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. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are proven failures!

    @giftedgirl77: Thank you for your post and thank you for your service! I also come from a military family (going back three generations) and am disgusted by how Republicans (mostly chicken hawks) try to use veterans for political gain.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

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

    bill pike

    I am a vet–and want obama IMPEACHED

    Dream on, punk. You ain't a veteran of NOTHING.

    November 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. 4mofo44

    Bill Pike,
    Guess what? People in hell want ice water!!!

    November 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. Peace

    McCain should go and take a nap. The more he talks, the more he becomes irrelevant. Now Benghazi has become like a song to GOP with their Fox News tuning it every minute.

    November 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Hogan's Goat

    FOX should not be allowed to make wild accusations about this and present them as fact to a bunch of childish military men who see everything in terms of attacks. Maybe it's about time to prosecute them for lying?

    November 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. Edward Thomas

    McCain, you're full of crap. I'm a vet too, I'm not unhappy. The story you people are pushing is B.S., and lies.

    November 5, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. marx

    Senator Mccain is the most eratic senator i have seen in human history. I wonder why Arizona can't get rid of him. He has allowed hate and acrimony to take control of his thoughts after losing the election of 2008. The way he is going about it makes me wonder if he knows something about it.

    November 5, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Michael

    I'm fascinated by the vast majority of the posts from my fellow vets are pro POTUS. Only one or two sour grapes which is more than likely from people that get all of their news from Fox

    November 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. tk

    Vets could be enraged by this, but they should be more enraged at the Republican policy of sending them to war all over the world and then cutting their benefits and calling them the 47% who doesn't pay taxes. Sending them to war and saying that you can't serve because of your sexual orientation. We should be thankful to McCain for his service, but shame on you McCain for playing this petty politics. The 2008 GOP nomination for president was the high point of McCain, ever since, he has lost credibility.

    November 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. AJ USAF

    I did 4 tours to Iraq. Everyone knows in that region that were are constant targets day in and day out. If we could not stop an attack on a base with over 15,000 troops, an abundance of fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, and UAVs, what makes you think the embassy with increased security would have? Stop exploiting us, Senator.

    I was in Iraq when you complained about us leading from behind during the Libya operation which we only lost 1 aircraft due to malfunction and zero coalition lives.

    Besides, most of my fellow vets are loyal to the Republican party so this is nothing new.

    November 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Skeeve

    Really... well then we have to assume then that all these vets suddenly forgot what a chain of command is and how well intelligence (usually) represent situation on the ground. I have seem at least one of these "angry" vets – 30 years od distinguished desk-job career in Pentagon...

    November 5, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. thebeast

    Even though John McCain is an A Hole...He's right. Very few Veterans trust President Obama as President. He has been indecisive in Military matters. Whether his indecisiveness as President has some spiritual design remains to be seen.

    November 5, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. Hogan's Goat

    Do the Republicans ever stop chanting and burning stuff long enough to remember that they are being purposely enraged by their handlers for the election? How stupid is anyone who believes this "impeach" stuff?

    November 5, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Bullish66

    Mr. McClain, one mistake you made was choosing a running mate who talks alot with nothing prudent or relative to say. Another mistake you made is using your military experience (POW) to garner sympathy. It didn't work for Mr. Dole and certainty did not work for you. This country needs to elect people who are not so hung up on their political party, but more so on what he/she can do for the country on a whole. Mr. Obama has been fighting to get both sides to agree on something since taking office. His only mistake is trying to do too much too quickly. People can't handle change that fast. For example: President Lincoln signed to free the slaves over a hundred years ago, yet we still have a huge disparity among the races. If you asked any person not of color how the country is doing, the response is change takes time. How much more time is needed????

    November 5, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. Dave

    The slow progress on interrogating the witness leads me to believe there is more to this story than the administration would like you to know. Why sideline this issue if nothing is there?

    November 5, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. linda

    Shame shame on McCain and the republicans for using these 4 Americans that were killed in Lybia......where were you when Bush/Channey were letting our innocent men and women die in Iraq when you all knew that war was a farce, no weapons of mass destruction....We are a veteran family and I havent heard vets against Obama....Using these people killed in Lybia to try to get votes for Romney is as shameless as exposing America during your election to the likes of Sarah Palin......shame on thought putting a woman on your ticket would gain the womens votes that were disappointed that Hillary Clinton didn't win and that didn't work out for you are stupping to the depths of dispair to gain votes by using these events in Lybia and it isn't going to work this time either

    November 5, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Niko_in_Richmond

    Dear Senator McCain: you have had a distinguished career which you have tarnished greatly with your hyper partisan rhetoric and your embrace of the Bush/Romney agendas. You would be doing yourself and the country a big favor and service if you retired. The more you speak, the more you look like one of the characters from the movie Grumpy Old Men.

    November 5, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Planet Kolob

    I'd be angry at Mitt if I was a veteran- since Mitt lumped them in with the rest of the 47% as freeloaders who take no personal responsibility.

    Whoops Mitt!

    November 5, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Edward Thomas

    Bush had plenty of warning prior to 9/11. What did he do to prevent it?

    November 5, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. giftedgirl77


    Seriously? Get off the Fox News propaganda, I'm a career Soldier as is my husband. We have deployed repeatedly, leaving our kids with my mother to fight in war that was started under false pretenses so GW could finish what his daddy started. Were you screaming murderer then as our friends and battles were coming back in bags or wounded? No Sir you didn't.

    You would rather put someone in office who blatantly dodged the draft and is readily ready to send us to another war yet has 5 grown sons and you can bet your behind none of them will serve as well.

    But you want the Pres to offer up his two girls who aren't even 18 because 4 died in Libya. I must say that if you are truly a veteran you somewhere along the way lost your moral compass and defiantly your military values.

    November 5, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. AJ USAF

    James Plantar,

    I got heart issues, hypertention, GERD and got only a 10% disability, while I see other vets getting much more who did not even deploy or do anything to prevent their illness. I ain't blaming the POTUS, I am blaming the VA. I also used my post 9-11 GI Bill to get a certification.

    Lastly do your homework, McCain is the biggest advocate of TRI-Care increases which was being discussed by our fomer SECDEF Gates as far back as 2007 when Bush was in office. It is not the POTUS' call on TRI-Care, it is the politicians.

    November 5, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Carol

    McCain just needs to go crash some planes. He is fanning the flames in Florida.

    November 5, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. ohgran

    Time for the GOP to give it a rest. We saw how much they didn't care about the senseless killing of 4000+ American heros under the Bush/Cheney administration. For starting a needless war for revenge. For not finishing the job. Where was their outcry then? Where were you then McCain? When all else fails, they use the American veteran as a tool. So sad! Stand up, Veterans, and tell them you won't be used again.

    November 5, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. BetterDaysAhead

    I'm a veteran and I'm voting for Romney. Also, "veterans" are civilians and dont have a chain of command, active duty have a chain of command. Last, if intellignce failures are an excuse for Obama, why doesnt that apply to Bush? Double standard democrats. ROMNEY/RYAN 2012.

    November 5, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Jack

    I guess McCain doesn't hang around with Democratic Vets.

    November 5, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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