Power Players

Sen. John McCain praises ambassador killed in Libya, refuses to criticize Obama

Power Players

Spinners and Winners

We caught up with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to talk to him about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya and Cairo. His tone could not have been more different than those of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Firstly, McCain offered a moving tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens, who he got to know well on his various trips to Libya. Stevens and three other Americans were killed during an assault on the American consulate in Benghazi Tuesday evening.

"Chris Stevens is one of the finest people I've ever known in my life," McCain said. "He loved the Libyan people. They loved him. He and I were down there on election night and people were saying, 'Thank You America.'"

"I guarantee you the one thing Chris Stevens did not want is for us to abandon Libya."

McCain also met Stevens in Benghazi during the Libyan revolution that ended in the death and overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

"He was living in a hotel room in Benghazi under threat of death every day," McCain said. "He was a brave and wonderful man and he was down to earth. They loved him."

McCain, who is ranking member of the Senate armed services committee, said that Libya is a dangerous place, but emphasized that the "overwhelming majority" of Libyans voted for a moderate government and did not rise up with al Qaeda and terrorists. That is, the attacks on the consulate are an ill representation of the Libyan people.

"It was a terrorist attack. It wasn't the result of a mob being excited. It was a group of jihadists who were well-armed and well-trained and well-equipped, and they decided to attack the consulate in Benghazi and try and kill people. That's far different from what happened in Cairo, where a mob was whipped into a frenzy by these people who were talking about this so-called movie that insults Mohammed."

As for the Obama administration's handling of the crisis, McCain was almost entirely positive. "I think it was fine. By the way, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton gave a marvelous statement today," said McCain. He did not offer such praise for the Romney campaign's statements on the events.

Check out this week's Spinners and Winners for more, including the 2008 Republican presidential candidate's debate advice for Mitt Romney.

ABC News' Gregory Simmons-Lemos contributed to this report.

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