John McCain urged all Americans to fight for their country, to make history, and to rid Washington of its “constant partisan rancour” last night as he accepted the presidential nomination of the Republican Party.
The 72-year-old senator from Arizona declared that “change is coming” as he vowed that he will “recover the people’s trust by standing up again for the values Americans admire”.
Mr McCain said America needed to “catch up to history” and “change the way we do business in Washington”.
“Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight,” he said.
“Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up.
We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history!!!
Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country.“
Mr McCain, who would be the oldest ever first-term US president if elected in November, was speaking a day after running mate, Sarah Palin, electrified the convention floor with strong attacks on Democratic party rival Barack Obama, portraying herself as a “pit bull in lipstick”.
Several political pundits have since compared her with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Referring to Mrs Palin, Mr McCain said she would “shake up Washington” and that he could not wait to introduce her.
“Let me offer an advance warning to the old, big spending, do nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd,” he said.
“Change is coming. We need to change the way government does almost everything.”
Mr McCain, who has spent more than two decades in Washington, said: “The constant partisan rancour that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom.
“It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you.”
He added that as president he would “reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again”.
“I have that record and the scars to prove it,” he said.
“Senator Obama does not.
“We’re going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us – and I won’t care who gets the credit.”
It was a clear attempt to dismiss Mr Obama’s claim that Mr McCain would represent a third term of the failed policies of the Bush administration.
“I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you,” Mr McCain, a maverick whose campaign is reaching out to independents and swing voters, said.
President George Bush, probably one of the most unpopular presidents in the history of the USA , played a diminished role at this year’s convention in St Paul, Minnesota, appearing only briefly via satellite from the White House on Tuesday.
But Mr McCain paid tribute to him “for leading us in those dark days following the worst attack on American soil in our history”.