November 15th, 2012
03:32 PM ET
1 year ago

McCain skips Benghazi briefing, gets testy when questioned by CNN

(CNN) - Most of the Republican members of a Senate committee investigating the terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, skipped a classified briefing by administration officials on the incident Wednesday, CNN has learned.

The missing lawmakers included Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who at the time of the top-secret briefing held a press conference in the Capitol to call for the creation of a Watergate-type special Congressional committee to investigate how and why the attack took place.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

McCain, who has accused President Barack Obama of not telling the truth about the Benghazi attack, said that even though there are several committees involved in the probe, only a select committee could streamline the information flow and resolve the "many unanswered questions" about the tragedy.

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn't there.

"I have no comment about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media," McCain said.

Asked why he wouldn't comment, McCain grew agitated: "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, "I'm upset that you keep badgering me."

While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn't show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a "scheduling error" but wouldn't provide any more detail.

According to a Democratic aide on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, only three of the eight GOP members of the committee attended the two hour briefing that ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. By contrast, seven of the nine Democratic members were there.

McCain's press conference took place at noon.

McCain did spend several hours in a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing on Benghazi Thursday, and plans to attend the panel's closed-door session on Friday with former CIA Director David Petraeus.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (584 Responses)
  1. Pete/Ark

    I'm damn near as old as he is ... so it' not "ageist' to say hat he appears to suffer from senile dementia.

    November 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. nitromays

    I thought he retired after the Sarah Palin fiasco. Wishful thinking.

    November 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. wakeupamerica

    The old coot needs to retire. Says he demands answers on bengazi yet skips hearing. then takes out his nasty hatred on reporters

    November 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Bob Houle

    Once again McCain's petulance manner chips away at his fading image of war hero and is turning more and more into a Romney clone of having absolutely no core principles. Any critique of the Benghazi situation by him is only self serving; its obvious he gets confused easily and prefers not to deal with hearing and assessing the facts. The voters of Arizona should be asking the same questions a true Vietnam hero, VADM James Stockdale asked at his VP debate: who am I, why am I here? McCain no longer knows who is really is or why he's in the Senate. He's a disgrace to the Senate and to the McCain family legacy.

    November 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Now you figure it out?

    As a taxpayer I also who has is paying for your health care and cancer treatments over the years, I would suggest that I do deserve an answer to the question. If you were really as concerned as you came across yesterday, I would think you would be getting as much information as possible. We know, now that you weren't at the meeting, you can claim you have never been told these things. Sad and pathetic politician.

    November 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. V Subramanian UK

    Republicans – Romney, Ryan, McCain and others are trying their level best, by their comments and behavior, to assure Americans that they have chosen the best candidate in the election, Mr Obama; what a catastrophe it would have been if Republicans had won!

    Instead of keeping quiet and focussing on regrouping and changing their style and reaching out to all ethnic groups, women and others, they are shooting themselves and these are experienced politicians – not wet round their ears.

    It is sad that Republicans are not willing to learn.

    November 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. pbernasc

    GOP members don't want to go to a classified briefing because if they do, then they cannot claim their speculation about what happened to be public domain, since if they are right, then that knowledge is classified. IN other words, going to that meeting, will prevent them to speculate further without having to be held responsible for what they say

    November 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. orso

    McCain skipped the briefing because he does not want the facts to get in the way of his agenda.
    This moronic politician did not learn the lessons of the last election, he is still representing the Tea Party Agenda instead of the United States of America.

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Megan

    Mccain is still bitter because he lost the election to a black man in 2008. He still cannot get over it. Four more years, Mccain. Get used to it.

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. DENNA

    John! You lost to a black man. For the love of Mike, get over it! Please don't waste the next four years trying to bring President Obama down. I guess you didn't get the memo: we are sick of lazy GOP senators and congressmen wasting time on this crap. Knock it off and get to work and start earning some of that money we pay you. Also, while I'm commenting, why don't you all chip in for your own healthcare. Heck, it would be a nice gesture to the 47% if you would cut your own salaries a bit too. That would help in paying down the deficit you keep screaming about.

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Bob

    Enough with "Crash" McCain, the man has a numpty sodding bugger.

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. joshua

    2 weeks this administration lied about a stupid youtube video. when the truth comes out that they knew in real time we were being attacked by insurgents, they continued that same lie. mr. president, were you lying then, or are you lying now?

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. JDM

    The bitter old man that is Sen. McCain has one last contribution to benefit America, his resignation.

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Tallulah

    Missing the meeting was a big mistake, even it he thought it would be a sham. Perception is everything, and this ain't good. And throwing a temper tantrum doesn't help.

    November 15, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. orso

    McCain skipped the briefing because he does not want the facts to get in the way of his agenda.
    This senile politician did not learn the lessons of the last election, he is still representing the Tea Party Agenda instead of the United States of America.

    November 15, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Barry from Wisconsin

    No fool like an old fool. McCain is a sorry disgruntled old man who was buried when he ran for President (by the by, I am 76)

    November 15, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Greg

    McCain is still bitter about losing against Obama in 2008. Time for Grandpa to retire.

    November 15, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. DD

    Proof McCain would not have been the right choice 4 years ago, either.

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Phil Jewett

    I couldn't agree with @Sandy more. I watched this morning as McCain got frazzled on CNN about this whole Benghazi thing and is refusing to vote on Susan Rice for SOS because he states that she is responsible for the deaths of 4 people. This morning, Anderson Cooper, smartly countered McCain by pointing out that he voted for Condi Rice after that whole administration put us at war over inaccurate intelligence and cause the deaths of our service men and women. McCain insisted that was different and continued with his rant. Again, I would have to agree with @Sandy, he needs to be checked for dementia or re-evaluated for PTSD.

    It is time for all of this non-sense to stop and for all of our elected officials to come together and begin working on our future. Starting with our issues here at home and the virtual cliff. I don't believe for a minute that the reason the voters elected a Republican House Majority was to put a stop to the Democratic agenda. Each seat in the House was based upon the individuals running for it singularly rather than the entire House as a whole. One seat has nothing to do with the other and therefore the fact that the House has a Republican majority should not be a signal.

    Let's get back on track to fixing those things that are broken in a bipartisan way and stop acting like children. There is work to do!

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Kareen

    How ironic , here he is bi-tching about Benghazi, but he doesn't go to the meeting.
    That old coot should retire

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Kevin

    It cracks me up that CNN has barely reported on what Obama has done about Bengazi but we have headlines about McCain missing a meeting. Obama had his first press conference in 8 months. Why hasn't CNN been hounding Obama. Why. It's always the republicans fault. Morons!

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Penny

    McCain is still pointing his finger at "that one" and has never accepted that a black man is president.

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    McCain needs to retire. All he does is go around bashing anything the other side of the floor does. Damn right the press and the citizens of the US can ask about your schedule senator. That's what being a public official means, you are accountable to us on how you spend your time.

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Orman

    Obama cared about as much for those 4 Americans as he has forman of us in NJ who are basically homeless. No tough questions will be asked from CNN.

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. QS

    No surprise that a majority of the conservatives on this committee didn't show up....they much prefer to continue their conjectural and speculative attacks on the President and Ambassador Rice, which they wouldn't be able to do if they attend the briefing because then they'd actually have to start stating facts!

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24