September 16th, 2008
12:19 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain adviser: BlackBerry a 'miracle' he 'helped create'

A McCain senior aide said Tuesday he “helped create” the Blackberry.

A McCain senior aide said Tuesday he “helped create” the Blackberry.

(CNN) - McCain senior domestic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said Tuesday the BlackBerry mobile e-mail device was a “miracle that John McCain helped create.”

Addressing the nation’s economic crisis, Holtz-Eakin told reporters traveling with the campaign “there’s no magic solution. And I don’t think that it’s at this moment imperative to write down exactly what the plan has to be.” He also said a president isn’t someone who needs to be heavily involved in policy specifics, which should be handled by “quality” advisers, and echoed McCain’s assessment that there might be a need for a “9/11-style commission” to determine what went wrong with the nation's economy, and to issue recommendations.

He added, though, that McCain — who has struggled to stress his economic credentials this cycle - did have experience dealing with the economy, pointing to his time on the Senate Commerce Committee. Pressed to provide an example of what McCain had accomplished on that committee, Holtz-Eakin said the senator did not have jurisdiction over financial markets - then held up his Blackberry, telling reporters: “He did this.”

“Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create,” said Holtz-Eakin. “And that’s what he did. He both regulated and de-regulated the industry.”

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Al Gore drew controversy when he said that during his time in Congress, he “took the initiative in creating the Internet” – based on his work promoting funding and early research in that area.

UPDATE: The Obama campaign responded to the comments minutes after they were reported. “If John McCain hadn’t said that ‘the fundamentals of our economy are strong’ on the day of one of our nation’s worst financial crises, the claim that he invented the BlackBerry would have been the most preposterous thing said all week,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Meanwhile, McCain senior aide Matt McDonald said that the senator "laughed" when he heard the comment.

"He would not claim to be the inventor of anything, much less the BlackBerry. This was obviously a boneheaded joke by a staffer," McDonald said.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (509 Responses)
  1. RIF

    The Straight Talk Express is now swirling around in circles like a broken remote controlled car.

    Is this guy serious? And I guess Palin invented the iPod. Two maverickey tech savy headed right off the cliff with all of their lies.

    It's pretty telling when one top McCain economic advisor thinks we are all just whinners and another one thinks that we are just plain stupid.

    September 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Cheesehead, WI

    People stop and think and take note. 45 days to go and McCain is BS-ing his way to the WH. Today is a good day for McCain if we don’t talk about the issues and his gaffes on the economy. His handlers may sound dump and ridiculous but they remain on task of getting McCain into the WH by getting us off Obama’s message to talk about this filth.

    September 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Mark Wagner

    If this wasn't a lie and McCain actually did invent the BlackBerry, I'd throw mine in the garbage.

    Luckily for me, his campaign is lying (again).

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. EMJ

    McCain still uses the telegraph.

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. TRBoston

    Do McCain's advisors hate him?

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Rodger

    McCain is a joke, Palin is corrupt. Just like the Bush administration.
    Enough...throw the bums out!

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Steve, FL

    This IS like Al Gore's internet comments... except they're actually not based in anything resembling reality. Was McCain, like Gore, heavily involved in (as the article says) heavily promoting funding and research into Blackberries? I highly doubt it.

    Hopefully this gaffe does for McCain what the internet one did for Gore (unfortunately there) since you don't even have to work to twist it and take it out of context like you did with Gore.

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. John from PA

    I remember George Bush and the Republican Party promising smaller government, less spending and more accountability. The national Dept has almost DOUBLED in the last four years. I could never believe McCain/Palin will do anything different.

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. SUE


    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Don't Change The Subject

    Trying to change the subject John, you're an idiot.

    It's the economy stupid, and we will focus like a laser on how you made such and idiotic statement yesterday. One of the worst days in stock market.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. independentMind

    what next? good lord they are reaching. this is laughable but saddening at the same time. how did we get mccain as the GOP nominee?

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Kiah G.

    This campaign is a joke!

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. American Expat

    One of his "spokeswoman" said he did not know how to use a computer because of the damage to his arms "as a POW." I have seen him campaigning waving his arms, switching the mic from hand to hand, etc. And he can't move his FINGERS to operate a computer? Give me a break! The man is ancient history. I am his age, plus about a year, and I do not have ANY problem operating this machine! 'Nuff said.!

    September 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Floridaguy

    Almost as amazing as taking a totally unqualified Mayor and saying she has foreign policy experience because
    1.) Alaska is next to Russia
    2.) She stopped for fuel in Ireland

    How pathetic............

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Republi-CON


    Is that a pig in the sky????

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Frank

    Insanity ! Pathetic ! Not worthy of a candidate for President of the USA!

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. John in Ohio

    I was in the Air Force for 7 years. During that time, I was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Iraq, stationed in Korea and Japan, and I've had refueling stops or layovers in Taiwan, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, England, Ireland, Italy, and Germany. By McCain standards, I'm a foreign policy expert.

    In Saudi Arabia and Iraq there were British, German, French, and Canadian forces there with us, so I'm also an expert in international relations. Additionally, at the DMZ in Korea, I looked over the fence into North Korea, and looked at the guards there, so I have experience dealing with Kom Jong Il and facing down the North Korean government. So I'm an expert on international security.

    Boy, the Republicans have really cornered the market on resume padding, haven't they?

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Obamacan

    Are you serious??? I never thought I would laugh at my own party but this is just TOO FUNNY not to laugh at.

    Hey McSame, what do press to send an email from my Blackberry?

    Republican for Obama 08.

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Ram


    See what America has reduced itself to! A bunch of clowns competing for Presidency ..

    Q: Whats your foreign policy experience?
    A: I can see Russia from my home and I've seen Iraq from its borders!!

    Q: Whats your economic policy and how will you fix economy?
    A: I will invent new things to fix economy like the one I did .. here the Blackberry!!

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Steve

    The Blackbery was developed in Kitchener,Ontario, Canada, by Research In Motion. (RIM).
    This is a Canadian invention

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Ron, NYC

    CNN the more you put up some of this preposterous crap from the McCain campaign on your website, the more credibility you lose. CNN and others, remember you aided and abetted the Bush admininstration's sale of a bogus war on the American people. Now you are aiding and abetting a continuation of Bush's policies with your whole hearted support of McCain.

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Breck

    *Deep breath* HAHAHAHAHAHA! Come on, who does he think he's kidding?

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. jr california

    Oh: The Dow average the day Bill Clinton took office was 3,242. His Dow went up 226%.

    More good commercial fodder, no? 226% to 3%.


    oh and hey johnny... get an iPhone brah!

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Ron

    Wow, Bush used the whole Al Gore "I invented the internet" thing to hurt Gore in 2000. It worked as it became a joke and made Gore a joke.

    We can only hope this "I created the Blackberry" thing works as well on McCain.

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Mccain is Bush

    Yeah and I Invented the Cell Phone Give me a break these Liars yeah he Invented the Blackberry but he can't even send a email? The person that Invented the Blackberry can adleast send a Email i am sure let alone Know how to use a Computer. How can you invent a device with gadgets on there that you have never Used? Mccain take your Lying NO computer using self to Alaska and Hide because this is the Stupidist thing i Heard all Year! I created Heat as well Mccain since we are just Lying about things we created! Obama 08 the One in the Campaign that TELLS THE TRUE!

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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