September 3rd, 2013
06:45 PM ET
12 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. RC

    Wow, the taxpayers should be very proud. Sadly, he see's nothing wrong, because he's already taken his turn to smack his sabre on the table.

    September 3, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. proudamerican

    Wow.... alright everybody, lets start the slow clap for our countries dedicated, elected and intelligent leaders.

    September 3, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Hanna

    Senator McCain of course expects everyone to listen to every word he has to say, but God Forbid he gave the same courtesies to his colleagues. Self centered hot head is all he is

    September 3, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. ya rights

    Any one see this as just plain wrong?

    September 3, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. 123elle

    Uh-oh, the screw's loose. McCain is really an embarrassment and should retire. He has already made an utter fool of himself, but now he is embarrassing the Congress and the country as well. People could actually lose their lives over what is being decided right now, and he is too bored to focus on the hearing, so he plays poker and then giggles about it when caught. That shames us all.

    September 3, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Huh

    3.5 hours is a lot to expect someone to sit through especially for something as trivial as war.

    September 3, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. freddie

    Gotta give McCain credit for a long and successful career in politics. He graduated from the US naval academy ranked 894 out of a class of 899. Now he is the outspoken man trying to convince his peers to use military force in the Syrian vs Syrian conflict. It is nice to know that he has not changed since his younger day. Playing video games while his peers discuss bombing a country, he makes jokes about his behavior. If it were me I would be embarrassed.

    September 3, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. 123elle

    McCain is really an embarrassment and should retire. He has already made an utter fool of himself, but now he is embarrassing the Congress and the country as well. People could actually lose their lives over what is being decided right now, and he is too bored to focus on the hearing, so he plays poker and then giggles about it when caught. That shames us all.

    September 3, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. carlin123

    It was only "fake" money. But the money he pockets from the American people is REAL. So it's a win, win.

    September 3, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. upset American

    Why is this war soo important if you would rather play poker

    September 3, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. 123elle

    He is really an embarrassment and should retire. People could actually lose their lives over what is being decided right now, and he is too bored to focus on the hearing, so he plays poker.That shames us all.

    September 3, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Sue

    Not sure why he thinks that is funny. He runs around attacking people on the Senate floor all of the time and now, at one of the most important hearings of the year he is playing games because he can't focus? Nice. Maybe he should retire if he can't do his job.

    September 3, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. Larry Strife

    We need leaders at this time, not someone playing poker! Please Mr. McCain retire from your job! The more news I read the more I wonder who is running this country!

    September 3, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. 123elle

    People could actually lose their lives over what is being decided right now, and he is too bored to focus on the hearing, so he plays poker.

    September 3, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. KEVIN

    He's tipping his hand. He needs to knock it off.

    September 3, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Debbie

    Not funny since this was about the US going to attack another country. Not funny since this is about Arizona's Senator using Taxpayer $$ to play poker on the job when he gets bored. Pretty easy to sit in Washington DC and play with other peoples lives and money. In the private sector McCain would be fired for playing games on company time. In the military McCain would be reprimanded for not being alert at his post.

    September 3, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. Aces

    I don't blame him for playing. When people bring up the same points over and over again, it becomes boring. I bet you there were others playing on their phone too. I would be trying to get passed level 267 of candy crush the whole time.

    September 3, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. paul

    Great report! Sooooo newsworthy....Glad the reporter had time to look up from his or her own game to report this.

    September 3, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. YOURVOTEDOES'TMATTER

    ? Maybe a game like you sank my "battleship" would be more appropriate!

    September 3, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. who

    So now every single democrat is gonna act like its a deal big he was playing poker, great. But in fairness, i bet if Obama got caught every single republican would make it a big deal. So can we just skip this nonsense and focus on trying to stay out of another war?

    September 3, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. Franz

    And we ask why our government gets notting done!

    September 3, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. Paul

    C'mon people, enough with the McCain stuff. We've got bigger issues going on than to continually be spiraling back into partisanship. McCain knows his stuff and I respect his viewpoint even if it might be different than mine. This bickering and nitpicking HAS to stop sometime.

    September 3, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. sawtooth

    Try Black jack, not so hard on the brain

    September 3, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Ed t duck

    Fake money? So US dollars then.

    September 3, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    lol now if this were a Democrat there would be 5 million responses already!

    September 3, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17