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. frespech

    Why is everybody so concerned about the millions of illegals that can't vote.

    March 19, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. barry g

    I very seldom agree with anything the Republican/GOP has to say and in this case, yes they are old and stale, like two to three day old bread. No fresh new ideas to promote, the same old crap every four years. The last election was proof enough! and then add the TEA Party to the mix and you really have gone over the edge.

    March 19, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. sifto

    the democrats own more rich "elites" than the repubs....they have looked after their own high flyers at the expense of "we the masses"..the likes of Buffett and Gates talk the talk but do not walk the walk..i don't see either of them helping to pay off the debt–they both have huge loopholes so they can pay less taxes...

    March 19, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Wes Scott

    I have never believed that right wing nonsense about illegals voting. Not even most legal Mexicans who are citizens vote, so I really do not think the illegal ones do, either.

    The thing that most concerns me about illegals is that they cost us taxpayer money to educate them, house them, care for them at county hospitals and we suffer property devaluation when they take over a community and start running it down. Without any consideration of voting, these things are reasons to be very concerned about an illegal immigrant population.

    March 19, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. lovespandas

    @frespech – just give them time, they'll vote – if they aren't already.

    Rand Paul is NOT what the Republicans need!

    March 19, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    While Rant Paul is ranting that the republican party is a dying breed of old people, I find his argument to be somewhat hypocritical and deceitful in that he supports a far right wing extremist philosophy and agenda that dates way back to the Jim Crow era of seperate and unequal. Rant Paul is like the pot calling the kettle black. His ideas are old, divisive, disruptive and out dated.

    March 19, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. hawaiiduude

    because they are "illegal"?

    March 19, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Michael

    Both McCain and Paul are so out of touch and are their own worst enemies.

    March 19, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    A picture is worth a thousand words and the expression on McCain's face tells it all. He's got the "I don't believe anything this nut is saying" face.

    March 19, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Paul

    Does anyone seriously believe that an "illegal" would show up at a voting booth???? Republicans believe dead people are voting also, maybe that is why they lost the election–just too far out there for reality.

    March 19, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    In this picture McInsane looks like he's going to be sick listening to Bland Paul. The GOPers are getting so they can't stand anyone, even their own. What's wrong with these people?

    March 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. notogop

    McCain lost ALL relevance and credibility when he brought Palin out of her closet and continued to support and defend her. To me, that demonstrated a gross lack of reason and accountability as have his actions in concert with Lindsey Graham.

    March 19, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Clarke

    In time, we all get old if we are lucky. Little moss around the edges, but wiser.

    March 19, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC


    the democrats own more rich "elites" than the repubs....they have looked after their own high flyers at the expense of "we the masses"..the likes of Buffett and Gates talk the talk but do not walk the walk..i don't see either of them helping to pay off the debt–they both have huge loopholes so they can pay less taxes...
    Nine out of the top ten political donors in 2010, donated to almost exclusively conservatives and Republicans. Numbers for 2012 are not yet fully available.

    March 19, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Leroy

    The Tea Party is performing an excellent job of systematically destroying the entire GOP.

    March 19, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Mike

    Just recall Boehner's response to Buffet when he said TAX ME MORE. He said if you're willing to pay more you can do that volunterilly.... as if GOP job is to ensure rich doesn't pay more taxes in general.

    March 19, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Joe Mama

    The other party is going to destroy this country and is insane. Our party is fighting for what is right. The so-called examples of corruption throughout our party are obviously lies and propaganda. It's really the other party that is corrupt. Just look at all of the examples.

    When our party is in the white house, all of their efforts are stopped by the other party in congress. And when our party is in congress, the other party in the white house stops our efforts. The other party is to blame. Why else would things keep getting worse and worse and worse?

    March 19, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. DCTA

    Please, please, PLEASE John McCain stop saying "My friends, blah, blah..." We are all sick to death with hearing that for umpteen years! Stop already!

    Poor Senator McCain – it is a lonely battle for relevancy.

    March 19, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. nothing new here

    I agree with Rand Paul on one topic – this country cannot afford to keeping spending imaginary money on endless wars.
    McCain and the other war fanatics can just pay for these military interventions out of their own salaries.

    March 19, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Howard

    The reason John McCain keeps saying "my friends..." is because he can't remember anyone's name. Also, as long as Palin and Trump are contributing voices to the GOP then the out look is hopeless. Neither of these two have anything constructive to add and each is only looking for their next 15 mins in front of the camera.

    March 19, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Skeeve

    Good, good. The further to the right GOP moves the more irrelevant this "party" becomes. So, sure, keep up good work I suppose.

    March 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. independant jim

    sifto Buffett and Gates rarely participate in any elections and neither one has ever tried to buy an election like the Billionair Koch Brothers Donal Trump and tyhe other rich and infamous at CPAC both Buffett and Gates donate Millions every year to charity .and work to improve all people. they do not try to buy elections so laws can be changed to protect them at the expense of the middle class

    March 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Canuck

    I think McCain is watching a kid walking across his lawn in the photo.

    March 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Julie

    So the fungus thinks the moss is icky, eh? Coming from a blazing reactionary like Paul,being called mossy isn't much of an insult.
    Still, McCain, you, dragging a juvenile intellect like Palins out from under it's rock and even suggesting that it was an appropriate choice for veep helped to create this ugly problem in your own party. Suck it up, hero.

    March 19, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Chuck

    Hey Joe Mama,
    Let me have some of what you are drinking. I want to get loaded too.

    March 19, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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