McCain: Benghazi Didn't Fit Obama Narrative

Meghan McCarthy
National Journal

Sen. John McCain continued his criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of a deadly attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, suggesting the president mislead the American public on the attack to support his story that al-Qaida’s influence is diminishing in the middle east.

“The narrative of the president is ‘I got Bin Laden, and al-Qaida is in the run,’ but al-Qaida is not on the run, and is making a strong comeback all over the Middle East,” McCain said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “This may interfere with that narrative.”

McCain said he would allow any nominee to lead the State Department “the benefit of the hearing process,” including top contender U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. Rice has come under fire for initially saying the Benghazi attack was the result of a spontaneous protests, rather than a planned terrorist attack.

“Under the present circumstances, until we find out all the information of what happened, I don’t think you could support any nominee right now,” McCain said. “It really goes to the heart of this whole light footprint policy that this administration has been pursuing...the chickens are now coming home to roost.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told NBC’s Meet the Press that Obama administration seemed to change their story for political gain.

“Isn't it kind of an odd reason to take al-Qaida out of the equation when the story they told helps the president enormously three week before the election?” Graham said.

When asked about Rice’s potential nomination to lead the State Department, Graham focused his criticism on the president. Obama said in a press conference last week that McCain and Graham should come after him, not Rice.

“I blame the president more than anyone else,” Graham said. “Susan Rice is a bit player here.”

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