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. scouts out

    Bob, with all undue respect...STFU! We all have opinions, and your no better of a vet than the next.Mccain your hopeless, go take a nap, or go hunting with cheney.

    November 5, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. CanadaONE

    If Romney wins he will have McCain hand out Mormon underwear to protect Americam solidiers

    with this underwear apprently you are protected from all attacks – good new you don't need an US army anymore JUST all of you WEAR THE UNDERWEAR

    November 5, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Stupid Question

    Has there ever been a story about non-angry vets? It's always "ANGRY VETS this" or "DISGRUNTLED VETS that".

    Jesus, you'd think these losers think the world owes them or something.

    November 5, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. AFAD

    It's really sad to me to see McCain using vets to spout the party line with this. I'm on active duty and have military friends all over the country, and I have yet to hear anyone commnt who doesn't get what went down in Benghazi. In fact, many are getting upset by all the armchair generals trying to explain something they don't have experience in and trying to discredit highly respected active duty generals and vets, like Petreaus and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. If there was one person I thought would have been aboving using us for political gain, though, I would have hoped it would have been McCain. Guess not.

    November 5, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. phearis

    Well DUH! Vets are angry! Because the Republicans and Teapublicans in Congress keep screwing us out of our earned benefits. They are more interested in making Obama look bad than helping the people that fought and died for the freedom they seem to be taking for granted ... and that is reprehensible!

    November 5, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. nmdave

    It was the video!!!! Yeah, Right!!

    November 5, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Helena Montana

    Respectfully disagree with Senator McCain. This is not what I'm hearing & seeing from the veterans I know.

    November 5, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Marry


    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?


    Thank you rs! You said that well. It is disgusting to see how those GOP-chicken-hawks treat our heroes when they "are not useful" to the GOP anymore! If they think about our finest to be part of the 47% “freeloaders” and treat people that risk their health and life for us all (including the 1%), send often by the GOP without prudent thought on top of it to make their personal profits – one can only RUN and VOTE for a brilliant Commander in chief!
    We cannot turn this over to those shameless people to trickle down on us again! Please, go and VOTE!!!
    Tomorrow you will be called on to be all fired up and ready to go for our country!

    November 5, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. dah00

    Most soldiers know their job comes with risk. Aside from the politics of it, I doubt what happened in Benghazi is a great shock to them. It was a tragedy. Security should have been better. The story should not have become a big political circus. Fix the problem, and carry on.

    November 5, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. McPoop

    I am a veteran, I'm not enraged about Libya. I'm enraged about the GOP making it a campaign issue. SHAME on you McCain. I can't believe a veteran would make a political issue of it.

    November 5, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Alan

    It's so sad that a once respected, senior and most knowledgeable politician (dying breed) is choosing to follow the right-wing Fox News story line of scaring up votes for Romney. Between voter supression, Romney's advertising lies, Ryan's conservative budget recession act 2 language don't we have enough attempts to put Bush #3 in the White House? All Obama has done is lead the military without McCain's assistance to killing Osama, getting us out of 2 endless wars with DROVE UP OUR NATIONAL Debt to what is is today, and focus on THIS NATION BUILDING. Sorry John, it's time for you to retire, PLEASE

    November 5, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. allens

    what happened to maccain's sense of honor? he has turned in to a liar and a scum. mccain says he saw romneys tax returns and they are wonderful. then why won't he share them with american voters? what happened to you john?

    November 5, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |

    But they are not mad about the 75 veterans bills that have been blocked by the obstructionist republican house with a–holes like Ryan screaming the loudest that we cannot afford to properly treat our veterans after they have served our country with honor. I have heard from some of the extremist T baggers that the most seriiously injured should have died instead of coming back with life altering injuries so that they would have to support them for the rest of their lives. The Republicans talk a good story but when you get down to it they are a bunch of treasonous selfish dirtbags, who would send someone elses children to die in a foreign war but would never think about serving themselves or god forbid their children like the poster child for abortion mr Romney himself, who while his fellow countrymen were dying by the thousands in Vietnam took 4 deferments to stay in France where he actively petitioned to extend and continue fighting in Vietnam , what a sleazebag.

    November 5, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. McBS

    I am a former Marine, and I'm not enraged about Libya, only the GOP and FOXbox's coverage of it. This should NOT be a campaign issue...and President Obama did say it was an ACT of TERROR 1 day after it happened. SO SHUT UP.

    November 5, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. ficheye

    McCain needs to shut up. He is only trying to erode Obama's chances of winning. There are a dozen facets to the Benghazi attack, and most of them didn't involve Obama. The CIA says that they didn't have a clear line of sight on the Embassy, the Republicans had made expanding security there difficult, etc, etc. McCain is doing nothing but stirring up trouble in any way he can and here comes Palin, too. These people are irrelevant and petty. If I asked the Lord to save us from something it would be these folks.

    November 5, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. California Gary

    @AJ USAF........excellent point. When we choose to operate in a dangerous zone, sometimes bad things happen to good people........and there's not a darn thing we can do about it. Everyone that serves knows and understands the risks involved. I'm a Marine vet from a different era......and frankly, I get upset about every death that is reported. But to hold our current president responsible for each one is only reasonable for those with a specific political agenda they want to play out. This president has frankly been a pleasant surprise when it comes to his foreign policy approach and the conduct of his duties as Commander-in-Chief. His focus has been on those who actually attacked us, and he has been quite successful in depleting their ranks. Nobody likes what happened in Benghazi.......but I dare say that it would have happened no matter who our president was at the time. Romney's chest thumping approach to how he addresses foreign issues would be disasterous.......a repeat of the Bush years. I would think most vets could see and understand that fact. I respect what McCain did for this country.....he gave a lot.....but he does tend to wander off the reservation once in awhile. This is one of those times.

    November 5, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. John

    I'm a veteran and I'm angry about Benghazi. I'm angry that Republicans are trying to use an attack on Americans by terrorists for political gain, instead of making a show of unity and cooperation in the face of the enemy.

    November 5, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Let Freedom Ring

    I know a lot of people in the Special Forces wants Obama impeached, and a recent poll shows that the military will vote 2 to 1 against Obama. Obama's bungling of the Libya consulate attack was the last straw.

    November 5, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Pandering for Veterans votes now??? Yes, Senator McCain...Veterans are angry because during the last presidential debate, Mitt Romney said that we should still be in Iraq and during the VP debate, Paul Ryan said we should remain in Afghanistan and replace the 250,00 Afghan troops we trained to take over security of their own country with more American troops. Veterans are angry because GWB and the GOP lied to them about bogus WMDs in Iraq and murdered over 4,000 of their conreds. And by the way Senator McCain, Veterans are angry because the Afghan war was abandoned and prolonged for the invasion of Iraq and these Veterans were left on ectended duties and denied the opportunity to come home and spend time with their family, hold their newborn baby and play football and baseball with their kids. I can go on and on and on this election day and beyond!!! Senator McCain your are a disgraceful old man and you're losing your bearings. Please go away!!!

    November 5, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. works4me

    Geese McCain... forget much... like Bush – WMD thousands of lives, trillions of dollars. What is really wrong with you? Are you still miffed about your pick of Palin?
    Its seems the GOP would favor any war... just to keep their friends
    rich. They love sending our young men and women but hide when duty calls.
    I'm a VN vet and couldn't be prouder of our President. You, on the other hand, do not make me proud.
    Please get some rest!!

    November 5, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. triletter

    I am a retired veteran and think Mr. Obama has done a fine job. Do I agree with everything? No, but given the obstructions put in his way, he has done a FINE job and will continue to do so.

    November 5, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. tct


    I had great hope that you'd regained your honor when you directly and forcefully took on the birthers to defend the Constitution. Unlike your feeling that you'd failed tradition when you were a POW you have become a disgrace, I thank God Slade Cutter didn't live to see it (but like all who knew him well I still miss him deeply). Your defamatory ad against Carmona (a decorated Green Beret) isn't low enough for you, you feel a need to lie in a way that harms our country. Your alienation of people in another aspect of your life may soon show the public how far you've fallen, you are despicable.

    Tom in Tucson

    November 5, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Jim Doyle

    My guess would be that vets are more angry over McLame's vote against the Veterans jobs bill, which sought to help returning veterans with job training to get back into the workforce. A couple of years ago, he also voted against a new "GI Bill" because he said it would encourage vets to leave the military, and without it, they'd stay in longer for more tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    November 5, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. rosaadriana

    Vets are angry but I think is is more about having their benefits cut than any faux conspiracy in Libya.

    November 5, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. DJH

    I am a retired USArmy Colonel. Served in two wars, wounded twice. Came up through the ranks. This is nothing but nonsense from McCain. I knew this guy when he was still on active duty....spoiled rotten, womanizer, and so full of himself that he came to believe all the stuff about him being a hero, and that he is better than everyone else. Now he is just sour grapes because a black guy beat him in an election. As an intelligence officer for over 20 years I can tell you that you don't get things right ALOT. Everyone wants an answer immediately and whenever the answer changes there is always some BOZO hollering "Conspiracy!" McCain is just stirring up hate. He can't go away soon enough.

    November 5, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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