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. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Considering he isn't on the "Internets", it's a safe bet that he didn't invent that...Is this McSame's "Al Gore" moment?

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Len in Washington

    The people involved the McCain Campaign (including McCain and Palin) are a disgrace to our election process if not our country.

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Peter Johnson-Jensen

    'He also said a president isn’t someone who needs to be heavily involved in policy specifics, which should be handled by “quality” advisers.' Yeah, we all saw how well that concept worked with W's cabinet, didn't we?

    Every day, the McCain campaign gets more ridiculous, and every day I become more convinced that he's going to win in a landslide.

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Anonymous

    The Blackberry is a Canadian invention. It is made by Research in Motion based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. cherry strawberry

    Boye _
    And they shall call him John McCain for he shall doth Miracles.

    That was funny. May I use please?

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. p Coleman

    This election is getting to be plain stupid.

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. bob in L.A.

    I am really tired of McCain's people. They can put more elastic in a statement than there is in a rubberband.
    McCain helped create the Blackberry- does he even know what a Blackberry is except a fuirt?
    Sarah said no tot he bridge to nowhere- but they fail to mention she kept the money.
    And pigs with lipstick- was McCain's ideas, not Sarah's face.
    Canwe get on with real issues guys?

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. lewis - Colorado

    Its sad to say that McCain is responsible for creating the Blackberry? One lie after another. When will these lies end?

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08'12

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    Blackberry? Razzberry more likely....

    and typical GOP... he's already started in with yet another Commission.... McCain is an idiot..

    NO THIRD TERM FOR BUSH

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Greg, Atlanta

    What's next? Palin invented the snowblower? Come on, give me a break. While McCain has lost grip on the economy, his campaign has lost grip on reality.

    September 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. bernj

    The republicklan lie machine moves on.

    I'll say this much for them. They sure know how to tell 'em. The crazier the better for these folks.

    Simply...er.....unbelievable.

    Not this time!!!

    No way. No how. No McCain. No Palin.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. matt

    I'd rather have a "typical Washington politician" with years of experience than a "community organizer" with a Senator Label.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. just me

    Seems senility affects more than McBush

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. rodlang

    So Obama can send emails to Scarlet Johanson or some other Hollywood startlet....BFD. What does that have to do with being President....nothing. Oh and just what has Obama accomplished in the Senate....a big zero. The guy is all style and no substance. But that's good enough for people that don't think.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Bri

    According to Wikipedia the Blackberry was devised by the Canadian company Research in Motion in 1997. Maybe McCain worked there for a while.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Roland

    Is that all this fluff story is about!?!?! I thought for sure there was now demonstrable proof that McLame was present at the creation and designed the freaking plant. Jeeeez . . . save this space for some real news! :o)

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. wycliffe, NJ

    THIS IS NOT A JOKE........IS THIS HIS PLAN FOR THE ECONOMY

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. He Just Scared

    McSame's adviser said that the President does not have to be heavily involved in policy decisions. Ok, here we go again with the dumbing down dude. Although we have really smart qualified people who can be President and understand and hang with the policy specifics (like Clinton did when he was Pres), lets put a C student (Bush) in office who is too stupid to keep up. McSame finished about 894 out of 899 at the naval academy. Obama was a top tier student at both Columbia and Harvard.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Dee Okla.

    Hey, he's a POW leave him alone.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Truth Be Told

    ...WOW...would love to hear what Research In Motion would have to say about this comment, huh? Since when does regulating/deregulating the telecommunications industry make you a creator, or for that matter an inventor of telecommunications? Someone needs to give their head a shake...

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. David leigh

    That is amazing given that the Blackberry is a Canadian invention. Perhaps he has dual citizenship and he is part of the great Canadian Telecomunications inventions.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Tanya

    This would be hilariously funny if not for the people who don't know much about high tech and might actually believe it.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Doug

    Would one of the “quality” advisers" who would handle policy on economic issues be Phil Graham who had a large role in creating the economic dissaster that faces us today?

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. wendy spice

    the only thing that john mccain people does well is lie with stright faces people wake up and take a good look.

    September 16, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Justin, ny

    Ugh.. i'm pretty sure that 1. blackberry's are not a "miracle" and two, it was created by a canadian designer who created the SIM company. they own the rights to the blackberry.. not john mccain OR the senate commerce committe.

    this is a non-story though... theres a million and one reasons NOT to vote for mccain, and this is but one..

    September 16, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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