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. Ben Tulach

    nice use of public time

    September 3, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. Bryan Bailey

    This is disgusting...do our politicians care this much about all the major decisions faced by our country?? Shame on McCain for this one...

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

    Shows how much he cares. Really America? This is who we have in office. People like this?

    September 3, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. aaron

    Yea. That "fake" money he is talking about is a reference to the U.S. dollar. Our money is fiat money and has no actual backing besides the word of the U.S. government, which to say the least does not have the best track record.

    September 3, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. T Fox

    Honestly, if I had to listen to Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin talk to John Kerry for three and a half hours, I'd probably do something much worse.

    September 3, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Cecilia

    I'd hardly call that a scandal- I doubt anything was being said the he wasn't aware of already.

    September 3, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. ally buster

    The United States of America considers military action in Syria....

    And the 2008 REPUBLICAN NOMINEE for PRESIDENT is playing poker~

    Hello?

    September 3, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. Matt Baldwin

    I hope that John Mccain will do his best for the Poker Player's Alliance(PPA)!

    September 3, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Clint H

    Got to love him... he just tells it like it is.

    September 3, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. budgie girl

    3 1/2 hours is not that long to pay attention. I believe it was his choice to represent his constituents?

    September 3, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. Proud Liberal

    Really, McCain?!? Really?

    Wow, I'm REALLY glad you are not our President.

    September 3, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. bruce perryman

    Used to be a HUGE McCain supporter. Simply a pathetic old man looking for relevance.

    September 3, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. cbp

    Not at all surprising since John McCain only wants foreign policy decisions that are made by him or Sen. Graham. His listening skills are not very good. The seriousness of the situation demands our full attention. The President has asked for
    congress to support his initiative. Of course, just last week the Republicans were calling for intervention. Now that the President is leaning toward intervention the Republicans are not lining up behind him.

    September 3, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. NavyVet12yrs

    Reminds me of the scene in 12 Angry Men when two jurors are playing tic-tac-toe while deciding a life or death sentence. Shame on you McCain!! Guess you just can't be bothered!

    September 3, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. Mike

    Give the man a break.. I'd do the same.

    September 3, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. rob

    I guess I can understand. I mean how much questioning can you do in a 3 hr period over the same issue???

    September 3, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Caa

    A lot of the people there appeared to be texting or doing things on their phones. That is what we pay them for apparently. Thank you to the senators that did actually stand up for the constitution and American people. Like Rand Paul.

    September 3, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. The Electorate

    Reprehensible. The point of Congressional deliberations is for Congresspeople to - you know - deliberate! Even a Senator with the strongest opinion on Syria owes a duty to constituents to honestly consider all possible courses of action. No matter where you stand on Syria, the carelessness with which Senator McCain would greet international conflict is matched only by the shamelessness with which he meets criticism. And to Arizonans: low standards beget low politicians.

    September 3, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Brad

    They should lock this monster up and throw away the key. This is disgusting how repugnant demons like him are allowed to roam the streets, playing iphone poker, laughing about frittering away 'fake' money, while children are starving in Syria as we speak. Let the wolves in the state pen have at him, I'm through with the likes of him.

    September 3, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. dre

    I can't decide what's more strange, the fact that this happened or that there are actually photographers at the Washington Post.

    September 3, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Clarke

    At least he is human! Time to retire and go to Vegas.

    September 3, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Liz

    Your tax dollars at work.

    September 3, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Blaster

    Who can blame him. I've seen C-SPAN, can't imagine being in the from for hour after hour of this. It's not a big deal and I'm sure a large part of this country would have done the same thing.

    September 3, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. Laughing at the farcical clowns

    That's the same game I was playing on November 4, 2008, & then again November 6 2012!!

    September 3, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Firelli

    I feel sorry for Sen. McCain. He had to sit through such a lengthy hearing about whether or not to start a war with Syria. Who could imagine being a Senator would be that boring of a job? Now if only I could play poker at work without getting fired. That would be awesome!

    September 3, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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