The Washington Post

McCain: Boston bombings proved Rand Paul wrong

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested Sunday that fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) hurt his credibility on fighting terrorism.

Asked by CNN's Candy Crowley about Paul's objection to the Obama administration's surveillance programs, which McCain supports, McCain said Paul got it wrong in the runup to the Boston Marathon bombings.

"Just prior to the Boston bombing, he said the battlefield was no longer in America," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "He’s the only one that voted that Iran must not be ... contained in the pursuit of nuclear weapons. I disagree."

McCain and Paul have found themselves on opposite sides of many foreign policy and terrorism-related issues. After Paul's 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's drone program earlier this year, McCain labeled Paul and fellow conservatives -- including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) -- "wacko birds."

During the filibuster, Paul argued that the United States should not be considered a battlefield.

"Alarm bells should go off when people tell you that the battlefield's in America," he said, according to a transcript. "Why? Because when the battlefield's in America, we don't have due process. What they're talking about is they want the laws of war."

The second part of McCain's comment appears to refer to Paul's vote in September 2012 against a non-binding resolution seeking to contain Iran's nuclear program. Paul said the legislation amounted to a declaration of war.

Paul appeared on "Fox News Sunday" while McCain was on CNN. Despite his frequent battles with McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Paul described himself as a "conduit" between conservatives and moderates in Congress.

Update 11:29 a.m.: Paul ally Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) responds:


Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, with 12 points over Ben Carson.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 18%
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.