Obama and Bush were reportedly surprised when asked to eulogize McCain

Two of John McCain’s one-time political rivals will be delivering eulogies at his funeral on Saturday, and both were reportedly surprised to be asked to do so, notes CNN.

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had been his opponents in often brutal races for the high office—Bush in 2000 primary and Obama in the 2008 presidential election. 

According to CNN, their invitations to speak at the service were extended in the spring by McCain personally. The media outlet further notes, “neither of the two former presidents were especially close to McCain in life.” 

“I think it is John McCain imparting a lesson in civility by asking the two men who defeated him to speak, as an example to America that differences in political views and contests shouldn’t be so important that we lose our common bonds and the civility that is, or used to be, a hallmark of American democracy,” Steve Duprey, a longtime friend of the late Senator, told the network.

Tributes pour in for Sen. John McCain
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Tributes pour in for Sen. John McCain

 Arizona Sen. John McCain's family announced on Friday, August 24, 2018 that he had discontinued medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

**Click through the following slides to see how politicians and well-known figures are paying tribute to him.**

(Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

John McCain personifies service to our country. The whole House is keeping John and his family in our prayers during this time.
I love my husband with all of my heart. God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey. https://t.co/v27sEbboii
Very sad to hear this morning’s update from the family of our dear friend @SenJohnMcCain. We are so fortunate to ca… https://t.co/B2hNCUeEHW
Today, we received the sad news of @SenJohnMcCain’s decision. Courageous and heroic as ever. A national treasure. O… https://t.co/yGl0h0tqVa
To @SenJohnMcCain: Thank you. Thank you with all of my heart for your commitment to our country, your inspiration,… https://t.co/LHC3ZUTNdf
God bless John McCain, his family, and all who love him — a brave man showing us once again what the words grace an… https://t.co/6vnvicltPy
Prayers for @SenJohnMcCain and his family at this most trying time 🙏🏻 May comfort and peace envelope them. May my f… https://t.co/3kd8O59s68
No man this century better exemplifies honor, patriotism, service, sacrifice, and country first than Senator John M… https://t.co/4lVX9otX1O
John McCain is going to finish the race the way he has done everything in his life, his way and on his terms. May G… https://t.co/0cwjppGGry
I’m praying for @SenJohnMcCain and his family during this time. Our nation continues to be grateful for his lifetim… https://t.co/8vwpUURChJ
Heartbreaking news this morning about my friend @SenJohnMcCain. Please join me in saying a prayer for John,… https://t.co/VRm4LohIcv
Sad to hear that @SenJohnMcCain has stopped medical treatment, but no one can deny his faithful service to our nati… https://t.co/hnrEvdFZvl
We are praying for you every day, John. We love you. Thank you for your courage, and for your extraordinary service… https://t.co/Tfx6CQG74Q
My thoughts and prayers are with Senator McCain and his family. https://t.co/cqHXdjJntj
God bless and keep this wonderful man and his family @SenJohnMcCain
Our prayers are with John and the wonderful McCain family today. https://t.co/ufEuUkKhT3
I just want to acknowledge the continuing and abiding love, care, and dedication that Cindy McCain and the family a… https://t.co/JJ2p9rHhCp
The entire McCain clan is doing exactly what the McCains have done through generations — rise to the meet the challenge.
Elizabeth and I are saddened to hear the news about our friend, John McCain. John is a great American hero who has… https://t.co/XnugFmmGwJ
.@SenJohnMcCain is an American hero. Angela and I send our prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy and the entire McCain f… https://t.co/NkqlzziXP7
Senator McCain is a friend and hero. God bless him and his family. https://t.co/Dyel4eBvjS
One of the true honors of my life has been having @SenJohnMcCain as a friend & mentor. He’s a true American hero. H… https://t.co/NinmhEX9Bp
Sending my prayers to @SenJohnMcCain and his family. Nobody fights harder than the Maverick.
Amazed at the unwavering strength of my friend and colleague, @SenJohnMcCain. My thoughts and prayers are with John… https://t.co/Jw67rvFY6H
May the prayers and affection of his country, and of friends around the world, surround John and his beloved family… https://t.co/UeKiOIOpF9

Obama and Bush released statements following their former rival’s passing. 

“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did,” Obama said, in part. “But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt.” 

In his statement, Bush wrote, “Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order.” 

McCain passed away on August 25 after a battle with brain cancer. 

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