Barack Obama told a hushed congregation at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday that John McCain, his former Senate colleague whom he defeated for the presidency in 2008, always called on his fellow countrymen to be bigger, and better, than the “small and mean and petty” politics being practiced in Washington today.
It was one of several not-so-subtle swipes at the current occupant of the White House made by eulogists at McCain’s memorial service. Obama followed remarks by McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, and former President George W. Bush that drew a sharp contrast between the current political moment and McCain’s enduring values of service and bipartisanship.
“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage,” Obama said. “It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.”