(ONTARIO, Ohio) — After nearly 48 hours of squall stall, Sen. John McCain has kicked the the presidential campaign back into gear, ripping the Obama administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi during a brief speech Tuesday afternoon at a “storm relief and volunteer appreciation” event in central Ohio.
“The president is either engaged in a massive cover-up deceiving the American people or he is so grossly incompetent that he is not qualified to be the commander-in-chief of our armed forces,” McCain told a gathering of Romney supporters.
“I think it’s interesting to note that when there was a success, such as when, thank God, we were able to get bin Laden, the administration poured out every single detail, even details that put American lives in danger,” McCain said, answering reporters’ questions later.
It’s a familiar line of attack from the Arizona senator, who during a Sunday appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation called the incident “the worst cover-up of incompetence I have ever observed in my life.”
“This administration is very good at touting and giving all the details, like when they got bin Laden but now we know there were tapes, or recordings inside the consulate during this fight…and the FBI finally got in and took those and now they’re classified as ‘top secret,’” McCain added, suggesting the president understood the nature of the attack weeks before informing the public.
Speaking at another “storm relief event” earlier in the day, Mitt Romney was more cautious.
“We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on in a major part of the country,” he said as volunteers boxed up food, bottled water, diapers and batteries for storm victims.
Romney is in Florida Tuesday night. He will join Sen. Marco Rubio on the campaign trail Wednesday morning. President Obama is not expected back on the stump before Thursday.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN