senator McCain is attempting to co-opt Senator Obama's mantle of change in a year in which polls show Americans overwhelmingly think their country is heading in the wrong direction.

He vowed to work to establish good ties with Russia, but warned the United States could not "turn a blind eye" to aggression.

"As president, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," Senator McCain said.

"But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."


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