Newt: McCain is "sad" for attacking Rand Paul

McCain criticized Paul and Ted Cruz Thursday, saying "it's always the wacko birds" who get all the attention

By Jillian Rayfield

Published March 8, 2013 2:15PM (EST)

The sniping over Rand Paul continues, as Newt Gingrich called John McCain "sad" for criticizing Paul's almost-13-hour filibuster in opposition to John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA.

“What I find sad about Sen. McCain’s recent comments both to Ted Cruz, when Ted Cruz was frankly raising legitimate questions [about Benghazi] and with Rand Paul, is, you know, when I first knew John McCain in the House — he was a maverick. In the Senate, for years, he was a maverick,” Gingrich said on Fox News on Thursday.

He added: "But I think frankly it doesn’t hurt Ted Cruz and it doesn’t hurt Rand Paul — it hurts John McCain. The country is moving on, we’re in a new era, people know that these are legitimate questions.”

McCain had criticized Paul's filibuster, quoting from an earlier Wall Street Journal Op-Ed and calling the Kentucky Republican's filibuster a "stunt" to "fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms." McCain also called some of Paul's claims "simply false."'

Later on, McCain said Paul, along with other conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, are possibly "harmful if there is a belief among the American people that those people are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans. They're not."

"They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else," McCain added, according to the Huffington Post. "But I also think that when, you know, it's always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone."

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Drones John Mccain Newt Gingrich Rand Paul Republicans Ted Cruz