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. Middle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    I hope that when President Obama wins re-election tommorow, Rmoney and Ryan will be as irrelevent as John McCain is right now.


    November 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Until Wheels Fall Off

    McCain pre-2008 = respected conservative voice.

    McCain post 2008 candidacy crash with Palin as wingman = shrill, pathetic whiner

    Old aviators don't die John, but please just . . .fade . . .away

    Obamanos, Amigos!

    November 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Ken in MD

    Wow, McCain talked to 1.6 million vets in Florida and they're all angry? He's been busy.

    Time to retire in Arizona, John. Just remember to have your papers ready in case you get pulled over.

    November 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Chris in NY

    I have never seen such an angry old man in my life before. This guy can't seem to get over the fact that he lost the elction to President Obama. He keep singing this old tune that is cracked up already. If Benghazi is that important to him he should go live there and let Americans lead their lives and find out who did this to four of our people and hold them responsible. I watched the interview. He was so angry at the two people who asked him questions. Bragging about how he knows the vets and what their needs are. Sentor McCain go get a life if you don't one have one already.

    November 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCain is sounding more like his buddy Guiliani who campaigned around the country using 9-11 as his political platform and we Americans quickly let him know what we thought of him. McCain, needs to perserve the honor he has because he alone has damn near ruined his legacy.

    November 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. truth hurts

    Old Soldier - He took a measured response, waiting until after the "fog of war" effect dissipated
    What "fog of war"??? The Obama adminstration, specifically Hillary Clinton, was told SEVERAL times they didn't have enough security and wanted more. Their security force was REDUCED. The consulate was bombed TWICE and the British ambassador was withdrawn after surviving an assassination attempt. And then when the attack came, shocking on the the anniversary of 9/11, the Obama adminstration had live phone calls and over head drone video! The only "fog" to be seen was in the heads of the clueless and incompetent Obama adminstration! THE ATTACK WAS PREDICTED!

    And then when it came, shockingly on the the anniversary of 9/11 who would have ever suspected, the military resources in the area were NOT ENGAGED. Four Americans died needlessly. They either should NOT have been there or if they had to be there they should have been given proper security with additional forces at the ready in case they were needed. Instead they were abandoned and sentenced to die by the Obama adminstration.

    How many more Americans will die if Obama gets re-elected. His adminstration already has the blood of HUNDREDS on their hands from this attack and the Fast & Furious debacle, which they have also covered up.

    November 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Its over

    Maybe next time the Republican controlled congress won't vote down that 315 million in funding for Embassy security. Good attempt at manufacturing outrage at Obama for a problem your buddies created though. Republicans are masters at that.

    November 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Travis

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

    Have you added up everyone's votes? Even those who haven't voted yet? If you answered no to both questions, you have no idea that President Obama will be re-elected.

    I love it when people start declaring one person or another has already won before all the votes have been tallied...

    November 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Ambrose Smith

    He chose Palin. His cred will never be recovered. Fact. Why should anybody listen to him now?

    November 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Logic N LA

    A Republican controlled hous voted down funding for security at our empabssies and Vets are upset withthe President?
    McCain- only in fantasy land does that play.
    Are these the same guys that said Romney was responsible for getting Bin Laden? Yes -15% of people in a poll in Ohio answerd that.

    November 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Thomas

    John needs to go to the VA hospital and talks to vets about what they really think !

    John is out of touch

    November 5, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. lil

    only because you have scared them to death.

    November 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. cpmama

    do you think some of John's vets might be more upset over the large number of Republican Congresspersons who opposed benefits for them???????

    John – you needed to go out on a high note; you lost the Presidential election but people still respected you(not your choice of VP but you) - now, not so much.

    November 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. sifto

    KEN, it was in virginia–not florida–and mccain knows most vets and military–why don't you retire–you sound like you do not like older and wiser people...not a commendable trait.

    November 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Publius Novus

    John, "if everybody knows" there was no video, then what's being covered up?

    November 5, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. I am voting for the one that says he believes in GOD!

    @ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are proven failures!
    The difference between all the attacks you have listed and Benghasi are that during those attacks they were in platoons, groups of military soldiers working together...when they needed assistance they call and got it because in war they dont have to go through all the red tape! In Benghasi, the former seals who were there to protect the Ambassador, his staff and American interests, called for back -up and they were denied by the state department and President! ...our President and state department would not give the order to give them the assistance they needed! That is the difference...our govenment failed them!
    And as far as GOP policies...Romney hasnt been President so how do you know what he will do! We have seen Obamas polices and nothing has worked...please name one! He needs to go!!!! IMMEDIATELY!

    November 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. ghostriter

    MCCain is right. Alot of folks are upset. They tend to watch alot of Fox News, though.

    What we've learned this election cycle is that republicans don't learn. Not very fast, anyway. The doom and gloom they are selling today is the exact same brand they were selling around this time in 2008. "He's not one of us", "If Obama is elected, the country will fail". Instead of learning that these tactics aren't working, they double down on them.

    Republican have at this point cried wolf too many times. We had the Fast and Furious investigation close with not one indictment, charge, arrest or implication. All the evidence uncovered showed exactly the opposite of what republicans were screaming. The the operation, that has roots in 2006, was a locally run one. Solyndra investigation showed that the company that applied for the loan program BEFORE Obama took office got the loan from a program started BEFORE Obama took office. A program, that republicans also used to give money to companies. Republicans like Paul Ryan. I wonder why the investigation didn't call him to testify.

    And now Benghazi. In my 1st two examples, republicans were less interested in finding out information as they were in trying to pin something bad on the president. No different here. Congress was on recess when these hearings were ordered. Funny, with the financial cliff looming and all, the only thing they could gather the gumption to come back for was a hearing over a situation that wouldn't be investigated until after the election. Partisan much?

    November 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. bullock w

    Obama lied talked people amercian what about banhazi libya so I said Goodbye. To presdient obama
    Kick out of president obama 2012

    November 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. peter peedin

    Thank you John for your service to your country. However, don't even think you can stick your also ran nose in this election and cause a distraction. When the election is over we will get to the details of the attack. then let the chips fall where they may such as on your office for not funding the embassies.

    November 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Gee John... They're angered about Libya, but still willing to elect a cowardly chicken hawk that hid out in France rather than fighting for a war he said he believed in? You think vets are willing to elect someone who would cut their benefits and pay? Someone who will send more off to war? You must know only foolish vets, certainly NOT the majority of them...

    November 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Phil in NH

    You DEMS and LIBS are funny people. I've read most of these posts and many of you are quick to bash Bush for sending troops overseas and many or our young service men and women being killed but the Mesia screws up/covers up and we should just let it go?? Please!!! It shouldn't matter if you are a vet or not, anyone with any type of patriotism should be very upset with how the administration has handled this situation. If they can lie about this what else will they lie about??

    November 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. peter peedin

    I am so sick of these whiners. They can't even buy a election.

    November 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F

    I would think that the veterans would be upset with McCain and the republicans for voting against the veterans jobs bill. The song bird is one sick war monger.

    November 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. lolo

    The only person angry is McCain. Get ovet it you lost. You should be mad at Romney for jumping the gun and thinking that he is already president. Please election day hurry up. I am sick of these angry old white men and their crazy followers.

    November 5, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Link

    We are all saddened by Benghazi but totally unsurprised the media has covered this entire story up for Obama. The reasons that Obama needs to go are too numerous to list but here are a few FACTS: He spent $570K per green job, Grew our debt 51%, welfare is up 41%, Gas is up 100% , Unemploymeent is higher than when he took office, and healthcare premiums went up $3,000 when he promised a $,2500 reduction as of 2012. The list is never ending on the ineptitide and arrogance Obama has shown while pulverizing the middle class.

    November 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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