By Alexander BoltonÂ -The Hill
Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, formally dubbed Mitt Romney as his successor Wednesday evening and declared a Romney victory vital to the nationâ€™s standing in the world.
McCain embraced the candidacy of the man he defeated in the 2008 GOP primaries, and condemned President Obama for not doing more to avert $1 trillion in defense cuts or support democratic uprisings in the Middle East.
Four years ago, McCainâ€™s campaign effectively dismantled Romneyâ€™s first White House bid by painting him as a flip flopper without conviction.
On Wednesday, McCain said he had come to terms with his defeat at Obamaâ€™s hands and urged Republicans to rally behind Romney.
â€œI had hopes once of addressing you under different circumstances. But our fellow Americans had another plan four years ago, and I accept their decision,â€ he told the throng of delegates.
McCain delivered a strong argument for preserving the United Statesâ€™ exceptional leadership role and offered a forceful criticism of Obamaâ€™s record.
â€œWhat Mitt Romney knows, and what we know, is that our success at home also depends on our leadership in the world,â€ McCain said.
â€œIt is our willingness to shape world events for the better that has kept us safe, increased our prosperity, preserved our liberty and transformed human history. At our best, America has led.â€
Not all the Republican delegates share McCainâ€™s vision of a muscular American foreign policy. Delegates for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who has advocated a more isolationist approach, walked off the floor during his address.
Itâ€™s not clear if the Paul delegates intended to send a message to McCain or whether it was in protest of the Republican National Committeeâ€™s decision to unseat elected pro-Paul delegates in the Maine delegation.
They circulated the concourse of the arena chanting: â€œAs Maine goes so goes the nation.â€
McCain has emerged as one of Obamaâ€™s harshest critics in the Senate, and stayed true to form by broadly panning the presidentâ€™s record on foreign policy and national security.
He suggested Obama has been a weak ally of Israel and subtly rebuked the administration for leaking classified information to the media on national security.
He said Obama should have done more to aide the pro-democratic uprising in Iran and the revolution in Syria, warning the presidentâ€™s approach has betrayed the values of the nation and encouraged despots abroad.
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