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. nvorr

    Ask McCain why, to this day, he fights to uphold legislation to keep the facts of Vietnam from the American people.

    November 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    John McCain, please don't insult my deceased brother who did 2 tours in Vietnam during the time you were in prison and I'm not saying you aren't a hero, I'm just saying you don't speak for every Vet.

    November 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Wes

    Very clear to me that obama lied, claiming a video caused the Benghazi disaster. obama is a pathetic liar, the worst President in my 50 years.

    November 5, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. LAguy

    Gee I wonder where he is meeting all these "angry veterans"? At a Romney rally where they are already angry about Obama. Duh.. Hardly a cross section of anything. I'm a veteran and for the life of me I have no clue why my particular subgroup would be any more or less incensed about Benghazi than anyone else.

    November 5, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. just sayin

    it is a shame that those 4 americans had to die. it was totally preventable. it is the price they and this country pay for electing an inexperienced and incompetent president. the total dead directly attributable to the obama administration incompetence is now in the hundreds. i guess if it was democrat senators sons dying they would say something. otherwise complete silence.

    November 5, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Will

    I doubt any REAL veterans (besides the pencil pushing officers who hand out near the rear) care about the CIA plants who were doing nothing but putting them in danger by being in that part of the world.

    November 5, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Tony in Maine

    I'd be angry too if I thought President Obama watched the attack in real time on al Jazeera and did nothing more than ask for another deep fried kitten. What is sad is that people believe this crap spewing from the right and even sadder that a one time hero is pandering to the morons spewing it.

    November 5, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Deez

    McCain is unhinged. I haven't heard a positive comment come out of his mouth in years. I would love for him to come up with an actual constructive suggestion rather than just sitting atop his rant/hate box.

    November 5, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Observer

    How about the war in Iraq . The lies that led us to the war. Many wounded and dead. Where is the outrage?

    November 5, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Deez

    Wes, "the worst President in my 50 years."

    How can people forget Bush? His approval rating was one of the lowest ever and he sent the country into debt building wars and an economic and housing depression. That just happened a few years ago. Why don't people remember that?

    November 5, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. truth hurts

    Many Americans endanger their lives on a daily basis with the understanding that their country will do everything it can to come to their aid should they need help. The Obama administration BROKE that covenant in Benghazi when they let these 4 Americans die when they could have sent military forces that were 2 hours away. Our military is TRAINED to rush into dangerous situations and get the job done. They are NOT trained to sit idly by and watch 4 Americans be slaughtered at the hands of AQ. The Obama adminstration has done more to undermine our military than any president in history.

    Then they LIED about it for weeks and continue to lie about it. Our country and our military is doomed if Obama is re-elected.

    November 5, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. Martin Snapp

    The veterans' anger over Benghazi is NOTHING compared to McCain's seething anger over being beaten by Obama in 2008. Talk about a sore loser!

    November 5, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Beverly - NYC

    Poor John still bitter after all theseyears ! I think those veterans would be more upset about the lies told by Bush to get us into 2 un-necessary wars what about the lives of Americans lost in those wars? BTW did you also dicuss your rcent vote againt the Veterns jobs bill Marverick?

    November 5, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. mk1

    As a vet myself, every time McCain opens his mouth he embarrasses himself and all other vets. This man has no business supposedly speaking for vets or speaking as if he has a clue what they think.

    November 5, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. alicia

    veterans are angry alright but not about benghazi!!!! They are angry at unjust wars, republicans lumping them in the 47% , sending them to war and bringing them back to hoplesness, cutting veteran aid, shall i go on? Mccain you sir do not speak for the military folks I know!

    November 5, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Jojola

    Once again, McCain is using Karl Rove's scar tactic 101 handbook to try and cite fear among vets. Like we are to really believe he spoke with millions of vets in Florida. Nice try old man but we are not buying it! It didn't work for you and it will not work for Romney.

    November 5, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Jojola

    Once again, McCain is using Karl Rove's scare tactic 101 handbook to try and cite fear among vets. Like we are to really believe he spoke with millions of vets in Florida. Nice try old man but we are not buying it! It didn't work for you and it will not work for Romney.

    November 5, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Rachel

    I am not a fan of McCain but on this one he right smack on.

    November 5, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. bb

    Clearly, John McCain is a bitter old man with unresolved anger issues from the beating he took from President Obama in 2008.

    November 5, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. CBP

    Perhaps the retired Generals are talking once again. Sen. McCain is probably close to many of them. However, over the last few years Sen. McCain has been touted as an expert even when he has made some controversial statements. Not sure who he is speaking for but in our day service members did not make political statements. Even during VietNam a military member could be in trouble for speaking out. Interesting that Sen. McCain now feels that it is okay to do so. I wonder if he would be so accepting if he had been elected President and a candidate said this about him..

    Generally speaking, they do not have the same views as the enlisted men or other officers. Very few ever vote for a Democrat. Certainly they got angry when Jimmy Carter nominated a more junior Admiral named Zumwalt. Mr. Bush certainly had a Chief of Staff who agreed with everything he said. We got into a little trouble over that because of WMD. Colin Powell stands out as someone who is his own man. He os not too proud to admit that he was mistaken.

    Saw too many generals during the 20 or so years as a member of a military family. As in all walks of life there are the good, the bad and the indifferent.

    November 5, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Wake up People!

    I truly can't understand how ANY veterans can support the GOP. It's bad enough that Bush, Cheney and Rummy lied to get us to go to war. Then so many of their comrades died or were maimed, and this still went on for years. Enter President Obama, who vows to end the wars. One has ended and the other is winding down, yet you support the GOP?? They are the reason you're in the predicament you're in right now. Then the GOP picks a draft dodging nominee with (5) adult sons and NEITHER of any of them have even considered serving in the military. Also why did they shoot down the Presidents jobs bill for vets??

    I really don't understand voting for party over people. I also refuse to reward the traitors that put us in this position.

    OBAMA 2012!

    November 5, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Charlie O

    I'm a veteran. John MC CAIN IS LYING. Any warrior that knows his history and the truth about our middle east problems, know that the consulate, always traveled with a light security detail.
    He traveled light, because he felt the people would see to it that no harm would come to him and his team, because he saw himself as their savior.
    It was the republicans who took away over 300 million dollars from the security budget..

    November 5, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Lenny

    Bitter old fool.

    November 5, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Rachel

    CIA Timeline Confirms: Woods and Doherty Killed in Benghazi 7Hrs After WH Told of Attack; Commercial Airliner Can Fly From London to Libya and Back in That Time

    November 5, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. pcalif

    McCain has become an old man who appears to have a recording under his shirt, much like dolls. People make excuses for him based on his war service and POW status. That was 40 some years ago. He is not a nice man and he gets away with extreme behavior that he shouldn't be allowed to. The answer of course, is to ignore him but the Republicans pour millions into his flak-face status.

    November 5, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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