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. ronvan

    While I can respect McCain as a war hero & the suffering he went through, I CANNOT respect him as a person!! Veteran's are mad over Bengazi? Did you take an "honest" poll of veteran's on this subject? As a 23yr. Army, Viet Nam Vet., I would be asking a different question. Are you MAD over "multiple tours", what, 5 + for many, in two bit countries that IF it is in our "nartional security" then we are in DEEP TROUBLE!! President Obama HAS and continues to bring our troops home! I am aftaid that if M. R. gets elected our Magnificent Military better get ready to go into MORE of these sub-human countries!!

    November 5, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Common Cents

    Chances are that anyone that even cares to speak to McCain (let alone listen to him) is a republican, who no doubt has been watching Faux News and been whipped up into a frenzy about Benghazi.

    Nothing to see here...move along

    November 5, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. ART

    This man has obviously lost his mind. I wonder if the word retire means anything to him.

    November 5, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Rani McBride

    Wow, this guy is disgraceful! To turn with the rest of the radicals and politicize this issue is over the top! These people know there is no "cover up" here. Just need some more votes for Romney. John Mccain should resign. Once a loser, always a loser!

    November 5, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. CryBabies

    CBS releases the "rest of the story" regarding the 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama. Apparently it was a segment they cut where BO will not call the raid a terrorism act and does not answer the question asked. You can slice this any way you want....the bottom line is BO is lying. And supporting that bottom line is the inaction of the mainstream media...CBS, MSNBC (MSLSD), ABC, and CNN to cover this story in order to cover BO rear end. LIAR!

    November 5, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    He spent his time in prison while we were dying in the rice paddies and jungles.Have him tell you how that makes him a hero or a war expert

    November 5, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Sue

    Poor John McCain still hasn't gotten over the fact that he lost to Obama! He's spent an inordinate amount
    of his time this election cycle slamming President Obama on any issue that pops into his brain ( or lack there-of!).

    November 5, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Marty, FL

    Unlike Sen. McCain and uber-Fox partisans, many Americans believe our national tragedies are a time for us to come together.

    I take the President at his word to bring the terrorists to justice, just as he did with OBL.

    November 5, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. CryBabies

    @ Curt....There was no cover up regarding the 9/11/2001 attacks. In this case, because Obama got OBL, He initially tried to cover up fact of the cause of what happened with a bogus story of a as not to lose the momentum that Al Quaida was on the run.

    November 5, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Jason

    What bothers me is that people like Mccain think they can speak for the majority of people. In this case, Mccain doesn't know what Millions of VETS are thinking about when it comes to benghazi. He only talk to a few them and those few VETS are probably Romney supporters who listen to Fox News everyday. The VETS he spoke with does not speak for me or millions of other VETS.

    Did Mccain go around the whole country and personally talk to EVERY SINGLE VET. NO.. So how do he know what all VET are thinking.

    November 5, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Hey mcnasty, did any of the troops talk to you about bin laden is dead thanks to the President?
    I would think that would be foremost on their list even if most of the military continue to vote for a rethug party that doesn't believe in contraception or abortion or women's rights but they are gung ho to send thousands of Americans to their death or critically wounded by lying about WMDs.

    November 5, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. freetomato

    @ Phil in NH: What the heck is a "mesia"?

    November 5, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. I Voted Early In NC

    John McCain is a biter old man and a sore loser. Well after tomorrow Romney can join him and his bitterness as a sore loser.

    November 5, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Jared

    22 year Air Force retiree!!! Obama/Biden 2012 all the way. John McCain is not talking for this vet!!!

    November 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. curious

    I can't believe that John MCCain, or any American war veteran would vote for Romney. Not only did he take a flyer in Vietnam, he never asked his five privaledged sons to defend America against terrorism, not one. Romney left that chore to the 47 percent.

    November 5, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. viper49CA

    Anyone whoe does foreign service of any type knows they may make the ultimate sacrifice at any moment. We try like "hell" to protect our troops in a war zone, yet we have 10,000 KIAs and 40,000 WIAs. Some of those were a result of mis-calculations and errors on the part of their commanders. I don't hear crybaby McCain squawking about those mistakes. He of all people should understand the dangers of being in harm's way. Losers make excuses, winners make hard decisions. Semper Fi!

    November 5, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. solrac

    Republicans care nothing for life. They were ok with Bush overlooking intelligence, him leaving Katrina victims to die and they're ok with Bush and Romney lying to manipulate their vote. The majority of Republican voters don't – and will never – benefit from a Republican Government. They do whatever they are told to do.

    November 5, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. fernace

    The tragedy in Benghazi has been blown all out of proportion & politicized to the nth degree! It's really the only thing the GOT-Party has to criticize Obama over & they cling to it like a "life raft"! And let me get this straight, McCain is promoting For President, the man he refused to hire as his Vice President!? Talk about party over people! Seems pretty hypocritical to me! Obama/Biden, Tomorrow!!

    November 5, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. ghostriter

    I heard that Fox has reported (ad nauseum) that the troops called for backup and were denied. Fox isn't reporting that those troops were not ignored. They were ordered to stand down. If they had followed orders, they might be alive.

    I am in no way degrading the memories of those brave men. But if we are going to tell the story, we have to tell it right.

    BTW, I think vets are a bit more upset about the cover up regarding the death of Pat Tillman. A real cover up that these snarling republicans simply wrote off as whatever.

    November 5, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    The republicans never miss a chance to politicize things that they overlooked when W was in office. I'm a vet, and I'm tired of the republicans voting against everything that would help the maimed and disabled vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Instead, the want to go into a war with Iran and lose thousands more of our young men and women. Shame on the republicans. Shame on Songbird McCain. He was a traitor in V. N. - not a hero. He crashed so many planes during his time of incompetence they lost count. His daddy got him in the Naval academy and he graduated 3rd from the bottom. That makes him neither smart nor wise.

    November 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Thomas

    More than 50,000 Americans have been combat-wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001, a grim measure of the cost of more than a decade of war.

    According to Defense Department accounting, the number of wounded reached 50,010 on Thursday.


    John , time to retire !

    November 5, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. DaveC

    20 years as an Army retiree. McCain was out of touch in 2008 and is more out of touch now. I didn't think that could be possible. I have bad news for McCain and the rest of the Republican congress (and party). Have you ever served or been with Ambassadors or their staff? I have and they are the most coddled, stuck up, whiny, hard to get along with human beings on the face of the earth. As with most career foreign service officers they delight in blaming everyone else for their mistakes (hmmm, sounds like the republican party). In short, no one in the military is grieving for the dead ambassador.

    They are grieving for the three poor people he got killed with him due to his gross negligence in ensuring that proper security was not in place. He was responsible for the security and should have ensured it was done. It was his job. Now if he was alive (and the rest were dead) he probably would be making every excuse known to man about how the state department failed him and the military failed him and God knows what else failed him. Boo hoo. I view this as the drunk driver getting killed. I am not sad when the drunk driver gets killed but am really sad when he hurts or kills an innocent party in the process. Same situation. Just because the Ambassador is dead does not forgive the fact that he failed in his responsibility to protect his staff.

    Right now there is a lot of finger pointing by McCain (in the Army we called it the M151 Blamethrower) but the truth is that McCain knows who is at fault. He is just playing politics (Just like when he selected crazy Sarah Palin for VP remember). His wife (remember, she is the one with the money and the power) did not support him in the California gay vote and has not been seen with him in months. I am quite sure the dinner table conversation is real interesting right now. This guy has definitely outlived his usefulness in the Senate. The people of Arizona deserve better.

    November 5, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. Veteran

    Jared "22 year Air Force retiree!!! Obama/Biden 2012 all the way. John McCain is not talking for this vet!!!"

    25 year Air Force retiree. It's clear that Obama is one of the worst leaders this country has ever had. John McCain is right on this issue.

    November 5, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |

    Please spare me your phony outrage

    November 5, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Bill Perkins

    What does it say about Romney that a five star genera Colin Powell endorses President Obama? That Romney can't be
    trusted with foreign policy.

    November 5, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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