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. Jeff

    Can we give him back to the Vietnamese?

    September 3, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. Sound Off...


    We are talking about one of the most serious decisions regarding way, that will effect many innocent lives.. and John McCain gets bored and decides to play poker on his iPhone. And then wants the american public to find it funny. Do you find it funny? If so, why?

    September 3, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. labman57

    Poor Johnny was bored. Perhaps he should have led a sing-along of his favorite Beach Boys song.

    September 3, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. Bendover

    Technically every dollar that isn't backed by gold or silver is a fake dollar?

    September 3, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. HC

    Please take this clown out of the office. He's an american representive laughting stock.

    September 3, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Bob F.

    Between this and the occasional joking between them all, I don't think any of them except for Ron Paul took this seriously.

    September 3, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. HC

    In a real world this guy would get fire. He's playing on the clock.

    September 3, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. Bob

    As a conservative, I very much dislike John McCain. He is absolutely nuts on a whole range of issues and his policies are outdated.

    September 3, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Bill

    Republican John McCain is ready to vote for war where likely many people will die and many millions will be spent, and in the meantime he's playing poker during a critical meeting. Wonderful.

    September 3, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. Poodlepuff

    McCains incredible stridency when calling for Syria to be dealt with immediately, is rendered almost meaningless when he is viewed playing video poker while attending committee meetings on that very subject. Is the man truly serious about what he encourages or is all this puffery?

    September 3, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. Norm

    Adults and kids are dying .If syria gasses its own people what can we expect he would like tomdo to us .we elect representaves to make an educated vote and what does zmcCain do the schmuck playes video games. We emply him to represent us and he has the nerve not to pay attention..Thank God he wasn't elected President

    September 3, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  12. George Dixon

    "Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing – worst of all I lost!"


    Worst of all...that is how seriously you take your job... and your 'explanation' is condescendingly flippant.

    Worst of got caught That Time.
    How much other time have you wasted ... on the job, between Pontificating about Whatever and Urging War?

    If McCain felt the same concern for an embarrassment to his office (and to his "reputation" as a "serious" Senator) as he displays when encouraging whomever will listen to him to back Obama's self-inflicted "Red Line"...

    (to shore up American Credibility, trashed by Obama, as well as Obama's Presidency, also trashed by Obama)...

    ...he would have stopped as his hand reached for a Toy in the Senate...thought about his own pretense...and left it in his pocket.

    September 3, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. waterhose

    such a role model.

    September 3, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Geoff

    What does a congressman earn per year?

    September 3, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  15. Disgusted

    People's lives are a stake here and this idiot is playing poker??? And Mr. McCain thinks he can just make a joke about it and it will all go away. I can assure you sir we are paying attention.

    September 3, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. Furious

    As a mom of a Marine this sickens me. Our political leaders are incompetent and irreverent. Let them send their kids.

    September 3, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  17. Bill

    Now that I think about it, didn't Bush keep reading a children's book when we were being attacked?

    September 3, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. patriotaxe

    It's OK if you lost fake money, John. You're a fake senator.

    September 3, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. Dude

    As much as I'd like to tear him a new one for this, I do the same kind of thing at really long meetings.

    These hearing go like this:
    Senator gives a predictable speech for ten minutes, then asks a 30 second question. A 1 minute answer is given. Repeat until every senator has a turn or two.

    You need to listen for about 2 out of every 12 minutes. The rest is self promoting camera time. And if you did miss anything, transcripts and summations are available shortly after the meeting ends.

    September 3, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  20. Harold Hervey

    His actions speak for themselves. War is no mundane for him he has time for games. Sad.

    September 3, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. Kevin Kigen

    Yeah, play games and send some missiles to attack another country! Who voted for you!?

    September 3, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  22. Ted

    Great, McCain wants to bomb Syria today (tomorrow, another country) and this clown can't even pay attention to the hearing. This is the best we have?

    September 3, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. steve

    McCain has lost all credibility

    September 3, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Innhead McCain

    We are about ti murder thousands of people and he is laughing...

    September 3, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. Dusty Johnson

    Oh my goodness! Gambling is clearly illegel in Washington DC so unless he has an exempt from these laws he should go to jail. Only ignorance people voted for him.

    September 3, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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