"In America, we've got to learn to disagree without demonizing each other and we need to restore civility -- Yes. We need to restore civility in our civil discourse."-- Pastor Rick Warren, CNN Transcript: Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum, August 17, 2008.
"... we must applaud Senator Barack Obama's sticking to his promise about being a new kind of presidential candidate who refuses to attack his opponent with the mudslinging that has characterized American politics for most of its history (and that is the centerpiece of Senator John McCain’s campaign)".-- Eric Chivian, New York Times Letter: Obama's Costly Shifts, August 17, 2008.
Comment: This is a dubious assertion, that Obama's campaign lives up to a higher standard of civil debate while McCain's does not (more, that taking the low road is "the centerpiece" of McCain's presidential campaign).
"While it is true that negative politicking often works, in this election it also serves to accentuate Barack Obama's message of change. Many people are tired of the Karl Rove-like tactics currently being employed by John McCain's campaign. This can only be good news for Mr. Obama."-- Thilo Weissflog, New York Times Letter: The Candidates and Their Metaphors, August 7, 2008.
Comment: This is a dubious assertion, that Obama's campaign lives up to a higher standard of civil debate while McCain's does not. Also note the allegation of negative politics.
"As the general election begins, let us remember our obligation to honor the highest values of our democracy and conduct this campaign in a spirit of respect for the Republican nominee."-- Former Vice President Al Gore (D), CNN Transcript: Al Gore Endorses Barack Obama, June 16, 2008.
"For too long, now, Washington has been consumed by a hyper-partisanship that treats every serious challenge facing us as an opportunity to trade insults; disparage each other's motives; and fight about the next election. For all the problems we face, if you ask Americans what frustrates them most about Washington, they will tell you they don't think we're capable of serving the public interest before our personal and partisan ambitions ... Their patience is at an end for politicians who value ambition over principle, and for partisanship that is less a contest of ide as than an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power. They want to change not only the policies and institutions that have failed the American people, but the political culture that produced them. ... There are serious issues at stake in this election, and serious differences between the candidates. And we will argue about them, as we should. But it should remain an argument among friends; each of us struggling to hear our conscience, and heed its demands; each of us, despite our differences, united in our great cause, and respectful of the goodness in each other. That is how most Americans treat each other. And it is how they want the people they elect to office to treat each other. ... I'm not interested in partisanship that serves no other purpose than to gain a temporary advantage over our opponents. This mindless, paralyzing rancor must come to an end. We belong to different parties, not different countries. We are rivals for the same power. But we are also compatriots. We are fellow Americans, and that shared distinction means more to me than any other association. ... There is a time to campaign, and a time to govern. If I'm elected President, the era of the permanent campaign will end. The era of problem solving will begin. I promise you, from the day I am sworn into office until the last hour of my presidency, I will work with anyone, of either party, to make this country safe, prosperous and proud. And I won't care who gets the credit."-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Four Year Vision for America, May 15, 2008.
Comment: McCain also engages in some "uniting the country" rhetoric, here.