Republican Jon Kyl may be retiring from the Arizona Senate this year, but he’s not going out without expressing his feelings about President Barack Obama.
At the Mountain View Clubhouse in SaddleBrooke today, Kyl touched on topics such as the economy and Benghazi attack, but also took a moment to criticize Obama for his behavior in the final of three presidential debates, aired live on Oct. 22.
In that debate, Obama responded to GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s comments that the United States currently has less Navy ships than it did in 1916.
“Well governor,” said Obama in the debate, “We also have fewer horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
“How denigrative. How petty is that?” said Kyl. “Only a small-minded person would stoop so low as to get into that kind of commentary. I was just struck by how uncivil the President was toward Governor Romney. He should not be talking to people that way, at least if he’s President of the United States. If he wants to be a jerk on a barstool someplace, fine.”
Kyl also referred to Romney as “a bigger person than the President,” and as someone who is “willing to overlook all these slights.”
Fielding questions from the audience, Kyl went on to criticize the President for the state of the economy, refuting Democratic claims that former President George W. Bush is the reason for the nation’s current deficit.
“Our deficits were under $200 billion a year under President Bush,” said Kyl. “Now, that’s not great, but it’s not $1.2 trillion. Barack Obama has never had a budget deficit under a trillion dollars. His budget has trillion dollar deficits for many years to come. The highest the budget deficit ever got under George Bush was $400 million, and that was his last year, when the recession started, and Obama had part of it. You can’t say Bush’s spending policies drove us into this recession.”
One SaddleBrooke resident asked Kyl about the latest details of the terrorist attack in Benghazi on a U.S. Consulate that, six weeks ago, killed four Americans.
The question was prompted by the fact that earlier today, emails from the State Department and FBI to the White House regarding the attack were leaked. These emails, sent two hours after the attack began on Sept. 11, stated that an Islamist group had claimed credit. Obama initially declined to call the attack an act of terrorism and said details were unclear, but Kyl believes Obama is simply being dishonest.
“Stonewalling and cover-ups never work, because in the end, too many people know the facts, and the facts are going to get out,” said Kyl. “There are enough good people in the State Department and in the intelligence community. They weren’t going to let this lie hang out there forever, so now you’re seeing all these leaked emails that say, ‘Yes, it was a terrorist attack, it was a terrorist attack from day one, and the White House and State Department knew it.’”
Kyl also denied the claim by Democrats that the attack came as the result of an anti-Muslim film.
“All this ballooning for two weeks about still checking the facts, and that it was because of that movie – no it wasn’t,” said Kyl.
Kyl, who spoke with the Director of National Intelligence following the attack, was mum about the exact details of the conversation, but did share a glimpse of insight.
“I can’t tell you what he told me, but I can tell you this,” said Kyl. “I know of no information that the intelligence community ever had that this was an attack based upon that movie. Someday, I hope that all comes out, and you’re starting to see it already with these leaked emails.”
Jon Kyl is serving his third and final term in the Senate.
Kyl’s seat will be filled either by Republican Jeff Flake or Democrat Richard Carmona, who are in a tight race heading into the Nov. 6 General Election.