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McCain vows to "change" Washington

world Updated: Sep 05, 2008 11:40 IST

Promising to usher in "change" in the country's ruling establishment, Republican John McCain on Thursday accepted the US Presidential nomination, saying he would mark a break from politicians who go to Washington "to work for themselves" and not for the nation.

Seeking to mitigate Democratic rival Barack Obama's assertion that a McCain victory would force upon the Americans another four years of the Bush regime, the 72-year old vowed to undo the "partisan rancour" that characterises the political establishment.

"We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy... We have to change the way we do business in Washington," McCain said borrowing a leaf from Obama's call for change.

"The constant partisan rancour that stops us from solving the problems isn't a cause. It's a symptom. It's what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not for you," the Arizona Senator added.

Defending his support to the unpopular 2007 troop surge in Iraq, the war veteran said he had backed the "right strategy", because winning the war is more important than winning an election.

"I've fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq when it wasn't the popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I'd rather lose an election than see my country lose a war," McCain said, lauding general David Petraeus and other "brave men and women who rescued us" from a demoralising defeat in Iraq.