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. rusty

    This guy is and always will be "palin" stupid. what a shame. Hero? Not really. Vote all these idiots out!

    September 3, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. mike

    I think its time the old dinosaurs retire. we need young minds in office to actually make changes. you shouldnt be aloud to represent as long as these people have its never gonna help shape our country to the new young minds that are much sharper then what we have now.

    September 3, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  3. tim reilly

    and that maybe the why you are not president. funny stuff John. Good luck at the tables.

    September 3, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  4. spade

    I don't know about you all, but if I got caught playing that at work I'd be fired.

    September 3, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  5. tim reilly

    most people in the U.S. can relate to John losing "thousands of dollars"...

    September 3, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. Jim

    Here's a paradox for libs. obama's biggest Republicans supporter is a silly, feeble old man.

    September 3, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  7. Chris

    woohoo...our tax dollars hard at work! (not)

    September 3, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  8. Ron

    I'm thinking McCain is as goofy as he looks.

    September 3, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  9. marilyn

    He is dangerous for our country and needs to retire.

    September 3, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  10. Craig

    This seems ironic. Going into Syria, even if just from the air with unmanned missiles is high stakes poker. Whether we could improve anything and whether Assad would learn anything is a sucker's bet. In addition, the lessons that we might teach others watching the game are questionable. That said, I believe Assad did cross a line and the world needs to deal with his actions. Given Russia and China there is zero chance of that happening, but nonetheless that's where the action should be taken.

    So, it seems as if McCain was justified in practicing his poker skills while that game is being discussed at the hearing. On the other hand, he's already staked out his position, so I doubt much was going to be said that would change his mind.

    September 3, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  11. Adam9

    If I played poker on a smartphone at work, my employers probably have good cause to fire me. Your move, Arizona...

    September 3, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  12. Bobby Love

    The worst part is that he is all relaxed because he KNOWS that all the politicians are going to vote for war in Syria. They are all bought and paid for just like him (but he is paid a little more).

    September 3, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. john

    OMG get him out of office NOW! I mean poker! POKER!!! These people are trusted with doing one thing PAYING ATTENTION and making the right important decisions for our country this is one more reason why over 60% of Americans are disgusted with congress....

    September 3, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  14. Anonkneemiss

    While there is a really important discussion going on about War and death and Senator McCain went and played Poker...... Really? I mean, really??? Is that how important bombing Syria is? Was he getting paid to be at that meeting? If so I vote to fire him straight away. And then he goes and mentions how he did end up losing thousands on that Poker game. As if...losing thousands was what? His punishment? And so now all is well? Then the brilliant reporter: The only real questions the interviewer could come up with, "Was it real money? oh no it wasn't? OK, that's better, good job McCain for publicly verifying you would never ever actually bet REAL money at a Poker game *pats on head* It must be nice to never listen to other people's views when it comes to a democratic government. Imagine that? if republicans and democrats ignored each others sides during meetings and then the government got nothing done because mysteriously they couldn't find a solution? This couldn't possibly be happening to our government. Our government knows diligence, compromise and foresight are the proper attributes while they listen closely to each other to come to a working solution for the task at hand. We don't really need to go in there and sit beside their desks to be sure they do their jobs do we? It can't be true that we have to hold A Senator's hand because he can't possibly handle a 3 hour discussion.

    September 3, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  15. mirageseekr

    That should tell you everything you need to know. McShame is not open to any solution outside of a military attack and holds his peers in such low regard that he can not even pay attention to the arguments on such a serious situation. At the end of the day, I think Americans should offer up all the war mongers of the last two administrations to be tried by the international community. I read the message boards and it is very clear the majority of Americans do not condone intervention in Syria especially without UN approval. Our military personnel are tweeting out their reluctance to fight with with terrorist extremists,, some on their 8th tour. The Pentagon papers, Manning leak, false testimony of Nayirah and P.R. campaign leading to the Gulf War, the fact that we have also used chemical weapons as recently as the Gulf War should be enough information for a rational person to see that we have not held the moral high ground since WWll. Wars are waged for the 1% while the rest of the world suffers. It is time to make a stand against our own government before the rest of the world tires of their wicked ways. Parliament did it in the UK, and we need to do it here. Please call and E-mail your representatives and the White house before we end up in yet another unjustified war. Ask yourself, if there is so much evidence of war crimes then why has the UN not supported intervention?

    September 4, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  16. Really

    So what. These events are all show and all about attracting voter supporter. I doubt any of the participants learn anything from such events. They all know in advance what everyone is going to say.

    September 4, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. maias

    Clearly Senator McCain likes to gamble – but if he's going to gamble with the lives of American soldiers he should have the decency and respect for his soldiers to listen to the hearings to ensure he gets all the facts available, to ask the right questions so he makes the right decisions.

    What? Oh, he's already made his mind up to agree to attack Syria........

    September 4, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. Name michael Balogun

    I don't think he has the right to chuckle about this, millions of lives depends on this hearing and he choose to play poker with the innocent lives out there. What a shameful way to express your love for the people of syria. Michael balogun,from lagos. Esomo close ikeja.

    September 4, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  19. Paymon Aria

    This sort of people want to help Syrian people!!. This shows how much McCain consider the decision to attack Syria seriously.
    This is amazing for both Syrian and American people that their life can be influenced with such people.

    September 4, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  20. Art

    I cant believe this guy was running for president!

    This guy is playing poker on his phone while the future of lives were determined on that very room, at that very moment.


    September 4, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  21. dot

    Good to know McCain is taking this seriously.

    September 4, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  22. rory

    McCain this kind of politician only can make iit to the top as a legislator in US.He will be in the bottom half of the society elsewhere,with his kind of character and personality

    September 4, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Why is this ok?

    September 4, 2013 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  24. Bill

    Yes, senators don't need to gamble with real money on poker games, with all the insider tips they get they can bet on the stock market and win the real money.

    September 4, 2013 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  25. Stefan

    Integrity is long dead. But McCain was always a doubtful person, he just confirmed it.

    September 4, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
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