Laughing Off Insult, John McCain Says That Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert "Has No Intelligence"

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The U.S. government shutdown, which finally ended this morning after 16 days with no one quite sure what any of it accomplished, didn’t exactly bring out the best in many of our nation’s leaders — particularly on the Republican side as the party appeared to splinter before the country’s eyes.

Arizona Senator John McCain managed to emerge as one of the more level-headed Republicans throughout this mess, which earned him the scorn of some of his more extreme colleagues.

Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert has earned a reputation for making outrageous, unsupported and downright vituperative statements. The latest came last Friday and was directed McCain's way.

Speaking in Washington D.C. at the Value Voters summit last Friday, Gohmert unleashed one of his patented zingers in McCain’s direction, saying that the onetime Republican presidential nominee should be ignored when he speaks out against the shutdown because the Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war supported anti-American terrorism.

Addressing the Value Voters audience, a gathering of the party’s most far-right supporters, Gohmert referred to McCain thusly, as, “A guy that liked Qadaffi before he wanted to bomb him, a guy that liked Mubarak before he wanted him out, a guy that's been to Syria and supported Al-Qaeda and rebels."

Then Gohmert got to what set him off.

“He was saying today 'The shutdown has been a fool's errand.' And I agree with him. The President and Harry Reid should not have shut this government down.”

Okay, whatever. But you’d think that being called a backer of the organization that committed the 9/11 attacks as well as several other of the worst terror attacks against Americans in history would get McCain’s blood boiling. But in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams last night, McCain had a nonchalant retort.

“On that particular issue, sometimes comments like that are made out of malice,” McCain said. “But if someone has no intelligence, I don’t view it as being a malicious statement. You can’t respond to that kind of thing.”

Gohmert later tried to wriggle away from his bizarre insult toward McCain, saying on the floor oftyhe house that “some people have tried to take things I said in an inappropriate way.”

Watch the whole interview between Williams and McCain below.

SOURCES: The Hill, Atlantic Wire, Chicago Tribune