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. Olivia

    Sean Whitworth dixy "I thought he created the wheel?"

    Actually he discovered the fire and owns the patented for the "smoke signals" code. The fundations of modern telecomunications.

    ha ha

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Dood

    BTW, McCain has trouble using a keyboard because of his war injuries.

    But, you people already know that. You're just desperate. You should be.

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. America think for you

    Vote smart this November. Vote good judgment. If you say that our economy is good now, you are an elitist and you do not know our struggle to put food on our bellies and gas in our cars. John McCain that elitist think the economy is good and has no plan to help us. He wants more wars, more tax cut for big corporate that ship our jobs oversees. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania I know that your economies are hurting and you must vote smart and vote someone who understands your economics’ struggles. It is not time to support someone who does not understand the economy, it is time to take our country back and get our respect back around the world. Vote Democratic this November if you are a true American who put America first. We need change in Washington and the Democratic Party has that change for us this November.

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Meagain

    Did he invent the internet too?

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. terry maineiac

    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.

    he has so many other things to claim "credit" for the invention of the blackberry is nothing

    fundamentals of the economy are strong
    winning the war in Iraq
    strong financial markets
    oil independence thru drilling
    affordabe heathcare for everyone with insurance
    fix social security thru private accounts and market investments
    balance the budget thru more tax cuts to the wealthy

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Mark

    Obama's campaign intentionally twists everything McCain's campaign says. McCain's people didn't say he invented the blackberry, they said he helped create it. He did so by crafting the legislation that helps make telecommunications possible. Obama must be getting really desperate.

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. TonyS

    Why not? After all, Al Gore claimed credit for inventing the Internet.

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Ashley

    hahahahahaha YEAH, OKAY, sit down old man.

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Tony

    When will Palin issue a statement claiming that she discovered electricity?

    DESPERATE, DESPERATE PEOPLE!

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. the truth now

    The american people are so sound bite driven that that main part of this article is about the economy and all they write about is the blackberry. This shows how stupid the public really is.

    September 16, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Ian M

    Ugh, attack him on this.

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Independent for Obama

    Does John McCain say anything credible anymore?

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    This is akin to me going to see a band at a small club and listening to their songs and really liking them. Then, a few years later, the same band is filling up stadiums and having hit after hit. Because I went to see them in the earlier days, I proclaim loudly, “I discovered the band!” In other words, this is just flimsy rationale from a flummoxed and clueless campaign.

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Bea ATL

    TESAP:SAVANNAH, GA your comment was just too funny! Completely true and very funny! :)

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. suzyku

    It's probably just another "lie", mcsame is sooooooooo good at telling them along with his cheney clone v.p. nominee, the nasty, uninformed palin! What a (bad) joke these two are, don't let it be a joke on our country people! WAKE UP AMERICA BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Sam

    How about this???

    John Mccain invented Windows Operating System that is used by 75% of all Personal Computers around the Globe!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. American Ariman

    I don't know what article everyone here has read, but the one I read didn't say that McCain claimed invention of the Blackberry. It said that as a member of the commerce committee he put in legslation that led to the network implementation that makes the Blackberry possible.

    You guys are really being obtuse on this one!

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Chris, Denver CO

    "McCain claimed he invented the Blackberry." I'd better hear that phrase exactly as much as I heard the phrase that Al gore claimed he invented the Internet. It's just as true.

    September 16, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Adam, DC

    How is a product that is the result of the telecommunications technology that McCain helped fund from his time on the Senate Commerce Committee, deemed as such a laughable concept? Any educated individual is well aware of the point that the staffer was attempting to make here, albeit not very eloquently. The majority who have expressed disdain over this comment are reading it as a direct quote from McCain himself, which is not the case.

    September 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Barb

    Blackberry is a Canadian Invention. As a Canadian I take offence to John McCain trying to take credit. Maybe he thinks so little of his fellow citizens that he thinks they would not know this.

    The lies that comes out of that campaign has everyone in Canada and other countries over the world just laughing at them. What is really scary is that my Americian neighbours that I respect so much is actually falling for it. Please vote on the issues!!!

    September 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Lee

    Whoa! Hold on there! Is this for real? The McSame camp says:
    "a president isn’t someone who needs to be heavily involved in policy specifics, which should be handled by “quality” advisers." This is one of the most scary things they've said in recent days...must be because McSame isn't capable of handing anything specific.

    September 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Rob L.

    McCain's campaign is nearly as funny as the Colbert Report, sharing the same concept, self-parody.

    September 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. marcel

    Yes, the Blackberry is a Canadian invention. As far I know, Senator McCain is not a Canadian citizen. Gramps had a brain cramp. Thank you

    September 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Carol for McCain all the way

    We need to focus on ISSUES that will directly involve solving the problems with our economy and the security of our Nation, not which party is better or did worse. IT'S not the PARTY STUPID, IT'S THE LEADER. We are in a campaign to elect a NEW leader. What's past is past. Let's move on. Our Nation has a history of being able to turn adversity into CHANGE. We need to focus on the CHANGES we can LIVE with, not what the "talking heads" are pushing. They have their own agenda and that is to make MONEY. They are doing that by RATINGS. The more they push their candidate down your throats the more they will make. You will pay for this. We need a LEADER we can trust to have OUR interests at heart, and those of this country . We NEDD A PROUD AMERICAN WHO WILL STAND UP FOR OUR RIGHTS, VALUES, SECURITY, and WHAT'S BEST FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. We need someone who will "clean house" NOW.
    John McCain '08

    September 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. arc, Lugano CH

    Mon Dieu...

    That is for to laugh...

    Will someone take this idiotic old fool back to his room?

    And lock the door next time....

    September 16, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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