BOCA RATON, Fla. — Sen. John McCain said Monday that if President Barack Obama is to take credit for killing Osama bin Laden in tonight’s debate, he must also bear the responsibility for the turmoil in the Middle East.
Speaking to reporters in the spin room hours before the third and final presidential debate, McCain slammed Obama for conveying a sense of “weakness” to allies and foes across the globe.
“I think that all Americans give the president credit for the elimination of OBL,” McCain said. “And then he should take credit for the abject failure throughout the Middle East. Al Qaeda is resurgent throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, all of North Africa, Libya, Mali. They’re returning because we’re weak.”
“I don’t think he let off of al Qaeda,” McCain added, answering a reporter’s question. “I think that he has projected a position of weakness and a position of lack of leadership —as he calls it leading from behind.”
McCain also laid into Obama for silence on Syria, saying his failure to take a more forceful position risks a regional crisis.
“How do justify over 30,000 people being massacred in Syria and I’ve heard him speak out on their behalf once — once — while arms are pouring in from the Russians, Iranians are there on the ground. And what has this administration done? Absolutely nothing. And just as many of us have predicted, it’s beginning to spill over in to Lebanon, into Jordan, into the other countries in the region, and we are on the verge of a serious crisis.”
The 2008 Republican nominee also had harsh words to say about Obama’s handling of the Benghazi attack, saying the administration is either incompetent or lying to the American people.
“And on the Libya thing, it’s either absolute and total incompetence, or willfully deceiving the American people. We know that this was no a spontaneous demonstration. We know that it was not fueled by a hateful video. It was an al Qaeda affiliated group that had attacked our consulate twice before. How he thinks he can fool the American people on this one, I don’t know.”
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