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. sdowst

    Perform a last service for the American people, John: please retire. You do a disservice to the people acting like a bored teenager.

    September 3, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Mystery

    retire the man

    September 3, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Vikki Iverson

    This is why we elected these officials? To play games? He sounds like a teenager whose been caught playing games in class. Ridiculous!

    September 3, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. ted

    I love John McCain, he's like that crazy uncle I never had.

    September 3, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Stan S.

    Shows us you don't take this very seriously. Millions of lives are at stake, and you're playing a video game.

    September 3, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Rachel

    Seriously, CNN, this is the top "breaking news" article?

    September 3, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. matt

    why do people keep blaming Mr. Obama for the deterioration of our nation when this is the example set forth by conressmen? it seems congress needs a 4th grade teacher to keep them in line. Sad day. Shame on you mccain.

    September 3, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Nowar

    He plays poker while the soldiers will go to war...

    September 3, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Bummer

    May have lost but would have STILL made a better President.

    September 3, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. plain and simple

    Sure John! Bet one of the houses on it!!!

    September 3, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Marissa

    If I get caught doing something wrong on my computer in class I get yelled at. How much more then, should a person pay attention to a hearing that could implicate the lives of many people?

    September 3, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. RT Colorado

    Taking it seriously are we? Why it's only the constitutional debate of the War Powers Act and whether or not the Executive branch needs the Congress to do anything. If this "crisis" was happening in a vacuum then it could be judged on its merits alone. But seeing as the President has seen fit to bypass the Congress on several issues in the recent two years, this "sudden" crisis doesn't pass the smell test. Previous chemical attacks in Syria have gone unchallenged, the slaughter of an estimated 100,000 people has gone unchallenged and now the use of chemical weapons all of a sudden prompts the administration to project American sea power onto Syria. This is not a region that has slept quietly, nor is it a region that takes lightly to American intervention. Yet, the British and NATO don't see this as anything to get overly excited about. The UN has questioned the wisdom of US intervention and the Arab League has specifically asked that the US not intervene.

    We have agonized over the sequestration and the government jobs and educational programs affected by it. We have curtailed maintenance on our military, delayed deployments and warned of the loss of national security because of it. Yet we've the money to spend on fighting for principals? We are days away from the anniversary of the attack on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Remember the video of the Syrians dancing in the streets celebrating 9/11, I do. Yet, the President (and apparently the Congress) wants to place us in harm's way further by striking Syria. You can bet you'll be taking off your shoes and getting pat downs at the airport for the rest of your life after this.

    I am glad that Senator McCain feels so at ease with the serious business of the nation. America deserves whatever happens to us if we go down this path. For all it's good intentions, this will only continue to fuel the belief that the US is the modern day Crusader, forces not involved will use this as propaganda against us. We've gone in and fought for Muslims before (Kosovo, Bosnia, Kuwait...) and see where that's gotten us.

    September 3, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. OMGWENEEDHELP

    Your tax dollars at work!

    September 3, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. scott

    Too bad they didn't have these games back when you were a p.o.w. Maybe we all would could finally be spared your miserable crybaby story. Playing games during this meeting? Step down jelly belly.

    September 3, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Paul

    Could only imagine what the right wingers would be saying if Obama were caught doing this

    September 3, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. Teabaggers_swallow

    Typical Repuke....fiddling while Rome burns and gambling on gummint time. Your tax dollars at work!

    September 3, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. Timothy

    If I could use four letter words on this site to describe him. I would, this guy is beyond an idiot.

    September 3, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. Troll-face

    I'm shocked, shocked that there's gambling in the Senate.

    September 3, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. james

    Glad to see our tax dollars being wasted on this man.

    September 3, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. scott

    Jokes on you jelly belly. Take your toothbrush and cell phone to the nearest pow camp and sit this out.

    September 3, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. ponzishema

    Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned. Don't worry, Mr. Senator. We can still survive yet another war as half of us are on foodstamps. And the other half have to pay for the free healthcare, and the wars, and the underwater mortgages. USA! USA! USA.....NOT

    September 3, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Shane

    Thank you for your service to this country, Senator.
    It's now time to retire.

    September 3, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  23. Matt

    Wow. Not like it's an important hearing or anything. Thanks for doing your job, John.

    September 3, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  24. ericgoestoholland

    Kind of makes me feel less guilty about my generation doing the same sort of thing. See, it's not just the kids that do it. It's people.

    September 3, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Joe

    This is pathetic. Like a bunch of school kids. Kick all these bums out!

    September 3, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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