TIME

JOHN MCCAIN’S FINAL ACT

The late Senator reaches across the aisle one last time
McCain works the phones in his Senate office during the 2001 debate on his campaign-finance bill

THE TOWN CARS ARRIVED ONE BY ONE at Washington’s National Cathedral, delivering a procession of political dignitaries that spanned generations and ideological divides. Inside, Presidents, fellow members of Congress and former political rivals gathered to salute Senator John Sidney McCain III. They spoke of his military record and rebellious youth, cracked wise about his temper and his sense of humor, praised his bravery and decency.

By the end of a week of tributes, it was clear that Washington’s political class was mourning more than the passing of a friend. They were saying farewell to an era that McCain, who died on Aug. 25 at age 81 after a battle with brain cancer, had come to represent. The Arizona Republican was an American icon, a man whose six decades of public service were characterized by his fidelity to principle, his willingness to work with opponents and his distaste for the partisan posturing that mars our public life. “We never doubted the other man’s sincerity

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