Morning Joe | November 05, 2012
>>> it is 46 past the hour. welcome back to " morning joe ." and joining us now from boston, republican senator from arizona, senator john mccain . senator, thanks for being on the show this morning.
>> thanks, mika.
>> so you're one of the few people on the face of the earth who would know what it feels like to be sitting in this position 24 hours out. can you describe it?
>> well, it's a lot of tension. and obviously, it's a lot of excitement. people are fired up. in my case, i think there was also a bit of a dose of reality in that we could read the polls and knew that it was going to be very difficult to win, but that didn't change our enthusiasm or our going all out until the last minute. you know, i'll never forget being in the '96 campaign with bob dole , and somebody had the great idea that we would go -- i think it was 72 hours without stopping. i still remember ending up at the 5 & diner at 3:00 a.m . in phoenix, arizona. i remember thinking, what the hell is this all about?
>> where am i?
>> what is going on? what do you see, senator, as somebody that's been through this, we were talking to steve schmidt before, trying to figure this out. you look at the numbers. your head tells you barack obama 's going to win. you look at a lot of the rallies. and i'm not just talking about republicans. i'm talking about political correspondents. like jeff zelling of "the new york times" and mark halperin with "time" saying boy, the enthusiasm sure seems to be on mitt romney 's side right now.
>> oh, i think it is. as you know, i've been traveling all over the country. there's incredible enthusiasm out there. how that translates, i'm not exactly sure. but it's bound to be encouraging for mitt. i'll tell you something else that's going on. this time i was in your hometown three or four times during this campaign. mainly because i loved to be in pensacola.
>> of course.
>> it's a great town.
>> we are seeing an anger level amongst the veterans about this benghazi thing that i have never seen before.
>> i wanted to ask you about that, senator. you actually called -- you want a special committee set up to investigate the benghazi attacks. and you called for that this weekend. talk about that.
>> we just have to have a select committee like we had with watergate, iran-contra and those. there's just too many conflicting stories. there's too much back-and-forth and different sources. and you know, four brave americans did die. and that really requires that level of involvement because frankly, i don't think many people in this country would trust just an administration investigation into it. so you're seeing some anger and a lot of enthusiasm out there on the part of veterans and active-duty military. now, how much of that actually matters? i don't know. but you know, joe, there's 1.6 million veterans in the state of florida. and i've never seen them as fired up as they are now.
>> senator mccain , it's willie geist . you've got access to information the rest of us don't have access to. so based on what you know about this benghazi story, details you've seen, do you suspect that this is a question of incompetence from the obama administration, or do you think there's some kind of a cover-up at play here?
>> willie, first of all, i don't have any inside information except from people i hear from, you know, who are on the ground or involved in it and through, frankly, off-the-record statements. but what i do know is that it was terribly mishandled. telling the american people that this was a spontaneous demonstration caused by a hateful video is just -- it doesn't pass the smell test. and then for seven weeks, we've been asking questions and haven't gotten a single answer. you know, we are a branch of government that has our responsibilities as well. has our responsibilities as well. so i think, also, they're starting to have a little back fighting amongst the different agencies of government, a little bit of cya is going on. but, frankly, i think the president should have, a long time ago, gone on television and said, look, here is what happened. here is what happened to the american people and obviously he hasn't done that.
>> so it sounds, senator, from your answer that it goes beyond incompetence, that they're hiding the truth from political gain. is that what you are suggesting?
>> willie, i'm suggesting it's eith either. i'm suggesting it's either gross incompetence and stove piping, in other words, agencies not sharing agencies with other agencies or bureaucrats trying to avoid responsibility. as you know, when something like this ooccurs, that always happens. or they've just decide d to run out the clock , and then maybe have a full and complete investigation. i don't know. but it's reprehensible. whatever it is, it's not acceptable. four brave americans died on august 15th . there was a meeting in the consulate saying, look, we're in serious trouble hear. al qaeda is coming back here and they sent that back to the state department and nothing happened? why weren't there forces in the region ready to react? there are so many questions and, of course, this whole thing of a spontaneous demonstration fed by a hateful video simply was not true. and it's very disappointing to me and very sad. as you may know, i was in benghazi with chris stevens . i was with him in tripoli july 7 on election day . thousands of libyans say, thank you, america. thank you, chris stevens . they loved him. they rejected islamists. that's what makes this story all the even more sad.
>> mike barnicle ?
>> off this very discussion, and begin your unique role, give us your assessment of the coverage of this campaign with regard to benghazi and the overlap of the presidential campaign . how do you think it's been covered by the media?
>> well, obviously, and i don't claim to be objective, i don't think enough. i understand today we find out there was a "60 minutes" portion that was left out of i guess it was pelley's interview with the president. but one of the things we always do knee jerk is to blame the media. and i love to do it. i love to beat up, especially on it this program.
>> it's a lot of fun. we're like a big -- my head is like a big softball for you, senator. go, baby. go.
>> but it's a nonproductive exercise. i mean, it makes you feel good, but it's not productive. the point is we've got to try to get a good, solid, credible investigation of this. we owe it to their families.
>> all right, senator john mccain , thank you very much. we will speak to you.
>> thanks for having me on.
>>> ahead this morning, obama's deputy campaign manager stephanie cutter . we'll