Obama: I never tried to hide the admiration I had for John McCain

Barack Obama said being asked to speak at John McCain's funeral was a 'precious and singular honor', but joked he had worked out why he and Bush - his political opponents - had been asked.

'What a better way to get a last laugh than to get George and I to say nice things about him to a national audience,' he said, lightening an otherwise emotional tribute.

Obama and McCain were both in the race to become President in 2008, and though the democratic candidate won, the pair made headlines for how quickly they sat down after the election to find ways to work together.

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Former President Barack Obama delivered a touching eulogy to Republican Senator John McCain on Saturday (pictured)

Former President Barack Obama delivered a touching eulogy to Republican Senator John McCain on Saturday (pictured)

The pair were pitted against each other for the Presidency in 2008 (pictured in 2008)  and while Obama won the race, the pair quickly sat down to decide how they would work together

The pair were pitted against each other for the Presidency in 2008 (pictured in 2008)  and while Obama won the race, the pair quickly sat down to decide how they would work together

'We come to celebrate an extraordinary man. A warrior, a statesman, a patriot, who embodied so much that is best in America,' he said. 

'President Bush and I are among the fortunate few who competed against John at the highest level of politics.

'He made us better Presidents, as he made the Senate better, as he made the country better.'

The former President said McCain's version of politics was cleaner than the one seen today, and more respectful. 

'So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty,' he said. 

'Trafficking in bombast and insult, and phony

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