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John McCain death: Video resurfaces of moment US senator defended Barack Obama after a voter called him an Arab

This is the moment Senator John McCain defended his then-presidential campaign opponent Barack Obama when a voter referred to him as an Arab.

The clip, from the 2008 campaign, resurfaced after Mr McCain’s death on Saturday and has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

Author Stephen King said: “John McCain's finest moment (for me) came in 2008, when a woman at a rally referred to Obama as an Arab. 'No, ma'am,' McCain replied. 'He's a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.' That's manning up."

The resurfaced clip shows Mr McCain shutting down a Republican supporter after she said: “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, um, he’s an Arab.”

The moment John McCain defended his presidential campaign oponent Barack Obama after a woman referred to his as an Arab (AFP/Getty Images)
The moment John McCain defended his presidential campaign oponent Barack Obama after a woman referred to his as an Arab (AFP/Getty Images)

Taking the microphone from her Mr McCain 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 the campaign’s all about.”

At the time, his response was met with boos from the crowd.

Another clip shows Mr McCain addressing a supporter who said he was scared at the thought of an America being run by Mr Obama.

Republican John McCain embraces his wife Cindy following his second presidential debate with Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 (AFP/Getty Images)
Republican John McCain embraces his wife Cindy following his second presidential debate with Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 (AFP/Getty Images)

Mr McCain told him that his opponent was a “decent man” and that voters should not be afraid at having him as president but that ultimately, he would do a better job.

Mr McCain had requested that former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush deliver eulogies at his funeral. Former vice president Joe Biden, who he was friends with for more than 40 years despite being on opposing sides of the political spectrum, will also deliver a speech at a separate service honouring the senator in Arizona.

Barack Obama and John McCain greeting each other at the end of their final presidential debate in Hempstead, New York (AFP/Getty Images)
Barack Obama and John McCain greeting each other at the end of their final presidential debate in Hempstead, New York (AFP/Getty Images)

The Republican died on Saturday at the age of 81 after a battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The clip began recirculating shortly after his death. Singer-songwriter Bill Madden tweeted: “I'll always remember one John McCain's finest moments: In a packed auditorium full of Republican bigots, a woman w/the mic said abt [sic] Obama: "I have read abt him ... he's an Arab." McCain said "No, ma'am ... He's not." Something Trump would've NEVER had the human decency to do."

Stephanie Mickus said: “RIP Senator McCain. No man is perfect but you had more class & civil service in your pinky than Trump' whole body. In an era where tweets & rallies are so gross and awful, I fondly remember the day McCain stopped a lady from calling Obama an Arab & stood up for empirical truth.”

Mike Stuchbery said: “RIP John McCain. *A lot* to to said about him. For now, I just want to remember the '08 rally where he came to the defence of Obama over claims he was an 'Arab' - an act that seems decades old now.”

The Vietnam War veteran and political leader died just one day after his family said the he would be discontinuing medical treatment for his brain cancer.