PHOENIX, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Republican candidate John McCain conceded the presidential race Tuesday to Democrat Barack Obama, saying the U.S. voters "have spoken clearly."
Obama became the first African American to be elected U.S. president by "inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president," McCain said from the grounds of the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.
McCain said he wanted to recognize the "special significance" the election has for African-Americans.
"I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too," he said. "But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound."
He told the crowd he pledged "to do all in my power to help him lead us in the many challenges we face" and to help bridge the differences that emerged during the campaign
"Whatever our differences," McCain said, "we are fellow Americans."
McCain also recognized his wife Cindy, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and her husband Todd, who were on stage with the Arizona senator.
"We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country," he said.
McCain said he held in his heart "nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama."
Echoing themes he he used during the campaign, McCain closed by saying: "Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history."