President-elect Barack Obama is calling his former rival John McCain an American hero who set a standard of patriotism and bipartisanship for all to follow.
Obama praised McCain at a Monday night dinner in Washington honoring the Republican senator from Arizona whom Obama defeated in the November election.
"I'm here tonight to say a few words about an American hero who I have come to know very well and admire very much -- Senator McCain," Obama began, according to a Reuters report.
"And then, according to the rules agreed to by both parties, John will have approximately thirty seconds to make a rebuttal," he joked.
Despite the two's campaign criticisms of each other, Obama called for help "in making this bipartisan dinner not just an inaugural tradition, but a new way of doing the people's business in this city."
Still, Obama said that he would not be surprised if the two butted heads in the future.
"John is not known to bite his tongue and if I'm screwing up, he's going to let me know. And that's how it should be," he said.
Obama also spent Monday night honoring Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.