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. MikesOpinion

    I am a vet, and the only vets I know that are angry over Benghazi are the vets that sit in front of Fox News 24 a day, foaming at the mouth.

    November 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are proven failures!

    Grumpy McCain is making this up. I don't see how veterans could be so angry at President Obama when he has done more for vets than Bush ever did; Obama got us out of Iraq and is getting us responsibly out of Afghanistan; Obama gave the kill order to take out Bin Laden; Obama has done so much and is so supportive of military families.

    This is just another example of McCain trying to turn people off from voting – and try to get elected Mittens who would "bomb, bomb Iran."

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    November 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Sniffit

    Aaaw, grandpa needs somethign to cling to so he can sleep tonight....

    November 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. TPF

    This is a HUGE COVER UP and our President and Secretary of State should both resign.

    November 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Darlis

    where was "security" for thousands of our brave young people who were killed needlessly in Iraq? where is
    the outcry against Bush and Cheney and the others who misled this country? This is the same Cheney who Romney
    refers to as an "American Treasure" !! it is old men who start wars, young men fight them.. and often die for no good reason.... think, people.. think!

    November 5, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Anne

    The lack of respect from everyday Americans for others – ON BOTH SIDES – in this election is DISGUSTING. Guess what? If you can't make your point without insulting someone else, you probably don't have much of a point to begin with. Also, RR '12.

    November 5, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. hfranqui

    I'm a veteran and I know plenty of them and neither them nor me are angry with the president or mistrust him because of Benghazi.
    But I do know that FOX news plays ad nauseum in military bases and that sadly too many veterans watch Faux news- which has a 25/7 campaign against the president. These veterans have been betrayed- yes- but by Faux News and by a Republican Party that routinely votes against veterans benefits- from the GI Bill in 1944 to a reintegration into civilian life bill more recently.

    November 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Richard Marks

    Still just "Insane McCain" and his mindless babbling. Forget BENGHAZI: nobody cares! Unless, of course, you republicans want to remember 9-11 and which part the drooling, babbling idiot George W. Bush (and his party) played in that disaster. Republicans have a LOT of nerve to ramble on and on about the non-issue of Benghazi when over 3000 died that day in September under their incompetent watch!

    November 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. pete

    That anger should be offset by the fact that they don't have to be deployed to Iraq anymore. Stuff it, McCain, most veterans aren't as fickle as you.

    November 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Curt

    Is there some reason I've never heard any republicans make accusations like this against Bush and Guiliani after the Sept. 11th attacks that killed thousands ?

    November 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. mcc

    Darn straight they are angry – and not only the Vets... the families and friends of the Vets as well! NO WAY we will trust our kid's lives to this murderer in the White House!! If he is voted in again because of the welfare momma bus loads going into the polls – then it is time for the miltiary to lay down their arms as soon as it is legal for them to do so (do not reenlist) – and GET OUT!). Let obama go put his own kids on the front line to be shot and maimed!

    November 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. bill pike

    I am a vet--and want obama IMPEACHED for 1. not even trying to save our troops and 2. the cover up-susan rice said it all 5 days later with "it was not a terrorist attack it was a demonstration over a video". Some know that FRANK DAVIS shaped obama's ideas on government but this out right lie-nixon got nailed for just the coverup at watergate-obama caused 4 of our troops to die because he would not send in our troops to help "mr. president when you needed us to kill bin laden we were there for you but when we needed you to help us you turned your back".

    signed: bill pike, vets to IMPEACH OBAMA

    November 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. RON

    McCain has gone from a hero to a jerk and sounds like they should make another movie "GRUMPY OLD MEN " and he could star in it. I am glad he was defeated when he ran for President. We would be four or five wars if he had won.

    November 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. giftedgirl77

    As part of an active dual military family I will say the only thing we're embarrassed by is the way the Republican Party is trying to use this to their advantage.

    What I also want to see is the person that is leaking pieces of investigation charged for obstruction of justice an treason.

    I also want John McCain to apologize to veterans for using us a political tool. For all of you that keep screaming four dead deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan a couple of times nd learn the real meaning of dead. Not just something you want to scream from a soap box.

    November 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are proven failures!

    McCain and all you other GOPers accusing President Obama of "letting Americans die" in the attack in Benghazi, how did you feel about GW Bush when the following happened:

    2002-U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan -10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan – 2 killed -several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia – 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria – 1 killed several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens- building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy -Serbia – 1 dead -Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    November 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Sam

    Says the old veteran always angry about (insert manufactured political "scandal" of the day).

    November 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Jean Sartre

    Wednesday morning, November 7, 2012 McCain can sleep like a baby: sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry some more... because Weird Willard and Lyin' Ryan are going down!

    November 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. bman

    How about this, Americans are angry over soldiers questioning their leadership.

    November 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Kennedy Danga

    This OLD man should retire and go o take some rest in Arazona.

    November 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are proven failures!

    Hey, Grumpy McCain, where was your vitriol when Republicans voted to CUT embassy security funding by $300 million – including your party's VP nominee, Lyin' Ryan?

    Google Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz for more info, including this quote by him on why he vetoed the request: "And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you’re in tough
    economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this."

    November 5, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. JEN

    hey bill pike, what about those men and women who died in a war that didn't have to happen??? What about their families, do you think they are mad at Bush??? Maybe we should of impeached Bush!!!

    November 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Bill

    John McCain used to have a good character. But, now, he seems to be someone whose only goal is to remove the President from office. Funny how the unified strategy of the Republicans to remove Obama was started the day he won the Presidency. If only the Republicans cared as much about the country as they do their super rich masters how much could have been accomplished. Sadly, only the wealthy will do well under the Republican traitors.

    November 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. James Planter (Iraq Vet Kirkuk 2003-04)

    This vet is voting Romney....Obama a disaster for vets-took over two years for my VA Benefits and now my Tri-Care for life is going up through the roof. VA is a total disaster and NO ONE in this administration i doing anything about it. They still owe me money andI'm getting no answers.

    Regards to Libya...Look at a map. Sigonella Air Base, Italy and then Libya....literally tons of assets ready to support operations over Libya and only minutes flight time away.

    Fellow Vet McCain is right–every Vet I know is voting Romney (and some voted Obama last time). PS we are all in Florida

    November 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Bob

    We always knew Johnny Crash was a crybaby.

    November 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. Bermille

    It's only republican spin that keeps this story alive, otherwise people do not care about this topic even vets. Many vets want to come home and are more worried about republicans not helping them find a job when they come home to a red state.

    November 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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