November 5th, 2012
10:12 AM ET
6 years ago

McCain: Veterans' anger over Benghazi could affect election

(CNN) – With less than 24 hours to go until Election Day, Republican senator and former presidential nominee John McCain said he's seen unprecedented anger from veterans over the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that could influence Tuesday's election.

"I've been traveling all over the country and veterans are angry. They're angry; they're upset; they don't trust Barack Obama. There's 1.6 million of them in Florida, for example. I think they could have an impact on this election," said McCain appearing on CNN's Starting Point Monday.

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While conceding the focus of this election is jobs and the economy, McCain said "I've never seen veterans as upset and as angry as they are over Benghazi."

McCain, a war veteran himself, has been a high-profile voice in a powerful chorus critical of President Barack Obama's administration's handling of the attack in Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

"This cover up is worst that I've ever seen, either incompetence or cover up. There was no demonstration," he said. Critics have accused the administration of laying blame for the attack on mobs angered by an anti-Muslim movie and for failing to properly recognize the security threat in the region.

"There was no demonstration there," McCain repeated. "There was no hateful video and the Libyans called it right away and everybody knows it."

On a lighter note, the man who was in Republican nominee Mitt Romney's shoes this time four years ago and the last presidential candidate to faceoff with then-Illinois Sen. Obama said right now Romney is feeling the "adrenaline."

"You're going hard and you know really this is your last shot," said McCain of the final days of his presidential bid in 2008. "We certainly did know that in 2008 because we were aware of the polls but it's such an exciting and incredible experience. And how few people in history have ever had the opportunity."

Joking, the Arizona senator added:

"I have a line that I use all the time: After I lost, I slept like a baby: sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry"

–CNN's Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. quinLee

    The Benghazi situation was tragic. BUT as a veteran speaking for myself, lying to a nation and taking advantage of an unspeakable act that took thousands of innocent lives to start an unnecessary war that took thousands more of our brave men and women, is what angers me. But I should just forget about that–stop blaming Bush–that's the past–blah blah blah. The nitwits at Fox and the right have been running 24/7 coverage of Benghazi in efforts to compensate for their empty suit morphing candidate, hoping to continue to fool the weak minded. No that's tragic and a fracking disgrace. If you think you are hurting now, let Romney/Adelson/Norquist/et al win. Then you will see what FUBAR really means.

    November 5, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Reever

    It was NOT and embasy, it WAS as cover for CIA operations, which is why the public hasn't, isn't, and should NOT be recieving every bit of information. This is NATIONAL SECURTIY, it is PEOPLES LIVES, not just the ones who were lost but other undercover assests and agents! Anyone trying to politicize this is a TRAITOR of the highest order!

    November 5, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Tibby

    The people that are outraged over the Libya attack need to check their facts. Please stop getting your information from second hand sources. Getting information from so-called no-named intelligence officials is unacceptable which a lot of the reporting is coming from. What kind of credible lower level intelligence agent would give info to the press without prior approval. Either they are not intelligence agents or they are sympathetic to the republican agenda. Either way they can not be trusted.

    November 5, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. DENNA

    @truth hurts: Give it a rest. The only lies are the ones being broadcast, constantly, on Fox "News". Nowhere but on this one channel can you find these outrageous statements. If we could not protect our own people on our own turf on 9/11/2001, what makes you think we can control every little aspect in a foreign land. Maybe if we had had CIA on the gound and aware of this plot it could have been stopped. Our government does its best to protect our diplomats in foreign country, but sometimes the bad guys win. We do need to find a better way to protect our people or bring them home and we need to find out who did this and deal with them.

    November 5, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Concerned

    I don't blame veterans for being angry about the Libya Benghazi. I believe with every thing in me that this is a cover up and I doubt if Obama will ever come clean with what he knows about it.

    November 5, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. James C. Samans

    Little is more bizarre than the way that John McCain continues to think that he speaks for today's veterans. I appreciate that he's one of just a handful in Congress who ever served in uniform, but that was more than forty years ago in a different war under a conscript force. Lindsay Graham, as a current reservist, is far more likely to be plugged into the pulse of the troops than John McCain. McCain didn't even vote for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. All he seems to stand for is going to war.

    November 5, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Ali

    Really? You compare the first September 11th to Benghazi? For any person with common sense this incident is an absolutely different issue. With Clinton’s weakened CIA the intelligence was not where it should have been. In Benghazi case: there were 7 hours for the administration to get their ducks in a row and do something! As a contrast there was not a heads up before the twin-tower attack. In Benghazi there were people asking for help and an ambassador missing and the White House did nothing. Or if it did we don’t know what they did.
    The questions which do not need any investigation are very simple: when did the president find out, where was the president and the secretary of state when the conflict started, why did the white house say for 2 weeks the attack was a consequence of an online movie? Simple questions! If the president would be a republican would you ask him for an answer before reelection?

    November 5, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. giftedgirl77

    As half of a dual military family the person leaking this information is the one who should be charged. There are numerous violations encompassing releasing classified information. All of you that are screaming four people died need to consider how many survived.

    I am embarrassed to be associated with this nonsense. Where were you when thousands of soldiers were dying in Iraq under false pretenses?

    November 5, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. June Reed

    Senator McCain has ridden his P.O.W. horse way past death. His selection of such an ignorant person as Sarah Palin for VPOTUS is proof positive of where he places the importance and security his country. The Senator is no longer a contributor to America, only to himself and his generous ego. Please Senator, do us all a favor and move quietly into retirement.

    November 5, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. CJB

    The one indisputable fact is that the president lied. You are a fool to not wonder what he is covering up/ At the least, it was political so he could win the election. From the looks of everything, it appears to be more treasonous and if re-elected, he will be going through impeachment proceedings. All the vets I know are furious that a commander in chief would lie, and then appear weak to our enemies.

    November 5, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. Surviving Son

    I can't believe that that idiot MCain spoke for veterans. I'm not angry at Obama. I'm angry that McCain is looked at as a hero.

    November 5, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  12. Jim

    This old disabled vet thinks McCain is out of line.

    November 5, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. Jef

    The Great Benghazi Conspiracy ! Oh, really.

    November 6, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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