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. Tony

    John McCain has gone from an honorable, admired, respected hero and role model to a sad, bitter, lying, self-absorbed, dersperate old man.

    How very, very sad!

    September 16, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. KJL

    I'm an Independant. I was concerned about both Obama's youth and McCain's age, but now I'm beginning to wonder if McCain is suffering the effects of post-traumatic stress. It's kinder than saying he's showing signs of senility.

    September 16, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Joe

    This is getting ridiculous. Everything someone says is REALLY being taken too literally. This should not even be reported.

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Colo Sprgs, CO

    Yet another reason why the McCain campaign is a complete disaster. Ship of fools. And all the fools who follow will go down with the ship.

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Erica

    Yeah right!

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. the truth now

    The president of the USA had better be well versed in economics of he will be eaten alive by special interests. You can't tell me that special interests would not be on his trusted commission. As far as 911 all the commission has done is take away some freedoms as well as make it a nightmare to travel anywhere. Can you imagine if someone like that was in charge of the economy. Grab the women and children and hold on to your money. It is going to be a bumpy ride!!!!!!

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. TyWebb

    It's quite obvious McCain is oblivious to how his campaign is being run and is giving carte blanche to what is communicated in between his naps. There must be some serious concern among the "managers".

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Miguel Filomeno


    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Al Mellen

    Considering how old McCain acts and talks at times,,,,,,,,,,perhaps he was also the inventor of the WHEEL,,,,,,,,,,Americans need to wake up before McCain has the power to invent the THIRD WORLD WAR,,,,,I HAVE NO DOUBTS THAT HE COULD TO THIS. Undoubtedly the Beauty queen from Alaska would help in this endeavour,,,,,,,Go Sarah

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Dood

    Most Americans don't know what a BlackBerry is.

    So, lots of luck trying to snowball this like the Gore-internet thing.

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Patrick

    Does McCain even know where Canada is? Research In Motion is a CANADIAN FIRM.... AND HAS BEEN DEVELOPING IT'S PRODUCTS FOR OVER 20 YEARS....

    Just goes to show the arrogance of some Americans...

    September 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Peter

    Now... now - he probably just misspoke - he meant to say he invented blueberries

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. American

    WOW...........I guess his new name should be Bill McGates.
    McCain gets more and more pathethic everyday.

    ...and why cant McOld ever be seen without Palin anymore? Because he can not get more than 500 people to come listen to his ramblings.

    After all of Palins skeletons come out all those crowds will also evaporate.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. DP from Canada

    McCain didn't have anything to do with the Blackberry. It was invented by Mike Lazaridis of Research in Motion in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Incidentally, Mike Lazaridis is the CEO of the company and the headquarters is still in Waterloo. McCain should try lying about something that is a little more believable, like he was influential in America's transition from the horse and buggy to the automobile in the early twentieth century.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Pretty good response by the McCain camp, but Holtz-Eakin is not a "staffer," he's the senior domestic policy advisor. Quite a difference.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Matt


    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. Ex-Republican for Obama

    The only thing he helped in regards to the blackberry, is out sourcing it's production.

    Flip it over and see where it's made, CHINA....

    Thanks Johnny, your job security for americans is GREAT (NOT).

    Next on his list of to do: Out source the government to Communist Rule.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. jim, kansas city MO

    You know these smear tactics are not going to work on either one supporter base. Democrats who want to vote for Obama, they will vote for him not matter what, even thought it gets proven that he tried to renegotiate troop withdrawal till after elections, on other side republicans who will vote for McCain will vote for him no matter what even he it gets disproven that he has invented BlackBerry and he has 5 houses.
    Question is whos supporters are more motivated to wait in lines in cold mornings of November.
    All these adds in both sides do is polarize the already polarized camps of supporters.
    I think I will cut it here.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Jamie, OH

    No, John doesn't know very much about the economy.

    But even more important than that–he cheated on his wife, and left his kids. I can't get over that. Why? Because he was in his 40's (not unlike Bill Clinton). He was in his 40's and Cindy Lou was 25. John was in his 40's and after coming home a "hero", he left his wife and kids. Yeah, tell the first 3 children he abandoned what a hero dad really was.

    His daughter (by Cindy Lou) wrote a book about how wonderful her dad is. I said to my husband, I guess she would think he was wonderful; he didn't abandon her–and her mother's money.

    John is a snake and all this talk about "blackberry" is just another shiny metal object to change the subject from the fact that he doesn't get the economy. He never did, and he never will.

    It's your turn to speak up America, send him back to his many mansions.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. ron

    McCain meant the blackberry muffin.. oops.. blueberry muffin

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. michelle

    Do the republican think that the rest of the nation is as stupid as they are, and will believe everything they put out there? give me and my brain some credit, will they?

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. We love Sarah

    So America is suffering economic faliures and all the McCain camp can do is make jokes about it???

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Tony

    ...And I invented electricty!

    This is too pathetic to be amusing.

    John McCain has gone from an honroable, respected hero and role model to an angry, bitter, twisted old, man.

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. McCain=the draft

    McLobbyist should take his Blackberry, the jam, and go home!
    His gimmick,Palin, should leave too!

    September 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. lol election

    And Al Gore invented the internet, so what?

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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