March 18th, 2013
08:55 PM ET
10 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."

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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. Georges

    Nothing the Republican Party has put forward since the last election, gives anyone hope that it is on tract to mend its ways. It's the same old ideology layed with rhetoric ,to seem to be a party moving forward. Unfortunately, personnel is least of its problem.. Change in their estimation, is to do a better job to make their ideology more palatable to the masses. This is much too transparent. They need new direction.

    March 19, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. 2012liberal

    GOP's circular firing squad!

    March 19, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Michael

    When did McCain become such a total wuss? Rand Paul is an ignoramous with no clue about how the world works or about how politics work. He's a disrespectful little punk whose "ideas" if implemented would destroy the country. He lives in the same bubble that all libertarians live in where they are blind to everything around them that is made possible by well-run government (and much of government does run well) and then has the audacity to assert that government does nothing for him. He ignores 300 yrs of hx and pretends that all Americans have always had equal opportunity and that unregulated markets will somehow always fix themselves. He's psychotic and should not be in government. McCain is demented and shouldn't be in government either.

    March 19, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. DChicago

    The Tea Party people are the wacko birds but the established "old" republicans are afraid to stand up to them. My old man was always Republican when I was growing up because they are generally considered to be fiscally conservative. Now that the Tea Party has made them go further to the right and asking for more from the lower wage earners while being so insesitive to the fact that not everyone in this country is white he has voted mostly Democrat because of their ideas for putting America to work with our hands (*GASP*) and re-build the infrastructure that my grandfathers helped build (both my grandfathers were LEGAL Mexican immigrants who worked on railroads and in construction).

    March 19, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. AZ Girl

    Ha Ha! This picture is like " crazy and cranky" ! Come on John, you're used to crazy, you deal with Jan, Huppenthal, Arpaio, and all the "wacko bird zonie politicians" all the time. Rand could be an honorary "zonie" and fit right in with the loons here.

    March 19, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Smacky Smooth

    Sounds like the tail is wagging the dog. Paul and Cruz are proven self-serving wackadoos that want the rules to apply to everyone BUT them.

    March 19, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. David Crosby

    I think describing Mr. McCain as a moss covered operator and a dinosaur is exactly what the World needs...

    March 19, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. oneWayfarer

    Senator McGrouchy yelling at the curly-headed kid to get off the Lawn. He hasn't been quite right since they let him out of the Tiger-cage but he thought he FELT something down there during the SURGE – Hard for him to let go of the Past

    March 19, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. spin

    Yep... this is why Boehner can't even begin to negotiate with Obama. He is speaker of nothing. His party can't agree on anything.

    March 19, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. PvtJoker

    For those of you who want to sit behind a computer and talk down about a man that is trying to protect you, i feel sorry for you. Your total lack of understanding and sheepish ways have totally blinded you. Benjamin Franklin said it quite perfectly; "If anyone is willing to give up freedom for security they deserve neither freedom or security.'

    March 19, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Time to send both of thes simps back to the private sectorl

    March 19, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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