September 3rd, 2013
06:45 PM ET
1 year 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. thelastofthegunslingers

    Haha, so funny Mr McCain.

    The worst thing was not "that you lost thousands of dollars" but how inconsiderate you are. People are about to die because of your warmongering yet through your actions it shows you do not care. I don't care if you were there for 3 or 5 hours and was bored. Very unprofessional!!!

    September 3, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Reasonably

    And if you were caught doing this at a meeting for a private company you would be fired.

    Hilarious.

    September 3, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. bill davis

    It is kind of a fake war, and old John is not playing with a full hand

    So they killed some of their, and we are going over an bomb some more of theirs.

    Hope all the dead people are happy,

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

    Good for him. Not my favorite senator and not from my party, but always appreciate the way he doesn't hide from any situation. He speaks his mind bluntly and, in this case, COPs to a bit of goofing around. I suspect that between his professional experience and behind-the-scenes briefings on the subject, there was nothing being said during this window dressing hearing which he didn't already know about anyway.

    September 3, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. paul

    but that,s why senators get paid the big money so they can either sleep or play poker while in session, does this guy really think he is funny,

    September 3, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. massive

    McCain is setting there gambling away money that AIPAC paid him to sell this war on the American public and then has the audacity to joke about it.

    September 3, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Winston Smith

    It's apparent that John, doesn't really take his job as serious as he'd like his constituents to think. He can send in troops, fire rockets at villages, or put boots on the ground, all the while his game boy runs down the battery. He's my hero. NOT.

    September 3, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Eric A.

    This guy has lost all credibility with this stunt. He's advocating putting America in a compromising position with certain death for hundreds including Americans and is playing video poker while the issue is being deliberated? Tastless.

    September 3, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. Montes

    Very disrispectful from someone that has a harsh opinion on everything. Perhaps humans instead of monetary gains.

    September 3, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. machine893

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

    Yeah, I'm sure.

    September 3, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. Mayita

    And that is how seriously he takes the situation of Syria. Life or death of thousands of people, republicans trying to score against Obama, military and many more special interest involved. And he plays poker. If he cannot stay focus and awake on sessions like that, it is time to retire Mr McCain. Leave it for the younger folks who at least will not embarrass us while under the eye of the world.

    September 3, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  12. BK Moore

    If Obama played poker during a hearin, McCain would never shut up about it. He sets a very bad example by establishing his own 'double standard'. A 'double standard' is one of the biggest problems we have in the US today.

    September 3, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Bubba Punk

    Perhaps Senator McCain may be in favor of legalizing online poker in the US? That would nice....

    September 3, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. danno

    So what ? Barry played spades while Seal team 6 took out Bin Laden. Maybe one of these days we'll find a real leader for the executive office.

    September 3, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. larry

    Your tax dollars in action.

    September 3, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. cjklepper

    I would, too; if your mind is constantly going, going, in a 3 plus hours of boredom would have you resort to something to do with your hands to let your mind relax.

    September 3, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. Fred

    McCain makes a lot of noise about having hearings and getting the facts and when hearings actually happen, he either doesn't show up, falls asleep, or plays poker on his phone.

    This guy needs to retire.

    September 3, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Mic

    If anyone actually cares Ill be surprised, That and the fact if I was stuck in a room for long periods of time I would do the same thing.

    September 3, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. djcjsnow

    so we pay you to do what?play games? retire old man. this is a disgrace.

    September 3, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Matt Cusumano

    Of course, it's all a joke to Kerry. Blame Assad for a rebel chemical weapons attack. Then bomb everyone! I don't support this attack on Syria, and it's people. The Syrian army is the Syrian people. Every family in Syria sends their kids to the army. So you attack the Syrian army, you attack the Syrian people. Everyone in Syria supports their army. They are protecting them from the Terrorists who are sponsored by Washington. Now the U.S. will become the Air Force of Al Queda.

    September 3, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. tuffyturf

    Our elected officials hard at work, making decisions that will possibly kills tens of thousands of people and they cannot keep focused for a mere 4 hours? Resign McCain, you obviously are a gambling addict

    September 3, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. tuffy

    Our elected officials hard at work, making decisions that will possibly kills tens of thousands of people and they cannot keep focused for a mere 4 hours?

    September 3, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. phillip

    the discussions at this hearing have life and death consequences. if he were a judge playing a game during a trial it would cause an outrage.

    September 3, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. arilevi

    Okay, now that's pretty funny.

    September 3, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. McCainsPokerFace

    I think it is actually quite funny. Where's McCain's Poker Face?

    September 3, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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