September 3rd, 2013
06:45 PM ET
9 years 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. gregorymunson

    Uh... Uh.. No just focus Uh...

    September 3, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Jack

    Pathetic. A serious matter like this and he's so cavalier about it. Send all political members sons and daughters to the front lines, maybe other military family's can sit back and play poker while joking about it.

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

    gee sen mccain – you can't go for a 3 hour meeting without playing a game – yet you are pushing for a war that will force our kids to fight for YEARS more without a break? How about if you actually TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY – and don't play until our sons of this nation get a break!

    September 3, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Move_on

    It's just a war, anyway. Now, where was I? Right. Virtual billions from the virtual Fed. Oh, wrong button.. That was a real memo.

    September 3, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. gregorymunson

    I use to have respect for him.. Long ago.. Sad sad fate...

    September 3, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. vikingwoman

    Well, now we know what our hard earned tax $$$ are paying for! Is this why congress has been so inept for 4+years? They're just playing games! Please raise your hand if you wouldn't get fired for playing w/your phone in a work related meeting! Now remember that at the voting booth....if you even get in, that is!!

    September 3, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. sol rozenberg

    It's ok you're doing a good job.....

    September 3, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. Steve

    'Fake Money' for a 'Fake Politician' – Pay attention McCain this is 'Serious' or is it just a 'Game' to you watching people Die???

    September 3, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. davecu

    Oh thank God!
    I thought he was sleeping.

    September 3, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. cgs

    I still can't believe president BO humbled himself enough to ask McCain, a man very knowledgeable in war, for his advice.

    September 3, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. Bea

    Really? What game were our politicians playing the last time they got us in a war where we didn't belong? BTW, who pays for his cell phone? Taxpayers! Restrict elected officials from downloading apps, and texting as they don't know how to use them appropriately, and we trust them on deciding on military action regarding Syria... OMG, we are all in trouble.

    September 3, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Johnny DC

    Just to clear this up for all you liberals keeping score – this is one of the more anti-Conservative members of the Republican party, and he's an absolute joke.

    Just like you.

    September 3, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. Jason

    When will McNuts step down from the senate??? He is worthless. Will we have to wait until he dies in office?? I am glad that he does not represent my state, but feel really bad for fpr the people of Arizona. He has hundreds of millions, so why is he still around? Thank God he was not elected president....He needs to go....NOW !! He has no answers as to how he will pay for all of his war ideas....What can we remove the the Arizona budget John?

    September 3, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. SpgfldTom

    How amusing, Senator McCain. American lives hang in the balance as the President rushes us toward a war with Syria and you get caught playing video poker! Out of sheer embarassment you should resign.....or the people of AZ should recall you. I always thought Palin was the brains of the McCain/Palin ticket.....turns out I was right.

    September 3, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  15. Dennis

    So we're talking about dropping bombs on another country. Probably killing thousands of Syrian citizens. Putting millions of dollars into this little military action. And John McCain is upset about losing his poker game. He doesn't deserve to sit in Congress. Is this seriously what we pay politicians to do???

    September 3, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  16. FedUpwithLA

    I have never seen such a large smile on Mr McCain's face. Let's see, he's on our side, right? A veteran of the Vietnam War who spent some time inside the "Hanoi Hilton," I do not see how this person can either play video poker or crack such a large grin at such a serious time as this. Ludicrous!

    September 3, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. omeany

    McCain seems hell bent on getting us back to war. I wish I could understand why Congress keeps telling the American people there is no money for schools, programs for the poor, infrastructure, jobs or lowering health care or college costs but there is ALWAYS money for war.

    The American people are not swayed, we do NOT want yet another war in the middle east. What we do WANT is for US money to go for items that will benefit US citizens.

    I know it's hard to see children being attacked in their own country but why is it always the US that has to ride to the rescue? England learned their lesson now why can't we?

    September 3, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. GonzoG

    Could be worse...he could have been playing Candy Crush Saga.

    September 3, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. Elliott Carlin

    Who cares. This clown votes for war every time. They've played poker with our country's future on so many levels, is anyone surprised at this?

    Next thing you know you'll see Anthony Weiner texting pictures of his junk.

    And by the way, looking at John Kerry I have to believe Easter Island is missing one of its monuments.

    September 3, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  20. commonsense

    Video games while discussing whether or not we should go to war? If you were a boss and found your employee playing video games what would you do? Fire this guy Arizona. He has become way to arrogant to represent the people properly.

    September 3, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  21. Fearless Freep

    War, to John Wayne MCcain is nothing more than a game.
    How much will he make when war starts ?
    I think he lost his poker face.

    September 3, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  22. american1987

    its all fun and games until someone gets bombed

    September 3, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  23. bence

    Doesn't look like a poker face to me

    September 3, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  24. GameOver

    Don't government employees get fired for playing video games at work?

    September 3, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. Bendigo

    McCain has been talking tough, until Obama called his bluff – now he's waffling and covering his butt, with provisos for his support on action on Syria........Not much of a poker player either, I'll wage.

    September 3, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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