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. Floyd MacGillicutty

    It wasn't just that Gore said he "took initiative in helping create the internet". That statement is factually true. It's that "journalists" like Maureen Dowd of the New York Times distorted that statement and hammered on it for an entire election cycle, all the while knowing it was factually correct.

    The media, as in most of these cases, is directly responsible for the rise of George W Bush and the neocons who are allowed to come up with this garbage.

    If Maureen Dowd and others focus even half of the attention to this that they gave to Gore's comments back in 2000, McCain will be in trouble.

    I won't hold my breath.

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. James From Chicago

    These people have got to be kidding, McCain helped invent the
    Blackberry. He can't even send an e mail.


    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Jim (TX)

    I sure hope most of the people posting here stay home on Nov 4th. If this is the depth of their intellectual prowess then we are surely in trouble.

    First, Gore himself made the internet comment, in McCain's case it was a surrogate. McCain is not stumping on the idea that "he created the Blackberry". The point was that while McCain served on the Commerce Committee, he worked on legislation that opened up the telecommunciations industry, such that innovations like the Blackberry could be marketed.

    Second, this is another (blatant) smear angle by the Obama campaign. They know all too well how that the comment by Gore signaled the beginning of the end for his campaign and they are hoping to induce the same effect in McCain's camp. It's sad, really. MCain's aide was making a point to illustrate his experience and ability to get things done, and the Obama camp spun it into a Gore-style gaffe. It is not McCain that wants to win at all costs, it is Obama.

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. OBAMA the REAL Change

    John McCain....Why is it this is now just coming OUT! McCain and his camp will tell anything to appease the voters and then when questioned about this to McCain he will read off a note card like his VP pick. What’s NEXT, he will be given credit for inventing the electric stove.

    Come on McCain and camp, come up with something legit that McCain has done without it being a topic that is being QUESTIONED by the voters, and then all a sudden he is the SMART one....PLeaseeeeeeee

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. TyWebb

    I think it was "Booberry".

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Missouri

    That is too cute! He is nuts. McCain has lost his mind. We know the ads are false. We know about earmarks. We know the truth about Palin. We will note vote for him.

    Obama 08

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. From Canada

    I guess having his one daughter living in Toronto Canada, that would make him Canadian! Heck, we invite everyone in anyways!

    I will have to for ward this one off to my friends that work at RIM in Waterloo Ontario Canada, they will get a laugh over it!

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Palin is Bush 2008


    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. John Smith

    I thought he created the Helicopter Engines. But then, I am the average Republican voter with little knowlegde beyond issues such as guns and abortion!!

    September 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Terry

    If Al Gore was dead he would be rolling in his grave.

    September 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. hkk

    I thought he discovered fire!

    September 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Thomas

    I thought McCAin invented the xbox and Game boy!
    Oh that was gorge BUSH!

    All the best,
    Hambone Pickins

    September 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Floridian for Obama

    Now this is funny! I am laughing so hard right now.

    And yeah, he may have been sitting on the Commerce Committee, but that doesn't mean he knew what the heck they were talking about. He was probably daydreaming about going to another war while the Blackberry was being developed.

    September 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Raleigh,NC

    He likes it on his toast.....blackberry jam, that is!

    September 16, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. McNothing

    Hey Fred.......

    POW does not equate knowledge.

    McCain and Palin? All aboard the Titanic!

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |

    lol he probably can't even use a BB.

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. pay attention to wall street theivery!


    SAY NO TO FED commiting tax dollars (they call "liquidity") to the bailout of the war-profiteering loan-sharks on wall street!!!

    lehman is not the only or last pigs that tried to dump their 600 billion debt on taxpayers!

    there's a long line of even worse thieves twisting washington's arm!


    before they LIQUIFY YOU to secure their immoral financial and military empire!!!!

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Tommy

    What's that about judgement again, John? You and your campaign are so out of touch with reality in this country it is pathetic. Do us all a favor and check yourself into Shady Acres retirement home!

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Sherri

    Sadly, the tall tales of John McCain are larger than Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox. It is too bad they are not as uplifting as the folk tale. Stop playing with words, twisting the truth, and insulting our intelligence. Regulating and deregulating the industry did not create the Blackberry. Innovative, creative minds did.

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Bob Smith

    McCain is truly insane!

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Independents for McCain

    Sending Obama to Washington to be the doting foot soldier for the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Chris Didd, Ted kennedy and others is a frightening prospect. That is why many Independents are going with experience and a provem record of reaching across the aisle to work on ALL important agendas. Now is not the time to send in a rookie with no record of achievement on the national scene and no national orinternational experience – that is just too dangerous. we need experience and history of accomplishments to initiate change - not empty words written by strangers and read off a teleprompter eloquently by a junior Senator with 1 year in DC and 1 year campaigning WAKE UP AMERICA Obma, if elected, IS ZERO HEARBEATS AWAY FROM THE PRESIDENCY – THAT IS TOO CLOSE

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat????????

    I thought he invented the club and stone-ax!

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Charles

    Research in Motion is a Canadian company. John McCain must be a good legislator if his policies are so good they inspire innovation globally.

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. From Canada

    Blackberry is invented by Research in Motion (RIM) which is a Canadian company. Give me a break.

    September 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Eli

    The Maverick Inventor strikes again.

    September 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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