November 5th, 2012
10:12 AM ET
5 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. Expat American

    Stop politicizing tragedy!
    What a horrible tactic.

    November 5, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. rs

    The facts- (not what's on FOX), are pretty clear- everyone did what they could, and Consulate staff were saved- there were deaths- tragic ones. But there was nothing that could have prevented that save leaving Libya.

    As to Veterans' anger- how about voting don the Veteran's Jobs Bill? How about reducig Combat Pay? How about voting against the GI Bill for higher educaton? The GOP did all those things.

    How about using the bravest Americans in useless wars- like he one in Iraq?

    How about spending the Vietnam War trying to convert the French?

    November 5, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. JeanneLH

    McCain is really turning into a bitter old man. He lost 4 years ago and has never recovered.

    November 5, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. DD

    McCain! shut your gob or you go suck on a sour grape.

    November 5, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    Grumpy old man needs to stop eating those sour grapes!

    "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."

    Yeah, because you're preaching to a bunch of like-minded mittens supporters who were there EXPRESSLY to whine about President Obama. Howsabout you go to a pro-Obama rally and talk to veterans there? I know quite a few vets who wouldn't vote for the challenger if he was the only candidate on the entire ballot.

    November 5, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. don in albuquerque

    I don't know Johnny, you keep getting elected. What was it they called you in POW camp--–Songbird wasn"t it?

    November 5, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    1.6 million veterans in FL, combined with the fact that FOX has been beating this story day and night for over a month, should have given Romney a huge edge in the state, which has not materialised. Maybe the reason why Romney has no decisive edge in FL is because they are paying more attention to the fact that Romney is ready to gut SS to pay for his tax cuts.

    November 5, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. MarineWill

    John I'm a veteran and I'm not upset at the President about Benghazi, I'm upset with the terrorist and those like you trying to gain political points on the graves of others. I supported you in the past and voted for you in 2008, but your time has past and you are damaging your legacy. Retire with some dignity.

    November 5, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Jay

    Mr. McCain, you lost the 2008 election. I think you lost because of your unwise decision to pick Palin and the general anger towards your party because of Bush. Please graciously accept it and quit the campaigning against Obama.

    November 5, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Kef14

    Sure McCain...keep telling people they should be angry when they aren't. The classic GOP move.

    November 5, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. GI Joe

    McCain is a bitter old loser. He needs to be put out to pasture.

    November 5, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Joey

    last call fear monger, let's make ppl think there's ppl out there that's still angry, after Sandy hit and theirs over a 100 ppl dead, but yet he's worried about Libya! old fool!

    November 5, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. joe d

    you lost to Obama bubbleface gimp go away gimpy....and you can go away mad...HAHAHAHA

    November 5, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. sofie

    It is a national security issue... McCain is still mad he lost his bid to be President... Please take several seats sir. Let the people decide who they think will be the best person to run the free world.... My vote is for the President... Agree or not with me I am sure we can ALL agree that McCain is reaching as FAR as he can on this one

    November 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. resawven

    Mccain GOP party hack has turned his back on veterans.

    Why is the GOP blocking veteranst jobs bill introduced by Obama?

    for GOP political gain the veterans suffer GOP party obstructionism.

    November 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Sean Duross

    Are they angry about Benghazi, or about Fox's misleading (i.e., lying) about Benghazi? Were veterans angry about the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut under Reagan? About Sept 11 under Bush's watchful eye? ("Bin Laden determined to strike in US" – can you imagine the right-wing uproar if Obama had been at the helm?) Intelligent people understand there are dozens of hotspots around the world that could erupt at any moment. They also understand an embassy asking for help is not like calling the fire department – they're not there in 5 mins (or 45 if you live in the ghetto ;-)). Of course, intelligent people will also see it was the GOP who cut the State Department's security budget (more important to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy). But then again, these are just the intelligent people...

    November 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Martha in CF

    McCain-did the veterans also remember 9/11. Bush appeared to have early warning of that......Don't trust YOU McCain

    November 5, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. NameChi

    This all McCaine cares about, americans r sad about the deaths of the 4 americans but where is his outrage about tbe thousands of other americans, every thing military is all he cares about,,, Retire Please!!!!

    November 5, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. Tabeth

    I have never seen someone that hates Obama like Mac Cain.
    If he passes will he be received the other side?

    November 5, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. jb1963

    some body up he dose of Valium. He is getting delusional again.

    This guy only knows WAR and DEATH.

    November 5, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. IVOTE

    Time for McCain to return to Arizona and look for his wife. He needs to stop lying.

    November 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. bisoncookie

    7 BIG REASONS TO GET OBAMA OUT: * Benghazi * Lack of Jobs * National Deficit * Fast and Furious * Our Children's Future * Socialized Medicine * American Exceptionalism

    November 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Lynn

    Veterans anger is misplaced. Ambassador Stevens knew 9/11 anniversary was soon, with the possible dangers of attacks by the radicals. Why didn't he get out of town instead of waiting to be told to leave? If your building was on fire, would you wait for your boss to say it was OK to leave? How stupid if he waited for permission.

    November 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. CitizenAJ

    Senator McCain, where was your outraged when the President of the United States lied to the American people and the world to justify an invasion of a sovereign country, a strategic blunder when it came to the war on terrorism? Where was these so-called 1.6 millions veterans then, putting U.S. warfighters in harms way over a lie? Senator McCain, you lost credibility with American people when you came out with a campaign slogan of "Country First", yet picked a ding bat to be your VP, a heart beat away from the Presidency IF you had been elected. Please, retire, enjoy your 7 homes and 11 cars. Stop talking, stop politiking. You need to be put in a glass case, marked "break in case of war". Go away "Maverick", oh yeah, after campaigning in 2008 saying you and your sidekick were a couple of "Mavericks", you came back in 2010 saying you were not. You sound like the current republican nominee.

    November 5, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. James

    The anger that McCain and co. are almost single-handedly responsible for riling up. I think he's just hoping that his sad tactics are actually working. It's really sad because I used to have respect for McCain before he sold out his ideals in the 2008 election.

    November 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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