November 5th, 2012
08:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Gibbs: McCain's assessment of veterans support for Obama 'shameful'

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain's comments that veterans do not trust President Barack Obama in the wake of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, are "shameful," Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Monday.

"Obviously people have a lot of respect for somebody like John McCain but for somebody like that to go out there and say that people in the military don't trust the commander-in-chief, that's one of the more shameful comments I've heard in more than 20 years of being in politics," he said.

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"I don't for one minute believe it and I think it's an awful thing to say even when your candidate is behind in a political campaign," Gibbs continued.

On CNN's "Starting Point" earlier in the day, McCain - the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, a prominent veteran and a former prisoner of war - said there was a mistrust of Obama among veterans following the September 11 terror attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

"I've been traveling all over the country and veterans are angry. They're angry; they're upset; they don't trust Barack Obama. There's 1.6 million of them in Florida, for example. I think they could have an impact on this election," McCain said.

McCain has been highly critical of the Obama administration's handling and explanation of the assault by armed militants, which officials originally said involved a protest gone awry outside the diplomatic post.

Conservatives have said the story of a demonstration over an anti-Islam film was used to divert attention from the compound's security, which they say was lacking, and the response, which they say was bungled.

"This cover up is the worst that I've ever seen, either incompetence or cover up. There was no demonstration," McCain said.

To counter McCain's charge of anger among veterans, Gibbs touted Obama's efforts.

"I think veterans know that when this president came into office, he made sure that the veterans of this country who had earned their benefits on the battlefields of war in foreign countries would be treated like they should when they got home," he said. "That's the commitment that Barack Obama has fulfilled."

- CNN's Dana Davidsen, Heather Butler and Susie Xu contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Dwight Drum

    To John McCain: I'm an Independent voter Veteran in Florida. I don't appreciate your political take on all Fla. Veterans. I'm not alone.

    November 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. PapaBear

    This angry old guy from Arizona is part of of the problem, he's been in DC way too long and it's out of touch and out of ideas to move this country in the 21st century. John, it time to hang it up and go away and take Sarah Palin, with you... Ye Haw.

    November 5, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. jakedD

    McCain has to stir something negative here, after all Romney was the one who lumped in veterans in his 47% remark so McCain has to do some deflection.

    November 5, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. Dnick47

    McCain showed us all to well his ability to lead and choose people during the last election, Palin was the worst possible choice he could have made. Then if he's so gung-ho, why didn't he stand up to the Bushes!

    November 5, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. IalreadyvotedforObama

    I'm a veteran and I trust Obama FAR MORE than I ever did Bush because Obama THINKS things through and don't just throw good men and women into wars based on lies.

    November 5, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. Mary

    John has turned into a Repub mouthpiece and a crotchety old man should probably be quiet after all he is responsible for forcing us to even have to look at SP>

    November 5, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. Erick phillipps

    I am a five tour combat veteran of iraq and afghanistan. I believe john mccain to be an american hero. That said, he should be ashamed of himself for attempting to politicise this tragedy. And im a republican.

    November 5, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. mer

    Gibbs has some nerve criticizing McCain when the president of country has intentionally mislead the American people about what happened in Benghazi. This cover-up is so obvious, and the press is just as guilty for refusing to report on Benghazi. The families of the Americans that died there have been lied to by the president, State Dept., and Hillary Clinton. Now we are told the investigation will be done AFTER the election. How anyone could vote for this president for a second term is disgraceful. He is such an egotistical liar he will do anything to get re-elected. American is on the brink of economic collapse, Obama has turned his back on Israel, and no one seems to care what is going on in the Middle East. If this president is re-elected, it will be a disgrace to those of us who love this country and want a better future for our children.

    November 5, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  9. BettyT

    McCain is just a bitter old man who is a very sore loser. I'm only glad I changed parties and voted for our president. (thank you tea party for making that an easy decision).

    November 5, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Larry in Houston

    yes it is shameful, Mr. Gibbs . . . You'd think McCain would retire by now, but AZ will end up putting him in again, for several more terms. Guess they don't have anybody else. Anyway – after Colin Powell's endorsement, not to mention the bIllionaire mayor of N.Y. endorsing obama, I wouldn't worry too much about what McCain says, at this point in time.
    May the Best Man Win – 2012

    November 5, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  11. Willie Floyd

    I voted for McCain his first run but when he allowed the party to put Palin on the ticket there was no way I'd vote for him again. I no longer have an ounce of respect for him. Don't jump to the conclusion I don't respect our service men. I have 3 folded flags in my home. All 3 were in during wartime-granddad, disabled vet WW1, Daddy, WW2 France and Germany, husband, Korea. I respect the pres. support of our military.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    November 5, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. Kef14

    McCain will never get over losing to Obama. We all just need to keep that in mind when we hear him speak and realize every word coming out of his mouth has a hateful bias.

    November 5, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. marie

    What Veterans need is to be treated with dignity and have the services they need when they come home and those needs have been well recognized by Obama and the current administration. McCain is supporting Romney, a good salesman who has no knowledge of how a country or military operates, and that is "shameful". Romney thinks running a government is like running a business, and that is "dangerous". It would be frightening to have someone like that as president.

    November 5, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Kurt

    McCain's nothing more than an embarrassment anymore. He should shut up and retire, it's clear that the country best interests lie somewhere far behind 1. Himself 2. His Party 3. Money 4. Any sense of decency.

    November 5, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  15. Harry

    Sure McCain's opinion is wrong,,and shame on him for this .He better admit for all his failures as a looser by selecting Palin ,dumb dry brain as his running mate,.He lost his sense to give opinion and review the truth in veterans affairs.He is surrounded by all those liars.

    November 5, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  16. anonoymous

    John McCain hurts more than he helps...bitter man still mad he lost. I wonder has he toured the east coast or donated to the red cross? Liybaites I think Obamacare covers that but no clue what you do for sorry bitter loser cant get over it fever.. Obama 2012

    November 5, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. Darryl

    John Mc Cain still has to try to support his base. But he should be ashamed of this way of doing it. Terrible !

    November 5, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. Paul_I

    McCain is better than this.

    November 5, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. Cathy

    McCain is a bitter old man that LOST! He should keep his nose OUT of it!

    November 5, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Steve S

    What's shameful to me, as a veteran, is the deaths of those men, which my government still can't explain. Yeah...I guess that does point directly at President Obama. If I were still active duty, I would think twice about putting my life at risk for a man that can't be bothered to do the bare minimum to back me up.

    I hear he had a great time in Vegas, though.

    November 5, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  21. Hotdog

    John McCain does not speak for all veterans. He remains bitter because he was beaten by President Barack Obama from the last election. This President has supported veterans and have ensured that they receive the best health care and benefits when they return home from war. Why didn't John McCain speak up when G.W. Bush and Cheney sent or men and women to invade Iraq because the false allegations perpetrated by this country? I am a Viet Nam veteran as well and John McCain certainly does not speak for me.

    November 5, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. mj loehrer

    Has Gibby checked out the number of high ranking armed forces officials who ran a full page ad in the Washington Times supporting Mr. Romney. I noticed that Obama has five; Wesley Clark, Gen. Powell and three other traitors.

    November 5, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. mj loehrer

    Oh, and I almost forgot, when is Obama going to get rid of that 'workplace violence' crap from the Ft. Hood Massacre AND I can hardly wait to see Mr. Big impeached for murdering four men in Benghazi.

    November 5, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. job ogamba

    McCain is still bitter from loosing to Bush and Obama period. Please get over it.

    November 5, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  25. smithgween

    McCain needs to retire.

    November 5, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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