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McCain praises Obama speech: 'Still got a long way to go' on race

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McCain praises Obama speech: 'Still got a long way to go' on race

U.S. Sen. John McCain called on lawmakers across the country, including in Arizona, to review the Stand Your Ground law that allowed George Zimmerman to walk free in the days after he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and conceded that the country still has “a long way to go” towards achieving full equality for African Americans.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, McCain described Stand Your Ground as “very controversial legislation” and rejected GOP claims that rolling it back could lead to more “gun control.” Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama called for a review of the laws, which authorize the use of deadly force and the right to “stand your ground” in fear of death, bodily harm, and even a forcible felony.

The senator also praised the remarks Obama delivered about the Zimmerman case on Friday, calling them “very impressive” and pledging to meet with more African American and Hispanic groups in Arizona. “I need Americans to talk to their friends and neighbors, not just those on their block or in their circle of friends,” he said.

Noting that the city of Detroit, home to many African Americans, just filed for bankruptcy, McCain said that Americans “cannot be complacent in our society when we still have a dramatic disparity between black youth unemployment and non-black youth unemployment when we still have these contradictions in our society.” He also called on lawmakers to “continue and emphasize affirmative action programs.”

“If you can salvage anything about this national …. clash of ideas, of thoughts about this Trayvon Martin case, it is that we’ve still got a long way to go, and I think the president very appropriately highlighted a lot of that yesterday, as only a president of the United States can,” he said.

This article was published by the Center for American Progress.

Igor Volsky is the Managing Editor of

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