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John McCain

John McCain

(CBS/AP) John McCain appeared Thursday night before a cheering crowd at the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, and began the final stage of his presidential campaign, which many had once considered doomed to failure.

“Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans — the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for President of the United States,” McCain said as the crowd broke into chants of “USA! USA!”

“And I accept it with gratitude, humility and confidence,” McCain said.

(Read the full text of McCain’s speech)

Republican elephant

Republican elephant

McCain, a POW turned political rebel, vowed Thursday night to vanquish the “constant partisan rancor” that grips Washington as he launched his fall campaign for the White House. “Change is coming,” he promised the roaring Republican National Convention and a prime-time television audience. 

“Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country,” he urged in a convention crescendo. 

To repeated cheers from his delegates, McCain made only passing reference to an unpopular George W. Bush and criticized fellow Republicans as well as Democratic rival Barack Obama in reaching out to independents and swing voters who will pick the next president.

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