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. Lyndon,CA

    OBAMA=MOSES-–MCCAIN=JOHN THE BAPTIST
    AMERICA VOTES IN BLACK AND WHITE!

    September 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Grog in Ohio

    I wonder if Faux News will make as big a deal over this gaffe as their lie that Al Gore claimed he invented the internet? What am I saying... of course, they will NOT.

    126 days till the end of the Bush administration.

    September 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain will be another of the worst economic disaster this country has ever seen if he becomes president. People need to take off the Republican or Democrat blinders and listen to the issues. McCain doesn't know anything about economics and is too old to play catchup now, he just wants to be president and that's it.

    September 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Joe in MN

    More LIES. No more McCain.

    September 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Andy J, NY

    Man, you liberals need to learn to take a joke.

    McCain laughed when he was told of the statement... i seriously doubt mccain has any fantasies about him "inventing" the blackberry.

    get a sense of humor, you idiots.

    September 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. RJ, Phoenix

    I cannot believe the level of ignorance in the comments posted here.
    Nowhere did the article state that McCain "invented" the Blackberry.

    It clearly states that legislation McCain worked on made it possible for devices like the Blackberry, become a reality.

    Was it a bit exaggerated? Sure, but tell me something in politics that isn't.
    Blame the writers of the article for the sensational headline.
    Innuendo is a great tool when it comes to writing trash.

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. pay attention to wall street theivery!

    PEOPLE,

    SAY NO TO FED commiting tax dollars (in they call "liquidity") to bailout 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 much worse and bigger thieves twisting washington's arm!

    CALL AND WRITE TO YOUR REP IN WASHINGTON NOW

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

    and take a look at your portfolio: you hard earn money invested in these crooks are already worth nothing!

    DO NOT THROW GOOD TAX MONEY BEHIND THE BAD MONEY that has already evaporated!

    well, the wealth you thought you had made by investing in this scam

    NEVER EXISTED in the first place.

    invest in substance, such as

    land and building, and

    pay off your mortgage asap!

    and most of all, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM CORPORATES,

    unless your life depends on it!

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. tim

    liana....

    McCain is responsible for his advisor's comments!

    out of touch.... period.

    Where are you, McCain supporters? The polls say you are there, but I haven't met any of you yet!

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Tim

    Ahh.....no wonder users refer to the devices as "crack berries". You must be on "crack" to believe this statement from the campaign is true.
    No way..no how....no Palin Administration.

    Enough is enough!

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Bob

    McCain voted for the Blackberry...
    The thing is, he thought he was ordering dessert.

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. aketch

    like others have said, the blackberry was developed in Canada, and seriously didn't McCain say he didn't know how to send an email anyway? it was lame when gore said he invented the internet and for john mccain to claim something as ridiculous is just plain nuts.

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. David Orbach, New York, NY

    The thing is, Al Gore actually WAS involved with the internet while it was in it's infancy. But, this is really a non-story compared to Ms. Palin's dodging the truth about Troopergate. After eight years of this, we need more? The only explanation is, we must be a society of masochists.

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. The Voice of Common Sense (Independent Voter - Charlotte, NC)

    ...and Al Gore created the Internet, right?

    Baldwin/Castle 08!

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Kitty Parker

    I can't believe the way CNN is distorting the facts on this one, including the headline. Especially the headline, since that is what drew me and no doubt others into this silly, sensational nothing of a story. I'm a member of the media, and I write headlines every day. Obviously, I labor more over whether what I write is true and accurate and fair than CNN, the home to the No Bias, No Bull mantra that proves more comical every day. Good luck staying out of courts with careless work like that, fellas. (And I use the word fellas, b/c of all the Palin bashing out there; surely women who have had to claw and fight and scratch and hiss their way to any sort of higher ground in this business environment would not turn on one of their own, would they?) Oh, I forgot about Campbell Brown. There goes that.

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Jessica in IL

    Excuse me? I heard he has trouble with email!

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Abbey

    Uh, so why have a president when we can just have a White House full of advisers and lobbyists?

    With John McCain that is what we'll have–just advisers and lobbyists making decisions for the President. Face facts, I don't trust my grandfather to drive my car, why would I trust him with the future of me and my children?

    This has to stop. Americans, you need to wake up! Obama is our only hope at this point...and no, he didn't invent blackberries!

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. John, IN

    Once again, the McCain campaign conterdicts itself by saying

    "...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"

    Isn't this exactly what McCain and his advisors have been saying about Barack Obama...that's he is just an "empty suit", "all rhetoric", "no solutions"

    September 16, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Riaz

    oh yea.. his WIFE/IN-LAWS have a distributorship deal also !!!!

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Susan

    Swwet Jesus, another miracle by McCain. Is this one like when he said he helped create the laws on Wall Street, and now he can fix them, just like he knows where Bin laden is and how to get him, but won't unless he is elected. Dear God, America !! WAKE UP!!

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Dameun Strange

    Jesus! The way I understand it is that he helped make it possible for it to be created. And who cares. What does this have to do with anything? Lets report on real issues. What is he going to do about the economy and Wall Street? How will he reform politics and create transparency with a VP who is starting to look less like Tina Fey and more like Dick Cheney, everyday?

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Eric

    People please. McCain did in fact invent the Blackberry in 12,000 BC combining the raspberry and and the extinct petroleum berry.

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Jamie

    And Obama-philes are still wondering what Obama has done for the past 20 years.

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. no trickle down...

    John McCain, "I've heard of the internets".
    LOL!

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Winkzilla, Tucson

    The only bonehead is McCain saying our economy is strong.

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Miguel Filomeno

    Thanks, but no thanks George McCain! I know the facts and it was actually created in Wasilla, Alaska (population 5)

    this guy is a joke!

    September 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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