McCain misses Benghazi briefing to demand greater attention be paid to Benghazi.

John McCain and the rest of the GOP have gotten a bit of tunnel vision lately: Benghazi.  Even though the rest of the world seems to have mourned the tragedy and also tackled every other political issue, FOX and the Republicans seem fixated on this one topic (because it’s important, and certainly not for political gain).

That’s why John McCain called a press conference to demand more attention be paid to the Benghazi issues, perhaps with more committees investigating.  The irony was that in order to hold his press conference, McCain skipped a meeting of the committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, of which McCain is a part.

Most of the Republican members of a Senate committee investigating the terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, skipped a classified briefing by administration officials on the incident Wednesday, CNN has learned. The missing lawmakers included Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who at the time of the top-secret briefing held a press conference in the Capitol to call for the creation of a Watergate-type special Congressional committee to investigate how and why the attack took place.

And when CNN pointed out the strangeness of that, McCain didn’t appreciate it.

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn’t there.

“I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media,” McCain said.

Asked why he wouldn’t comment, McCain grew agitated: “Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, “I’m upset that you keep badgering me.”

While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn’t show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a “scheduling error” but wouldn’t provide any more detail.

A scheduling error.  It certainly wasn’t a matter of prioritizing one over the other, if that’s what you’re thinking.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • RuQu

    It’s even more absurd than that.

    He wasn’t demanding more attention be paid to it. He was demanding that the Administration provide Congress with more information, which is exactly what they were doing in the meeting he missed while demanding that they do it.

    That’s like demanding to speak to the manager at a restaurant because the host won’t seat you, while they keep calling your name. “McCain, party of one your table is ready. McCain, party of one?” Why can’t I get any service, damnit!

    • Liberated Liberal


  • Liberated Liberal

    I wonder if a lot of politicians (like McCain) are very slow to realize that this isn’t 1965 anymore. It is very easy for people to track what they are doing and saying – everything is recorded and accessible – but they seem to be taken aback by it every time. Perhaps in the beginning of their careers, they were able to lie endlessly, day after day, knowing that the general public had absolutely no way of knowing better. The game has changed. We have the interwebs, McCain! If you’re going to be a lying douchebag either do a better job or be prepared to be “badgered” about it.

  • RowanVT

    Is it wrong that I wish that someone had popped their head in during the press conference and said “Hey John, you just missed the big briefing on Benghazi! What kept you?”

  • Michael R

    In days gone by, when a consulate begged for months for increased security, America would have provided it.
    In days gone by, a US consulate would not have been defended by Islamic soldiers called the “Martyr’s Brigade”.
    In days gone by, when a consulate was under heavy attack for 7 hours, America would have moved heaven and earth to defend it.
    In days gone by when an administration made a tactical error, they (hopefully) would have admitted it.
    The Obama administration has failed on all counts. That is why this issue won’t go away, because it illustrates a monumental failure of the Obama administration to defend its own citizens.

    • Azkyroth

      The Obama administration has failed on all counts. That is why this issue won’t go away, because it illustrates a monumental failure of the Obama administration to defend its own citizens.

      Assuming any of what you said is more than about 30% true, that would be a stronger argument if the same people pushing it hadn’t just shrugged at the Bush administration’s failure to act on information from intelligence groups that would have prevented the 9/11 attacks…

      • Michael R

        Yeah, you’re right. I made it all up. And it’s no worse than Bush. Four dead Americans. It’s just a “bump in the road”.
        That’s what you Obamabots seem to be saying.
        Shame on you for not holding Obama responsible, but simply joining his moronic cheer squad. How many more dead Americans are you willing to sacrifice before taking Obama’s reckless security mistakes seriously? What’s your number? 4 dead Americans and you justify it by a comparison with Bush? Pathetic. You people are sick Obama groupies.

        • Brad

          “What’s your number?”

          What are you wearing?

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          Obamabots. Heh. Classic. And they say Republicans have no sense of humor.

    • RuQu

      Which days gone by are you referring to?

      How about the Golden Age of St. Reagan?

      Under Reagan, an Islamic country had a revolution, over-throwing a pro-America regime to instill an anti-American one. Under Obama, Libya overthrew it’s anti-American regime and is now pro-American (people marched in protest of the attack on our embassy).

      You say 7 hours was too long, and an Obama failure. Under Reagan, our embassy was attacked in Iran. How many hours do you think it took to save our people?


      Certainly less than 7, though, right? Because this is St. Reagan, not Barack “Constant Failure” Obama, right?

      Try 10,656 hours. 444 DAYS.

      Guess what. Foreign relations are tricky. Responding is not something done lightly, by any administration. Information on the ground is patchy and limited. There is a risk of making a situation worse. You are violating sovereign territory and any number of things can go wrong and turn an isolated attack into a mass public uprising.

      Try being less ignorant, and less of a partisan hack. Having idiots like you as a spokesperson really doesn’t make the Republicans look any better or convince anyone with two or more brain cells to rub together to join your side.

      • Michael R

        I’m an Australian, not a republican. Talking of partisan hacks, all you’ve done is excuse Obama’s security failures because foreign relations are “tricky”. The whole Arab Spring is based on the premise that Islam is a religion of peace. It is patently not, never has been, and never will be. Ergo, Muslim countries will never be on our side until Islam is rooted out. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Hence the whole idiotic “democratisation” of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, etc. will fail. Libya is now pro American? That’s what Obama thought. He thought they now love him because the USA bombed Gaddafi out of the way. That’s why he put the local “martyrs brigade” in charge of consulate security. Yeah some folks marched after the event, but moderate Muslims are nowhere to be found when the Islamic fundmentalists arrive. Islam is not peaceful and it’s as predictable as gravity that Muslim countries will again revert to their 7th century war creed now that Arab dictators have been toppled. Gravity falls, Islam rises. Laws of nature. How many more Americans have to die before these laws are acknowledged? Apparently, a lot more. It is Insane. The only sane (and civilised) policy towards Islam is to isolate and contain it.

        • Marie the Bookwyrm

          Wow, I had no idea the President decided who was in charge of consulate security. I would have expected that to be the responsibility of somebody in the State Department.

          • Michael R

            4 dead Americans and you Obamabots just keep making excuses. Sick.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            Oh come on, you’ve done “Obamabots”. Give us a new one! Here’s one for you, “Obamoids”. Your turn.

          • Michael R

            Zinc Avenger, 4 dead Americans. Are you really that insensitive to turn this thread into a joke?

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            You made this thread a joke first. If you want to have a serious discussion, calling those you disagree with “Obamabots” and “Obama groupies” might not be the most productive way of doing it.

            If, on the other hand, you just want to rant, please do us all a favor and sign up for your own blog instead of grandstanding on JT’s.

          • John Horstman

            Hrm, I’m exactly as sensitive to four dead Americans resulting from an attack on an embassy as I am to four Americans who died today from lack of access to clean water, or four Americans who died from lack of health care, or four Americans who were shot, or four Americans who were hit by cars. People die; with 7 billion of us, it’s really sad for those who personally knew and loved those who die (this is why we should work to help people live the lives they want for as long as they can and wish to), but a national tragedy it is not. Not even a little bit.

            I don’t care about those four Americans any more than I care about four people who died in India or Sudan or Australia today, and I’m confused why you do (while saying nothing about millions dying from lack of access to clean water – you clearly don’t just jump into conversations to bemoan any/all death), if you’re actually Australian, since you don’t even have some sense of nationalism to motivate your overly-determined empathy. Once we get, say, condoms and HIV medication for everyone who needs them in Africa, maybe I’ll have some time and emotional energy to spare worrying about a mere four people who are killed, but frankly I think your senses of proportion and import are wildly skewed, perhaps by some sort of shared-ethnic-history tribalism.

            Hell, on the day you made that post, Israeli bombs had blown up 96 Palestinians in the preceding six days, but you’re most worried about four Americans killed over two months ago? What’s up with that?

          • Michael R

            John Horstman, why do I care about 4 dead Americans when people die every day? Because Obama’s security failures in Benghazi expose the demented mentality of “universalism” that is responsible for ALL the deaths on Islam’s “bloody borders”. From 9/11 to Afghanistan to the Philippines, wherever Islam meets the modern world, its borders are bloody. Universalism believes that all people are peaceful if left alone. But Islam is not peaceful and more people will die so long as the demented belief that Islam can be modernised prevails. The whole Arab Spring is turning ugly. There will never be peace with Israel because anti-Semitism is littered throughout the Koran. Obama thought that Libyans would now love him because he bombed Gaddafi out of the way. But they don’t and never will, because war with (or subjugation of) nonbelievers is mandated in the koran/hadith. This post mad fun out of McCain, when we should be learning from Benghazi in order to stop more deaths. But the Obamabots think the sun shines out of this rear end, so I’m done talking here. Adios.

        • RuQu

          My apologies on assuming you were an American Republican. It seemed logical since you are repeating partisan talking points for a country where you don’t live…

          Instead, you are simply an Islamaphobic bigot, and hatred knows no boundaries. My mistake.

          • Michael R

            Islam is a war creed, and you should indeed be afraid of it. To be called Islamaphobic [sic] is a complement. I don’t hate Muslims, many of them are simply a victim of circumstance. But I do hate the doctrine of Islam which is as barbaric as Nazism. To call me a bigot is to demonstrate your small mindedness. You obviously know nothing about Islam. Nothing.

            Sam Harris, The End of Faith – Chapter 4: The Problem With Islam
            “While there are undoubtedly some “moderate” Muslims who have decided to overlook the irrescindable militancy of their religion, Islam is undeniably a religion of conquest. The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, subjugated, or killed.”

      • Stogoe

        RuQu, the Iran Hostage Crisis started under President Carter, not Reagan. So it didn’t ‘happen’ on Reagan’s watch.

        Reagan did, however, conspire with the Iranian hostage-takers in secret to extend the crisis, providing them with weapons in exchange for keeping the hostages, so that it would hurt Carter’s re-election campaign.

        In effect, Ronald Reagan betrayed America to win the presidency.