Maddow: McCain ‘the engine driving the crazy’ on Benghazi conspiracy theories
Thursday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’s recent attacks on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and declared that the former presidential candidate is grasping at relevance with this controversy and sullying whatever positive accomplishments may be left in his legacy by doing so.
She began the segment by discussing President Barack Obama’s ongoing efforts at storm relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. “But if the president’s message in New York was about buckling down and cooperating and working together to get things done, what happened in Washington today was a study in contrast from that,” she said, before rolling video of the vicious back and forth between Republicans and Democrats at Thursday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Gen. Petraeus announced on Wednesday that he would be testifying at closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Benghazi, but in an interview with CNN’s Kyra Phillips, he underscored the fact that his resignation is for purely personal reasons. He said that he is “eager” to testify in Congress to clear up any misconceptions about the topic.
That declaration, Maddow said, “is related, presumably, to the conspiracy theories about Gen. Petraeus’s resignation that increasingly are populating the conservative media right now.”
“It’s obvious that someone was out to silence Petraeus,” wrote Judge Andrew Napolitano at FoxNews.com. He and other right wing pundits are declaring that the Petraeus resignation simply has to be about more than an affair.
“There must be a leftist, government cover-up going on!” mocked Maddow.
“But honestly, the engine that is and has been driving the crazy for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, it’s still Sen. John McCain,” she said.
In the last week, she said, McCain has made six different media appearances to promote his vision of a big Obama administration cover up on Benghazi, “making his case over and over and over and over again,” Maddow said, “to any blinking red light within sight about how Benghazi should not be viewed as an attack on an American consulate, but as a Democratic Lie, an Obama Scandal. ‘The Senate needs more information about this blatant cover-up,’ says John McCain! John McCain needs more information!”
However, she pointed out, when he had the opportunity on Thursday to get more information on the so-called scandal in a hearing with his colleagues who were being briefed about the attack, McCain was too busy giving a press conference about how he needed more information about the attack to actually go.
Then, when a CNN reporter caught up with him to ask why he’d skipped the classified hearing, McCain snapped at the man, saying, “I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media,” and then, when asked why he wouldn’t comment, he said, “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?”
So far, McCain hasn’t been able to get much traction among the Republican leadership with his calls for “Watergate-style hearings” about Benghazi, but it does not appear to be slowing him down.
“Here’s how you know when someone is being disingenuous,” said Maddow. “When they demand something, and when you give them that thing, they just keep demanding it and they pretend you’re not giving it to them, and they just keep making the demand anyway as if it hasn’t been met.”
Something else is going on here, she said.
She then welcomed Josh Rogin, staff writer for Foreign Policy magazine and its blog, “The Cable.”
Rogin agreed with Maddow’s assessment from Wednesday night’s show that President Obama is pushing back with unusual force on the Benghazi issue. The politicization of the attack by Mitt Romney, he said, began on the night of the attack, but now the Romney campaign is over, “leaving guys like John McCain holding the bag.”
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below: