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Crowd members wave signs of "Service" for GOP nominee Sen. John McCain at the Republican National (Rolando Arrieta, NPR)

RNC Backstage Pass: Listening to McCain

Sep 4, 2008

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Reported by

Michel Martin

... Nearing the end of John McCain's speech.

Right now, I feel privileged to have been here to see it, and indeed privileged to have heard both his and Barack Obama's speech.

This one is as remarkable in its own way — gracious, tough, leaving nothing on the table.

There are not so many tears here, there were moments of near silence, which is a remarkable thing in a hall of 20,000 people. There are many lumps in the throat as a room full of men used to holding things in heard their truth spoken out loud.

Both men (Obama and McCain) called this country and its people to its best self — something grander and more remarkable than we might even imagine. They have very different visions about how to get there, but in the end they both offer a call to decency, a call to service, a call to put others above self.

Will we listen? ... And to whom?

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