McCain starts mapping out a new role in the Senate

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McCain concedes race

PHOENIX (AP) -- John McCain's already begun discussing with senior aides what role he'll play in the Senate -- now that he's promised to work with the man who defeated him for president.

One obvious focus will be the war in Iraq. After two years spent more on the campaign than in the Senate, McCain will return as the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee. That will put the four-term Arizona senator in a position to influence Democrat Barack Obama's plan to set a timetable to withdraw troops from combat in Iraq.

During the campaign, McCain staunchly opposed setting such a time frame, even as the Iraqi government began working with the Bush administration to do so.

But in conceding the presidency to Obama last night, McCain pledged to do all in his power to help Obama "lead us through the many challenges we face."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)