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. Mr. Moderate

    You mean they are more angry than an unprovoked war based on lies that killed nearly 4,500 of their brothers and sisters? Wow John, that's angry.

    November 5, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. REGinAZ

    McCain seems desperate and as if reaching for anything, something to use against Obama – which, while ridiculous, could be considered a compliment. Obama had no blame in Benghazi as the decisions occured below him and as substantiated in the investigations it could have happened at any thime during any president's term. Should people let these types of deceptive efforts sway them, then they simply are being "pawns" in the con.

    November 5, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. alicia

    This guy... How about you worry about getting veterans jobs! I RARELY every hear mitt romney talking about veterans and i think that's a disgrace!!! Go talk about that.

    November 5, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |

    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 |
    Sorry, pal. He is getting re-elected tomorrow. Deal with it.

    November 5, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Tony

    @James Planter. If you think that Romney is going to help with your benefits, you better think again. Romney is only concerned about quantity. Your benefits money will go towards more ships and more planes; he has not mentioned anything about helping veterans benefits. His main concern is boasting to other countries about the numbers.

    November 5, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    It is amazing how many times the term "old man" is used in these postings. I disagree with McCain but as an older American I resent these age-ist remarks. I think any posting would violate CNN TOS and any progressive persons morality.

    November 5, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Vince

    Sigh....I doubt most of them could point to Libya on a map..yet they're running with this as their "election issue"?

    November 5, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    This shows just how desperate and worried they are that Willard might go DOWN. Since the economy and the fear thing didn't stick, now its Benghazi? Foreign policy is the LAST thing the republicans should be trying to sell, when it's clear the Ryan/Romney ticket is deficient and totally lacking in this area. The president has kept us safe and rightly deserves another FULL term to continue doing so.

    Obama 2012

    November 5, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Michelle

    Interesting... Given the fact that most of what is swirling around Fox is conjecture and rumour, one would suppose veterans would know better than to speculate over what happened without evidence. The military of anyone should know things are not usually that cut and dried.

    Where were these "angry veterans" when the Bush administration was lying about Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch???

    November 5, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Kentucky Burbon

    Please explain to me what is it that the President is covering up that would make Vets mad, calls for investigations, and even impeachment. Let's investigate Iraq!

    November 5, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Dan

    Veterans are more angry that Romney never mentioned us during his acceptance speech.
    Veterans are more angry that Romney never mentioned us during the foreign policy debate.
    Veterans are more angry that Romney believes his children better serve America by campaigning for him than serving our country.
    Veterans are more angry that Congressional Republicans block the Veterans Jobs Bill. Even Senate Republicans involved in writing the bill voted against it. Republicans send us to war, throw us in a parade for the media, and then forget about us.

    November 5, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Anthony in California

    Until ANY of them voice a single complaint about:

    1)Bush's negligence regarding 9-11 intel and his failure to act (and protect American lives on American soil),

    2)Going to war in Iraq based on faulty or deceiving intel (costing thousands of young American lives)

    3)Bush not pulling the trigger on Bin Laden when they had him in the hills of Bora Bora (thus ending the war sooner and saving lives and money)

    4)The GOP voting against funding for veterans and the GIBill

    5)Bush standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier with "Mission Accomplished" draped behind him with an American flag

    then they really have no grounds to stand on as far as President Obama's handling of ANYTHING.

    Dear sirs, please take a seat.

    November 5, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Facts don't Lie

    McCain nor Palin have really ever gotten over losing to Obama in 2008 and their bitterness still shows in many cases. I hope Romney won't be so bitter if he loses tomorrow. Get over it Sen McCain..and Palin be honest losing in 2008 made you RICH if nothing else.

    November 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Woman In California


    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 |
    Sorry, pal. He is getting re-elected tomorrow. Deal with it.

    Well said and I second that!

    November 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Vet

    I'm so tired of being used for political gain. McCain stop speaking for me. Face it, you lost four years ago. Grow put on your man pants and move on.

    November 5, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Tibby

    I served in the military and I wouldn't want to support a party that would have put me in harms way in order to make a buck. I would want someone that knows clearly what we are risking our lives for. What were the service members dying and getting wounded for in Iraq. WMD's.? The republicans are full of it . Romney never stood beside veterans in battle during the Vietnam. He supported and pushed to send troops to Vietnam during his college days then he ran off to do missionary work in another country instead . He didnt risk his life in the war that he advocated for. Once the war was over and the battle was done he and his father had a change of heart. I would question any war that Romney would lead me into.

    November 5, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. NoTags

    As a veteran I am incensed that the deaths of Americans in Benghazi is being used as a political football.

    Any that doesn't believe everything humanly possible was done in Benghazi to protect the consulate is delusional.

    In the now famous speech Romney made to his loyal supporters in Florida where he talked about the 47%, he also made this statement saying he would use a hostage crisis or a situation where Americans died to gain favorability.

    "And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we had hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean, that was the focus, and so him [Reagan] solving that made all the difference in the world.

    I’m afraid today that if you simply got Iran to agree to stand down on nuclear weapons, they’d go, ‘Now hold on. It’s really a…‘ I mean, if something of that nature presents itself I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

    Romney and his supporters are trying to use the death of U.S. diplomatic personnel to further their political agenda and it is disgusting.

    November 5, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. AzDem

    Where were these "angry veterans" when the Bush administration was lying Iraq? WMD?

    November 5, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Kentucky Burbon

    Wes Monroe–Why all the rhetoric............Romney wins tomorrow and Wednesday this country starts to get back on track. None too soon I might add.
    Romeny keeps saying the same thing, how ignorant that if the Liar is elected, he doesnt become the President until January 20th at 12 Noon, however that's not gonna happen because the Vast Majority of Americans will Wake Up and vote intelligently

    November 5, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Rationalintn

    McCain is just angry that his constant harping about Benghazi has fallen on deaf ears. His manufactured outrage isn't fooling anyone. Seriously John, don't be bitter. You lost last time, get over it, move on.

    November 5, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. BetterDaysAhead

    WMD? Willingly Misled Democrats...too many of those around. This isnt about vets entirely, it's about the pres not being forthcoming and honest. Remember that thing called integrity, we could use a lot more. ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!

    November 5, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Michelle

    I would like to know how all the conspiracy theorists on the Bengazhi bandwagon "know" what happened? How do you know there was a "stand-down" order issued? (no evidence of that AT ALL). Amazing how at first it was President Obama's fault that the extra personnel request was denied, that is until it was revealed that it was denied by congress – especially the Republicans including Paul Ryan. Then suddenly the "no help was sent" blossomed into another tall tale about the consulate being denied help while the attack was on-going. Sounds like a game of "take you down" no matter what the facts are.

    November 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Babyboomer

    McCain is all about being at war forever. We can't take him seriously on this or any other issue.. It's time for some nation building at home.

    November 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. dannyCali

    I'm angry because McCain is P.O.W that's why he the Looser.

    November 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Tree

    McCain is full of it................there are questions but no one is mad........go to sleep McCain get some rest.

    November 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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