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Where did it all go wrong? That is what John McCain must be wondering after his White House dreams ended in tatters.

The Arizona Senator was gracious in defeat, acknowledging the significance of his rival’s victory.

McCain told supporters in Phoenix that he alone was responsible for the way things had turned out.

“This is an historic election. We fought as hard as we could. And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours,” he said.

But does the blame lie elsewhere? Some point to his running mate, Sarah Palin.

A series of scandals and perceived gaffes made by the self-proclaimed “hockey mom” helped erase the initial euphoria she triggered. Some questioned whether the Alaska Governor was up to stepping in as president in case of an emergency.

But, for many analysts there is another explanation for John McCain’s defeat, with the feeling that the cards were stacked against him from the start.

“This election, above all, was a complete repudiation of the Bush presidency,” said political analyst Allan J. Lichtman. “American elections are basically votes up or down on the performance of the party holding the White House and basically Americans said loud and clear they don’t like the way the country has been governed over the last four years.”

In 2000, George W. Bush put paid to John McCain’s presidential bid by beating him in the Republican primaries. Eight years on, it seems, Bush has again contributed to his colleague’s White House hopes falling flat.