September 3rd, 2013
06:45 PM ET
11 months ago

McCain's poker scandal

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain, perhaps the Senate's most outspoken voice in favor of military action in Syria, was caught playing poker Tuesday at the first congressional hearing about giving the president authority to use force in the war-torn country.


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled the panel of top Obama officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

While McCain spoke up when it came his turn, a Washington Post photographer snapped a photo of the Arizona Republican trying his luck in the meantime.

Read more about the hearing

The senator later explained his poker habit on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"As much as I like to always listen with rapt attention constantly (to) remarks of my colleagues over a three and a half period, occasionally I get a little bored and so I resorted," he said, chuckling. "But the worst thing about it is I lost thousands of dollars in this game."

He followed up, saying it was only "fake" money.


Filed under: Congress • John McCain • Syria
soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. Dianne Lee

    From a Navy Mom, How DARE you John McCain!

    September 3, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. Nathan

    As much as I dislike the guy, he's pretty good at brushing off so-called 'scandals'.

    September 3, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. jz10

    Too bad he didn't put his political office on the line.

    September 3, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. sean

    This guys a JOKE, playing games while children are being slaughtered.

    September 3, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. WestsacVoice

    Too bad they can't figure out how to be effective communicators so it doesn't take 3+ hours to discuss the topic. Obviously there are important and complex issues but it is also useless if you lose your audience.

    However, I also wonder if some lawmakers have already made up their mind and/or are not really open to new information. It is their job, after all, to listen and not just talk. That would be worse than just losing interest.

    September 3, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    hey, he's a gambler

    September 3, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  7. Thom

    At least we're paying him to do something........ unlike congress.

    September 3, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. Dirty Harry

    This is a prime example of wasted taxpayers dollars on Senate's pay, perks, and health care. They are debating on rather to bomb Syria or not and McCain is playing a damn game.

    September 3, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. bigbendjc

    and as taxpayers we pay for this? I'm glad he can laugh about it especially during a hearing about a serious situation. I guess his notes slamming the POTUS was already written out for him no need to listen to the other questions.

    September 3, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Lee Jensen

    This guy is unbelieveable! Where do I sign-up
    Vaction for month at full salary & benefits and play games while our country is on the verge of war! And they wonder why congress has a low approval rating! Get rid of ALL of them!

    September 3, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  11. George

    The real news here should be that he actually knows how to use an iPhone.

    September 3, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. Odo

    What a putz....he can't even take his rushing us to war seriously....

    September 3, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. TheTruth

    Apparently war does not deserve his full attention. Throw him out of office.

    September 3, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. McBlaine

    It is really time to retire McCain

    September 3, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. tbone

    Good to see he puts so much into keeping us out of a war we have no business being in.

    September 3, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. Odo

    He got BORED??? He SO needs to be fired!

    September 3, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. northpowell

    I knew he was a big gambler ever since the entire Palin gambit!

    September 3, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. a_famous_brony

    Yes, it's humorous, but why is this news? I thought the comment about it at the end of the interview was cute, but seriously give the guy a break. I;m not a McCain 'supporter' but don't shame the guy for doing what we all do... doesn't mean he wasn't listening or didn't care.

    September 3, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. kemarm

    First let me say that I have tremendous respect for John McCain. As a fellow veteran I appreciate the sacrifices he has made for this country. However, given the seriousness of these hearings and the fact that should it be determined that a strike is what is allowed I am deeply disappointed that Senator McCain was unable to maintain his focus and attention for the entire three hours and his flippant attitude when he was caught playing poker during the hearing. As a tax payer I am upset that I was paying his salary during this time and frankly I want a refund. Quite simply sir- how can our allies who are on the fence about what to do have any confidence of our stance if you- as an example of our government- tune out to the opinions of others. The situation and your fellow senators deserve the respect of your undivided attention. This is not time for games.

    September 3, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. jerry

    If you're so bored and tuned out why don't you simply retire from the senate old man and do us all a big favor>we saw the big red face there after you were caught>you should be ashamed of yourself!

    September 3, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  21. BB Bookie

    I'm taking odds for not against ...McCain's a game-changer...this time.

    September 3, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  22. john

    its good hes not playing pokerstars... they have "pokerbots" that sit on cash game tables and take everyones money. IF U ARE GONNA PLAY ONLINE POKER, DONT PUT REAL MONEY IN POKERSTARS... OR DO IT...UR CHOICE...

    September 3, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. Cheetahe

    This guy is morally bankrupt, We are having hearings weather we will kill and killed in this upcoming war and this clown is playing poker on his computer for three hours. We get what we deserve? or are we manipulated by the system to vote for these bozos.

    September 3, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  24. Frank Rizzo

    He has a gambling problem and it has been documented.

    September 3, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. KevininPHX

    These guys are just really too much. What a joke our government is.

    September 3, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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