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. liana

    Here's the difference...McCain never said he created the Blackberry. His ADVISOR said he helped contribute to the creation.

    Not the same as Al Gore, Candidate at the time claiming responsibility for the internet.

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. John, FL

    iPhones are better.

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. AVERAGE JOE

    AHHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAH

    u serious?

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Vincent Spaulding

    McCain's intellectual development arrested before 1960. He doesn't even have a theoretical understanding of a stand alone computer, much less a PDA type device like a BlackBerry. This is yet one more in a long string of lies McCain is willing to support, and it doesn't even have to be fact checked since he gave us the answer himself.

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Brian Rich

    John, because your gardener planted a berry shrub in your garden doesn't mean you invented the Blackberry. It just means you're too rich to know the difference between fruit and electricity.

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Apples for sale

    Thanks John,want to buy an apple?

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Donna

    He created the Blackberry but can't use it...wow!!!

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. jason,tx

    that's so funny. the McCain campaign will say anything, won't they?

    September 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Jeremy

    Wow, thank you Senator McCain. I never knew you invented the Blackberry.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Patty

    What won't the McCain campaign say or do to get elected? They want power so badly...they are pathetic and sick.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Donna P.

    They were talking about regulating and de-regulating the telecommunications industry you MORONS not the Blackberry device.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Fred

    That's as silly as saying that Palin has foreign policy knowledge because she can see from her porch!

    Closeness does not equate knowledge!

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. arnolde

    The very least CNN reporters could have done is to note the facts about the Blackberry.

    For the record: The Blackberry was invented by a Canadian who went to the University of Waterloo and established the company called RIM or Research in Motion located in the city of Kitchener/Waterloo in Ontario Canada.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Ken in Dallas

    What a dolt. The Blackberry was created by a Canadian company.

    The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed telecom companies to re-consolidate and expand, but it had nothing to do with inventing the Blackberry.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. JD in NC

    To be honest, I've always wondered how McCain, who has stated he doesn't know how to email or use the internet, how did he ever vote on all these bills? How did he legislate something he didn't understand?

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. sensible Cape Coral FL

    It's scary to think that people really believe this C-–.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    In other words, McCain doesn't have a clue about the economy but will authorize a commission to look into what went wrong and rely upon advisors to make the final decision? Please! Haven't we had enough of a president who hasn't a clue on anything and relies upon advisors who really run the country?

    I don't know the facts, but it's hard to imagine someone who is unable to use a computer ever coming up with an idea like the Blackberry.

    Remember, Al Gore also invented the internet. Not.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Ex GOPer

    This is just getting down right bizzare. Is he responsible for gravity to? Although it's becoming typical. Asked for accomplishments and they just make something up.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Akinola - Houston

    I cant send an email but I can create the Blackberry.

    Its like saying u cant have sex but u can make a baby.

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Dee

    That's hilarious!!!

    The guy can't use email, and he's responsible for the Blackberry??

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. TLF

    Stephen Hawking can use a computer, what's McCain's excuse?
    John McCain had absolutely nothing to do with the BLACKBERRY!
    I'm putting my boots on because it is getting awfully deep in here!

    September 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. John

    And Al Gore invented the Internet

    September 16, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Judy from NC

    Ummm... the blackberry was created in Canada. What an idiot!

    September 16, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Jim D. in Costa Mesa

    Abacus, yes. Blackberry, no. Time to change Grampy's diaper.

    September 16, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. Nduka

    This is becoming very sad. I would half believe it IF he knew what a black berry looks like, let alone use one.

    September 16, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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