In a prime-time speech designed to upstage Obama on the night he claimed the Democratic nomination, McCain began what top aides and other Republicans promise will be an aggressive effort to claim the mantles of reform, experience and mainstream values. McCain said that Obama has never taken the hard but right course of risking his own interests for yours, of standing against the partisan rancour on his side to stand up for our country, The Washington Post reported.
McCain began his speech by praising Senator Hillary Clinton, who in the Democratic primary race won over many rural and working-class voters that McCain hopes to capture in November.
"As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend," McCain said. Two McCain aides said his speech was the beginning of a great debate on the direction of the country.
Confronting what his aides expect to be Obama's principal attack against him, McCain explicitly rejected the idea that he represents President Bush's third term.
"Why does Senator Obama believe it's so important to repeat that idea over and over again?" he asked.
"Because he knows it's very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false," he added.