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.

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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. john2397

    The latest election results show very clearly that the Republican Party has lost the election only because of the very old leadership, their old mind set about the right wing agendas, prejudices against women, blacks-Americans, Hispanics and minorities in general. John McCain has clearly demonstrated his whimsical sense and disrespect to the reporter. Romney has also opened his left side brain describing the reasons for his defeat and Bobby Jindal is scratching his head listening to these old fox who are squabbling to each other without any sense. Bestway to survive for Republicans is to booted out these old leadership. Sooner is better.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Airpuff_2000

    McCain "gets Testy" ... so nice to know that his testicles are still working. I'm going to go throw up in my mouth now.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. sarge from Utah

    McCain prefers to be able to bluster and pretend to have testosterone rather than attend!

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Chuk

    You want to know why McCain is testy? He lost the campaign to be president in 2008! He has never gotten over it. And now, to make things worse, the guy he was campaining for to beat his rival also lost.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Walkman

    I doubt you pay for squat being one of 47% sponges of the country that do not pay taxes.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Keep Talking

    He really is very, very bitter. McCain is a sore loser and shows more and more every day why he was/is not presidential material.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Chris

    Maybe McCain got testy because he wanted to hand out with Paula Broadwell instead of attending the Benghazi briefing. His first wife can attenst to Senator McCain's tendencies.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    You need to ask Obama a simple yes or no question, " Did you order a stand down to all combat troops & support teams while this attack was going down?" Of course Obama will say no, but the fact of the matter is a 4 star Admiral and 4 star general were immediate dismissed after this attack! WHY?

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Lars

    I am not a McCain fan but if you media thugs would ever do your job it would not make things so difficult. The selective and biased reporting is obscene and I like a lot of people find the media one step below ambulance chasing lawyers.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Texan

    Scheduling error? McCain needs to start telling the truth.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    His head is filled with Tea.... Snarky old Tea Brain.

    November 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Jeff

    File this one away for 2014, when the next vote for a Senate class comes up. John McCain in 2000 was a great candidate, John McCain 2012 is a grumpy old man that needs the neighbor kids to stay off his lawn.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. PeterD

    CNN Why Don't Press Obama instead on Benghazi?

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. aeram

    I love those who try to flip the script against the POTUS and rely only on Fox New and Rush to provide the intel. I wish these people could think for themselves.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. mojo3

    At one time...I respected and looked up to this man. I have now lost TOTAL respect and have acquired a disdain for him TOTALLY!

    Since his loss to Pres. Obama in 2008...he has harbored anger, bitterness and a semblance of HATRED toward him! He has never gotten over the fact–HE DID NOT WIN!

    As for Ms. Rice. He has come down so terribly hard on her. Yet, when Condolezza Rice stepped out and faced the American people and others–stating "there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," McCain said absolutely NOTHING later about this being a false claim. And, as far as his selecting Palin as he running mate........... I rest my case.

    It's time for him to leave the arena. Shed the anger and bitterness. If not...he will continue to EAT his insides, which, thus, will bring him ILL HEALTH.

    P. S. McCain. Sit back. Bask in being pleasant and friendly. Share kindness towards others. Enjoy your family. And for God's sake...count your blessings.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Airpuff_2000

    McCain "gets Testy" ... so nice to know that his testic1es are still working. I'm going to go throw up in my mouth now.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Jack

    I thought senators were accountable to the people they represent for how they spend their time, that the tax $$s are paying for. If he doesn't think he is accountable to the tax payers he should resign.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Ram Jain

    McCain: You clown screwed it up big time. I would have voted for old McCain. You should have accepted to be on Democratic ticket when John Kerry was contesting. Who knows, after that you could have tried and won on a Democratic ticket. Instead, you started licking the asses racist conservatives. Now you no better than a clown. Now, you will remain a lousy senator until Hispanics are large enough in numbers and throw you out of your senatorail seat next time.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Margo

    McCain is not the man he used to be, he needs to retire to one of his many homes and get out of government. He is totally losing it, yeah, the one who brought us palin.

    November 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. The REAL Truth...

    This is typical Repug reaction... what? you don't believe me? I tell it is so, so it is so? Trust me!
    Same problem with the rest of the Republican Party. Trust us.. we'll tell you how we'll fix and provide details after you vote for us. The success of that approach is evidenced in the massive LOSS they experienced Nov 6th. It's so typical to see the chicken-little sky-is-falling, we-are-doomed naysayers running around blaming anything and everything Obama but not themselves or their message delivery for the the shellacking at the electoral college and popular vote....
    Given the makeup of the Republican committee, McCain should have attended the briefing.

    November 15, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Michael Johnson

    Thank you McCain. You set an example I hope more conservatives follow. These lies and witch hunts are a disgrace to our nation. You always have time for a new witch hunt but, you never have anytime to do you real job, solving our economic problems.

    November 15, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. jnpa

    McCain has just proven what a complete pompous and arrogant fool he is. He just lost all credibility as a critic of the Benghazi issue. He said "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?” They are part of the group, like everyone else is, who pays your salary McCain.

    November 15, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. NVa Native

    Old Man yells at the clouds..........again.

    November 15, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. DC

    "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?”

    BECAUSE THE MEDIA PROVIDES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WITH INFORMATION ON THE ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO ARE SUPPOSE TO BE WORKING FOR US SO YES WE DO DESERVE TO KNOW YOUR SCHEDULE YOU SELF-AGGRANDIZING JERK!

    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Jack

    The Republicans' behavior says it all. Bunch of little bully losers who don't want to play anymore. They all go off huffing and puffing.

    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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