September 16th, 2008
12:19 PM ET
6 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. Don't Change The Subject !

    Pay no attention to the economic crisis behind the curtain.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. KH

    WHAT !!!
    HA! – McCain doesn't even know how to use a BlackBerry.

    Let me get this straight:
    Obama is to blame for Gas prices
    and
    McCain gets credit for creating BlackBerrys
    WHOA!!
    Whats next? Obama caused global warming and McCain invented the iPhone??

    September 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. McCain 2 Face

    WOW, they hung Gore for his internet remark.

    I think McCain might have invented the two cans with a string.

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Mike Cook

    “Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years"

    Excuse me for letting the facts get in the way here , but....The Blackberry was developed by the Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) I could be mistaken but I don't think John McCain ever worked for RIM.

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. phil

    The blackberry was created by RESEARCH IN MOTION!!! A CANADIAN COMPANY.! It was created in the province of ontario in canada.... till today... the canadian company still has the rights to the blackberry!

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Minneapolis Mike

    Sounds like an Al-Gore-like "I invented the internet" moment... and we know how well that worked out for Al. Oh well, at least McCain can look forward to winning an Academy Award for a documentary based on some pet project of his.

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    He invented the blackberry like Palin becomes an expert on foreign policy because she can see Russia from parts of Alaska?

    How can anybody buy this stuff?

    And since he doesn't feel a need to come up with a plan for the economy - wants to leave it to advisors - guess he really doesn't think it's in such bad shape. Or could it be he simply hasn't a clue?

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Susanne.NM

    There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the McCain Zone

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. CRV

    The MACBERRY!!!

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Dennis

    Wow, CNN is really stretching people's comments.

    1st, McCain never said he invented the Blackberry, this is an article about and advisor that was interviewed..

    2nd, his advisor didn't say McCain invented the Blackberry. His Advisor said that McCain, through the commerce commitee, helped create the telecommunications world we live in by regulation/de-regulation of the industry.

    The keywords to focus on are "helped to create", unlike Al Gore who directly said, "He invented" the internet. Helped to create and invented are entirely different.

    Liberal Spin.

    September 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Diane

    That Blackberry comment is ridiculous. The McCain camp will do anything to lie their way to win this election. The Republicans have had 8 years and look at whats happened. War, economy, the largest national debt ever. Lets give Obama a chance. I don't think he could do any worse. McCain, right now its the economy!! Stupid!!!

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Seattle Sue

    Just one more lie in a long list of lies.

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Ricky - Latino for Obama

    Yet McCain doesnt know how to use one...

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Christina

    This is funnier than Saturday Night Live! More like Washington Night Live! McCain can't send emails let only create the blackberry. He probably thinks the monitor is the computer and a laptop is a monitor.

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Brian

    In 1995 John McCain was busy working in RIM labs in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. John McCain also coined the term "crackberry" but Paul Levy gets all the credit.

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Anonymous

    He was also a POW, if you didn't know.

    You're all sexist.

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. nc

    Its not true they are lie to you

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. K

    Mccain invented the eggs for storks to carry babies also HUH?
    I guess he invented mp3's and ipods to HUH?
    WOW

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Careful now..

    Oh God Obama..give the economy comment a rest will ya? I think you need to change your message.

    You hammered Hillary over and over (and over) about the Iraqi vote but your own VP voted for the war right along side Hillary. You are a joke.

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Joe the Bartender

    Yup, just like Al Gore invented the internet. The only thing McCain's "invented" is purported knowledge in numerous areas. Give us a break!

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Don't Change The Subject !

    Hello, the economy, don't change the subject.

    The FUNDAMENTALS

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. MW

    That is hilarious. The REAL inventor is Thomas Campana Jr. without the help from John McCain. Thanks for the good laugh though McCain camp.

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Wayan

    Pretty funny stuff.

    Mike Lazaridis, the Canadian who became a billionaire by starting the RIM company and INVENTOR of Blackberry must be wondering what guy has to do to get some respect...

    September 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Miracle ?

    I love how the right wing uses values voters to achieve their ambitions but in the process contradicts them by using terms like miracle for a cell phone. I have read scripture and I have heard pastors preach rarely does man get credit for God’s miracles. Furthermore when the hell did a technology invention constitute a miracle.

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Republican for Obama

    Well that does it.

    I have been undecided. Until now. Saying you helped create the freakin Blackberry? What the heck? I wonder what Blackberry's people will have to say about this? Maybe John McCain will get sued for libel.

    This election has gotten pretty nasty on both sides, but the Republicans have been far worse in my opinion. They used to be about small government, keeping taxes low, a strong military, fighting corruption. Ronald Reagan use to say that we achieve "Peace through Strength.

    Note to John McCain: That does not mean you bomb Russia just for the heck of it.

    Now who are the Republicans? People who will lie, cheat and steal just to get elected. Country First my foot. Now the deficit is in the trillions, we are in a war with no end in sight, and worst of all: people who use God as a political tool.

    I'm a Christian and I can tell you, God doesn't prescribe to any political party. Jesus was about helping the meek and the poor. Since when have the Republican party done that? What's worse, when people like Jerry Fallwell endorse Republican candidates, that is the publics view of Christians, radicals who can't listen to anyone. NOT TRUE, at least in mot cases. Please don't believe what Sarah Palin says.....

    Sorry to get off on my soap box but these guys just make me sick. I don't want them ruining government for four more years and ignoring half the country. I don't want them injecting religion where it doesn't belong. I don't want them to become the spokesperson for my faith.

    Ok, I'm done.

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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