March 18th, 2013
08:55 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain reacts to Paul's 'moss' comment

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain agrees that moss is bad - well, for the most part.

The Arizona Republican responded Monday to criticism lobbed by fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who argued the GOP was growing "stale and moss-covered."

Paul made his comments Thursday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, where thousands of conservatives gathered for three days to discuss the future of the GOP following big losses in the 2012 election.

Speaking on the Senate floor about the recent forced budget cuts - known as the sequester - and their impact on the military, McCain cited the intra-party critiques from last week's CPAC.

"References were made to people who were too old and moss-covered and that we need new, fresh individuals and ideas and thoughts. And I agree with all of those, every bit of those recommendations and comments," McCain said.

"But there is a little bit of benefit of being around for a while," the five-term senator added. "My friends, I'll tell you right now, I've seen this movie before."

McCain then resumed his topic of discussion, cautioning the government in a fiery speech against returning to its military levels following the Vietnam War.

Paul and McCain have been mired in a bit of tension recently. The 2008 GOP presidential nominee labeled Paul, and fellow freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, "wacko birds" earlier this month, not long after Paul's almost-13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor. Cruz had joined Paul in demanding that the Obama administration answer questions about its drone policies.

"I treat Sen. McCain with respect, I don't know if I always get the same in return," Paul said March 8 on Mike Huckabee's radio show.

A week later, McCain apologized.

"That was inappropriate and I apologize to them for saying that, and I respect them both. I respect what they stand for and what they believe in," McCain said Friday on Fox News.

- CNN Senior Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

Filed under: John McCain • Rand Paul • Senate
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Mc cains ten times more of a man then bland Paul will ever be ,the teabags and teahages are going in reverse fast,the rest of us are moving forward with president Obama , . Thank you ,the dems.

    March 18, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. rs

    Mr. Paul is incorrect. It is not "moss". It is rich men's money. Money from groups that Mr. Rove fronts for, money from the Kochs and the Edelsons.

    March 18, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't trust the judgment of either senator. One is too old and doesn't understand the newer needs and thoughts of the young people. The other one is an ideological copy of his father that doesn't fully understand the needs of the country and all that the federal government does.

    March 18, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. B T

    Was Just Wondering, Is It Time yet For sane republicans To Run To The Liberal Side, before There Voices Are Drowned Out By A Bunch Of Wacko Birds?

    March 18, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Ran Paul is right on about the Republican Party being old, stale, and moss covered. Voters can do something about it by voting Republicans out of office in 2014.

    March 18, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Sorry Rand, your ideas are as old, mean and rotten as any of these old Republican fools and tools. You will be looking for a new line of work soon!

    March 18, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Former GOPer

    Better get a new rug if you want to run for President!

    March 18, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. spenteco

    Seems it is getting a little crowded in the sand box.

    March 18, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Rand Paul needs to understand the difference between ," Moss and Slime ".

    Rand Paul / Paul Wolfowitz 2016
    Teaocons of the New Century

    March 18, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. penguin

    I differ from McCain. I have no repect for either Rand Paul and Cruz nor their opinions. I oppose using drones on US land/air space on due process grounds and on the basis that drones often kill more than their intended targets. Paul and Cruz are using the issue to scare the 2d amendment wackos who think the government is evil and needs to be overthrown. If the government needed to be overthrown, much more than assault weapons would be needed. We would need tanks, artillery, jets, etc. Arms we can't get ahold of. We could overthrow a government in 1800 with rifles, but not now

    March 18, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. WillH85

    He's right about that, but his racist politics are pretty dated them selves.

    March 18, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  12. projectcommodity

    If the GOP wants to remain relevant they need to retire the old guard and embrace the growing libertarian wing within the party. Rand Paul shows a lot of potential, but he will have to prove himself.

    March 18, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  13. Rogue351

    Truth hurts and Rand has no room to talk. He is just as wacky as the rest of them. More than likely less corrupt but just as dangerous. The tea party grand vision of bringing back the good old 1950's – equal rights for whites, women in the home bare foot and pregnant, dirty hippies, god fearing, and one of the most racists times in America, NO THANKS

    March 18, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    Not fun when the shoe is on the other foot, right mcnasty?
    BTW – I heard that this racist is now putting a biill together for illegals to attain some sort of work status?
    I take it this is his plan to get the Latino vote? Does he know that the tapes of his racism and pre 60s civil rights era are out there for all to hear?
    He IS still a repug of the worst kind and people are smarter than he thinks. It's ot going to fly fake curly top.

    March 19, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  15. Don

    The entire GOP is moss covered, not just Mc Cain.

    March 19, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  16. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    McCain is the moss, its time the old step down and let the younger move this country in the right direction instead in the direction the wanna be dictator wants to take us.

    March 19, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  17. luke,az

    Circular firing squad has commenced. Republican party must kick out the tea party to become relevant .

    March 19, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. PtBarnumBoy

    A conversation between McCain, Cruz, and Paul is a bit like watching a Three Stooges movie.

    March 19, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let me see if I get this straight! While North Korea's Jong-un threatens to drone the United States of America with nuclear weapons, Rant Paul goes on a 13 hour tirade to stall the nomination of our Defense Secretary who's job is to implement a missle shield to defend us from a nuclear attack but yet, the GOPT makes this guy king of their MOSS hill??? Unbelievable.

    March 19, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Kenneth Geller

    It is clear that many do not understand how our Federal Gov't has screwed up our economy in the guise of helping the under privileged. Rand Paul is a libertarian first, Tea Partier second. Those ideals are just as valid as the founding of our Republic!

    March 19, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. whyme4

    Many times in my 74 years I have seen one of the two major parties written off for one reason or another, but in a decade or two they always bouce back in a new format. Don't be surprised when the NEW GOP friend of women, gays, and minorities emerges.

    March 19, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Norm

    I see nothing has changed.
    If the GOP isn't blaming all their problems on liberals then they attack each other.
    I guess the word "conservative" truely does change..

    March 19, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Guest

    I thought Paul was making some headway until he declared his support for a path to citizenship for individuals that have broken our nations laws. SEE YA!

    March 19, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. NorCalMojo

    McCain needs to find a seat in the back and keep his mouth shut. His time has passed.

    March 19, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. jk

    There is cancer in the Republican party, both sides are saying that they are not the cancer or the cause however the patient is dying.

    I am no longer one of them

    March 19, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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