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"American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood, has been a box office juggernaut. But the movie has also been steeped in controversy with liberals and conservatives drawing political battle lines.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman and former POW John McCain weighed in Wednesday in a CNBC interview—calling statements made by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore "idiotic."
In criticizing "American Sniper," Moore tweeted last week:
This provoked an avalanche of criticism on social media and the 24-hour news channels.
McCain told "Squawk Box " Wednesday morning: "Sometimes when I hear an idiotic statement like that from someone like Michael Moore I don't want to dignify it with a response because it's so outrageous."
The Arizona Republican and former presidential nominee did say he had not seen the movie but intends to "as soon as possible."
Reacting more broadly to Moore's tweet, the senator said, "That's like saying we should not use airplanes, we should not use tanks, we should not use any other weapon. What does he want us to do, go back to hand-to-hand fighting?"
McCain said Moore's comment was insulting to the highly skilled men and women who serve as snipers and save the lives of their fellow service members.
"They are able to neutralize or take out an enemy that's bent on destroying them," McCain said. "The better capability we have, and the finer young men that we have, the better off we're going to be."
Moore did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. But the documentary filmmaker did post a tweet Sunday—defending himself against the onslaught of criticism.