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*On this date in 2008, white-American politician John McCain publicly defended the religious and ethnic identity of Barack Obama.
During the 2008 American Presidential campaign, there was a highly-charged open meeting in a high school gymnasium in Lakeville, Minn. There was a growing public display of fear and unease over Obama in which Republicans at McCain and Sarah Palin events expressed similar frustrations. This was their exasperation at the prospect of a Black senator becoming president and their nominee not doing enough to prevent it.
Fearing the raw and, at times, angry emotions of his supporters may damage his campaign, McCain, on that day, urged them to tone down their increasingly personal denunciations. Each time he tried to cool the crowd, he was rewarded with boos.
McCain passed his wireless microphone to one woman who said, "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him, and he's not, he's not uh, he's an Arab. He's not" before McCain retook the microphone and replied: "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."
McCain promised the audience he wouldn’t back down but again sought to tamp down emotions. "We want to fight, and I will fight," McCain said. "But I will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments and I will respect him." "I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity," he added over the jeers. "I just mean to say you have to be respectful."