September 3rd, 2013
06:45 PM ET
10 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. cjb

    Obama was playing cards when the navy seals were killing Bin Laden – so how is this any different? McCain's statements on Syria is what will get him voted out of office. I'm sick as a republican my representatives are not listening to the American people.

    September 4, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Barry Martineau

    The man is an embarrassment to his office.

    September 4, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Monique

    Shameful. Gives more insight into why he 'selected' dingbat Palin as a running mate.

    September 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. kasual

    Pushing to send American soldiers in harms way and doesn't even have the decency to pay attention during a pivotal moment. What a disgrace. Is there no one in our political system who really cares about the country anymore?

    September 4, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. karl from az

    Term Limits!

    September 4, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. ghostwriter

    But dude......McCain did have pocket aces. How can you throw that in when folks are deciding whether or not to go to war?

    September 4, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. John

    This man needs to go..

    September 4, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. Michelle

    ARE YOU SERIOUS!? This Senator is laughing about losing fake money while the Syrian implosion discussion is going on?? This is ONE BUM I'd LOVE to see thrown out of office! To laugh and play in a most serious time!? I guess his job is NOT that serious!?

    September 4, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. pete fritts

    I dare you, I have had respect, not always agreeing, certainly did not vote for you. You have lost my respect. You are not sitting in a managers meeting, my god you have me and my grandchild who may serve and my family members who served and friends who have fought as you did, you lived, three of mine did not. To see your giggle like a child excusing his boredom as if being corrected by a parent, SHAME ON god who do you think you are? Certainly you have or are "your mind. Step down.......... your judgement is in question, please you make me sick. Your respect for "US" the people and United States the US. You rich blank blanks do not having your children on the front being blown apart and dieing. Shame on you, truly you are too old for me to listen.

    September 4, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Josh

    I understand there is a time for humor and that things are too long in hearings, but that is your GD job! It is a disgrace to see any senator laughing like an idiot about playing a game on their phone when you are talking about potential risk of lives- funny how he gets all serious when he wants, there is a fake politician for ya!

    September 4, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. herb smith

    the reason mccain wasn't paying attention is because the hearings are a charade to make it look like there's an actual debate about weather or not we're going to attack syria,

    September 4, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Tbru191022

    You all are so funny. Read about what this man has done for the service of our country and then state he has no reason to say we should or should not attack Syria. Signed 24-Year Retired Vet!

    September 4, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. herb smith

    the us military does not act in the service of the united states, it acts on behalf of the bankers and corporations who control the government. signed someone who's not asleep.

    September 4, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. He's dead Jim

    As a fellow vet, I appreciate Mr. McCain's personal sacrifice while on active duty, but I also understand that PTSD takes many forms. I have seen some very strong guys suffer greatly from wartime trauma, and they are always so much better off when they get help in dealing with their problems. If you want to, you don't even have to say it's PTSD, you could just say you are going to see someone for alcoholism or something that no one would care about if you don't want your political career threatened. Mr. McCain, please, would you get help for your PTSD? It is seriously taking a toll on your political position. Please Mr. McCain, it wouldn't hurt for you to see someone to get some help. It might even inspire other vets to do the same.

    September 4, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    I'm not going to knock the man. I'm going to give him a salute for learning the technology. I slammed the Senator five years ago for going around on the campaign trail bragging about how he didn't know how to use computers. Nothing wrong with not knowing how to use a computer because that is what aides are for. But, your aides are supposed to stop you from bragging about not knowing, too.

    So, I salute the Senator for learning how to use a smart phone. Now he needs to learn when not to use it.

    September 4, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. Damon

    Complacency Kills and obviously this man is as complacent as it comes. Not to mention he abandoned his duties while on the job to play a poker game. Really? He is x military and he should be ashamed of the dereliction of duty in his actions.

    September 4, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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