Gingrich 'disappointed' in McCain
March 8th, 2013
04:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Gingrich 'disappointed' in McCain

(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he's unhappy with Sen. John McCain for taking aim at Sen. Rand Paul, a fellow Republican, over the Kentucky senator's nearly-13 hour filibuster this week.

"I'm really disappointed in John McCain, and I'm very saddened by it," Gingrich said Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room." "McCain in his younger years was a great maverick. He took on his party all the time."

While McCain is never a shy critic of the Obama administration, he wasn't too pleased with Paul's own standoff against the president this week. The Kentucky senator blocked a confirmation vote on CIA director nominee John Brennan until the administration answered his question about drone policies. Fourteen Republicans and one Democrat joined Paul on the Senate floor throughout the day.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said Paul's argument wasn't "helpful to the American people." Along with fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain criticized Paul for drawing up paranoia that the Obama administration would consider killing Americans with drones.

McCain defended his argument Friday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

"I always do what I think is right. I think I understand national security, I've been invovled in it in one way or another since I was 17," he said, adding that the are more important priorities to spend 13 hours on, namely the ongoing unrest in Syria and the recent threats from North Korea as examples.

During his filibuster, Paul cited actress Jane Fonda, who notoriously protested against the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

"No one will ever forget Jane Fonda swiveling around in North Vietnamese armored guns, and it was despicable. And it's one thing if you're going to try her for treason, but are you just going to drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?" Paul asked during his marathon session.

McCain, who admitted Fonda wasn't his "favorite American," said on the Senate floor it was inappropriate to bring up such a hypothetical situation.

"Somehow to allege that the United States of America – our government – will drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda, that that brings the conversation from a serious discussion about U.S. policy to the realm of the ridiculous," the Arizona Republican sniped on the Senate floor.

Gingrich, however, said McCain was out of place.

"The idea that he's now lecturing the next generation because they had the guts to stand up–I would have thought John McCain would have applauded (Paul)," Gingrich said. "I don't know what's happened to John McCain but I find it very sad."

The 2012 presidential candidate said he sided with Paul's argument, saying he was right to demand more answers about how the law applies to the new technology.

And Paul himself responded to McCain's chiding on Friday, saying on Mike Huckabee radio show that he doesn't get the best treatment from McCain.

"I treat Sen. McCain with respect, I don't know if I always get the same in return," he said.

Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer what Gingrich makes of this apparent split among Republicans on the issue, he said "there's a deeper split. "

"It's a split about tone. There are some Republicans who are so used to going to nice restaurants in Georgetown and they're so used to hanging out with their friends in the establishment, that the tone bothers them," Gingrich said. "I saw nothing that Rand Paul did that was inappropriate."

Asked to respond to Gingrich's criticism, McCain said "Newt and I have been friends for many many years."

"I respect his opinions. He's a very bright guy," he said on "Piers Morgan Tonight." "We'll remain friends.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    What's with the Rand Paul coverage? It's way over the top. This guy isn't going anywhere farther than Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, and Gingrich went. Good grief there have been so many of them, I've lost track of who they were and where they went.

    Rand Paul. Yep. A real winner.


    March 8, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. ritmocojo

    It was the drama queen Rand Paul who was out of place.

    March 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. John the Historian

    McCain was being a maverick for chiding Rand Paul for the filibuster even though it was great that the American people got some answers about the drones. The Republicans revolutionaries are eating their own children. Hope they become a smaller party by the next election. The party of the corporate elite, billionaires, the Christian Right, and the military-industrial complex need to start taking the real problems of the American people seriously.

    March 8, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Getoverit

    What’s with the Rand Paul coverage? It’s way over the top.
    It's obvious, isn't it? The left is afraid of him. So they, along with the MSM, feel it necessary to start the smear campaign 4 years ahead of the election.

    March 8, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. cbr

    Mr. Gingrich is trying to support a person who is not afraid to express his views. That is admirable but to talk about drones being used against American citizens give people the impression that this administration might just do so. He sort of made this all up to increase support for his filibuster. If he had a legitimate reason for the filibuster then fine. Unfortunately, sen. Paul did not. Hr could have called A.G. Holder to get the information.

    March 8, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. don in albuqueque

    The whole country (except Meet The Press) is developing a problem with McCain. We have an even bigger one with you, Moon Unit.

    March 8, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Molon Labe

    When, in this country, did asking a sincere question become "out of place." If asking a sincere question of any part of government is "way over the top", then this nation is in BIG trouble. Reading the couple of comments left already scares me and makes me fear for this great nation that was built on open discourse.

    March 8, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Mark in Seattle

    I also am disappointed in McCain. For so many reasons.

    March 8, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Martha in CF

    Who cares what Newt thinks about McCain. Newt needs to go away-with Romney and Palin......I really don't know what Paul did--he could have asked Holder about this and he could have gotten his answer much quicker. This is not news.
    Oh and Rand Paul could go away with Newt, Romney and Palin......

    March 8, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. Sam

    I agree that whole show with Rand Paul was a joke. There are more important things to be doing instead of spending 13 hours talking to no one that is listening.

    March 8, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    I agree with Lynda/Minnesota. Now it's curly top this, curly top that. You want to talk about this racist. Talk about his really bad points and ideas. There are plenty of them!
    Anybody who thinks that this guy made points with anybody but the tea baggers is delusional. First of all, the question about the drones had been asked and answered. He just had to make himself stand out just a little bit more than the other right wing crazies. It's going to be so amusing watching them fight amongst themselves to see who puts more points on the board with stupid!

    March 8, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. captainkona

    John McLame is just another theif that doesn't deserve to represent this country in any way. He and Charles Keating should have both died in prison.

    I truly hope Rand and Ron Paul can convince the Republican party to transform from the gutless, mindless, self-serving idiots they have been to a freedom loving, live and let live type of party.
    Legalize Marijuana and actually act like Christians instead of just pimping Jesus name and I might consider voting Republican for the first time in my life.

    Democraps have become Republicans served with a side of abortion and gayness. Obambi's willingness to violate our rights mirrors the Neocon ways of Bush/Cheney. I'm done voting Dem.

    March 8, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Red Pill

    McCain sold out a long time ago.
    No wonder he threw the 2008 election.

    March 8, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Vickster

    Old Insane McCain needs to retire! He is a flip flopper politician.

    March 8, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Hcall

    Senator Rand is a Great American. It wasn't about Fonda. It was about bringing the sneaky stuff into the light. It's the extremists at both ends afraid of things like this. They fear people may come together

    March 8, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. Facts don't Lie

    McCain has fallen out of favor with me as being my "favorite Republican" with some of his antics lately, but this time I have to agree with not only him but Graham as well. Rand Paul is a LOON and if this is the way that the GOP plans to go then they will stay out of power for quite some time. The new 3 amigos of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio only appeal to a section of the country that has a low to mid-20's approval rating that being the Tea Party. They may win in certain regional areas or states with very low IQ's (like my home state of Texas here well known for sending loons to congress) but their preaching of fear of the government and the black helicopters coming doesn't work with anyone beyond the FoxNew bubble bunch.

    March 8, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. jpmichigan

    Disappointed in McCain, Rand Paul did something that most Republican can't or won't do, make Holder finally answer a question truthfully. It is sad that 13 hours of basically repeating the same question over and over, that's what it took , to get a truthful answer.

    March 8, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. Pander Express

    It's obvious, isn't it? The left is afraid of him. So they, along with the MSM, feel it necessary to start the smear campaign 4 years ahead of the election.

    Yeah, right. That must be it. Just like the left was afraid of Palin.

    March 8, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. cjw

    I was or is a life long Republican. In my first presidential vote I voted for Ford. Guys like Paul have caused me to leave and NEVER vote for president.

    March 8, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. Disgusted

    Now McCain is a Democrat, so he has to protect his President.

    March 8, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Larry

    Rand Paul was doing just what he was hired by the rich to do – distract. The GOP does not want this government to succeed at anything so talk about any stupid topic you can find and force everyone to listen to you whenever possible. That way we don't ever get around to talking about fairness in the tax code, solving our budget problems, cutting the enormous military budget, etc. On a side note: we need separation of science and state just as bad as separation of church and state.

    March 8, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. DMR

    Newt needs to just go away. He is irrelevant and the last election supported that in about every way I can think of.

    I agree with Sen. McCain on this, Rand Paul went far over the top. His questions did not rise to the level that even hinted at the need for a filibusterer. This was nothing more than Rand Paul grandstanding and attempting to bring attention to himself. He accomplished nothing.

    The comments claiming the left is afraid of Rand Paul are at best laughable. Rand Paul was and is little different than his father. His views are not in the mainstream for any group and are largely attempts at getting attention and posturing for votes. The voters rejected his father's views in Ron Paul's numerous runs for President and Rand Paul is nothing different.

    March 8, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. The_Mick

    Since polls show that something approaching 80% of Americans are disappointed with this poor example of character named Gingrich, who cares in whom he's disappointed? We can't even be sure if he's really disappointed or simply seeking publicity at this point. Gingrich is such a sad case he's almost beyond condemnation. Those misled people who still support him will never be able to raise him out of the gutter into which he's sunk.

    March 8, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  24. Ron Hatfield

    Here we go. Don't agree with somebody, can't think of an intelligent argument, call them a racist. And actually, no, the question had not been answered. It had been hedged and "well, we've never done it before". And what the others thought was a "more important thing to be doing", was having dinner with Obama. To think that the once proud McCain can be so easily bought off, by a good steak and a baked tater.

    March 8, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. Nightshade

    Move along, nothing to see here. Move along, nothing to see here.

    March 8, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
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