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. McCrain

    I think McCain, is going senial, being a war prisoner and losing the election has taken it's toll. I suggest, a assisted living facility, near Sedonna – just make sure he doesn't wander off on the golf course and get lost.

    September 3, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. MrManhattan

    Of all the things Republicans do, playing poker is probably about the least treasonous.

    September 3, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Nick

    Ummmm I'd say the worst thing about it is that he was on the job and he was playing a game. I'm pretty sure I would get fired for doing that. And I work in grocery. No where near as serious as something like Syria.

    September 3, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. transmi mutuuc

    Give him an "A" for Honesty...

    September 3, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. regenesis0

    If I was caught playing a game during a work meeting I'd be fired. This is his job. He's paid to do it.

    Are we at least docking his pay?

    September 3, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. Seth

    So you're telling me he can't pay attention to a 4 hr meeting? Especially one with so many lives on the line. I have friends in the military and this has a direct impact on their lives and the lives of thousands of others in the armed forces. Not to mention those in Syria. How scary. This decision is beingade by men like this.

    September 3, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Joel


    When I was working for the Federal Government, I would have been set on fire for playing games while on the job. In such, get your head out of your ass. You think that's what we pay you to do?

    The American People

    September 3, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. jacksonian2012

    What a doorknob. Is there not one other US senator you guys can find to talk to? My goodness.

    September 3, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. Will

    It's one thing to get bored and play games on a phone in class, or maybe even at work, but as an elected leader sitting in on a major debate that may or may not cause hundreds of thousands of people grief in the future, from deaths to economic troubles, stay off the damn phone and at least pretend to listen... Funerals are boring to me, too, but I would never whip out a phone and start playing a game during one. If a jury got bored during a trial and whipped out a phone to play a game it certainly wouldn't fly! Elected officials have no reverence for the ordinary lives they affect with their decisions....

    September 3, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. What a joke.

    That is all that these Repubs do, they politicize everything to appeal to the lower denominator base that supports them. Only a couple days ago he said that Obama should have acted sooner now all of a sudden he says he may not vote yes to the resolution. It is all about politics with these people. It is a shame that their base is so ignorant to the actions of their elected officials.

    September 3, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Looks like they already have their mind made up. This is hearing is just a show.

    September 3, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. James

    If you watched the thing you'd understand. Very few meaningful questions were asked, and the few meaningful questions which were asked were not answered. Everything was classified or just ignored.

    September 3, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. American

    Remember DO NOT play poker with the LIVES of our G.I's. They are not TOY SOLDIERS they are real flesh and blood.

    September 3, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. American

    "Fake Money" or not our G.I's are not fake, so do not play poker with their LIVES.

    September 3, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Electorate

    Reprehensible. The point of Congressional deliberations is to, you know, deliberate! Congresspeople are obligated to their electorate to give decisions like that concerning Syria the utmost attention, even if their opinions before deliberation are well settled. Senator McCain's carelessness in greeting armed international conflict is matched only by his shamelessness in meeting public criticism. And finally, to any Arizonans paying attention, low standards beget low politicians.

    September 3, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. Ken Patterson

    Those clowns in DC lose thousands of my dollars too....but it ain't fake money! Oh well, practice makes perfect, I guess.

    September 3, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. steve

    What a disrrace. We pay this guy to play games while facing such an important decision!

    September 3, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. So What?

    Big whup. Obama played spades for 3 hours during the Bin Laden raid.

    September 3, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Angry Citizen

    So let me get this straight, politicians are discussing a possible military strike which will kill lots of people and this guy who we elect to protect our interests is sitting there playing poker on his phone? Most of American would at the very least be written up and possibly terminated if caught doing the same thing at their place of work.

    September 3, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. angela

    You are paid as a professional if your job is boring find another. Would rather somone working for us who actually cared.


    September 3, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. SayWhat?

    The fact that Senator McCain can joke about playing poker during a congressional hearing to discuss a military option that could send a region of the world in total chaos is totally unacceptable, disrespectful to his colleagues,the citizens of the US, and the President. If he is bored, then he should retire from the senate and go play a few rounds of golf! I wonder if he would have been bored if he had won the presidency! What a shame!

    September 3, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. Fed Up With Feds

    Put him out to pasture. Age limits for Congress, he needs to retire.

    September 3, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. T.S.Evilsizer

    I found it to be important enough to pay attention for three and a half hours. I was not even being paid to do so.

    September 3, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. bilbilbit

    The future of millions of people on a hand of poker.

    If I was caught playing poker in the middle of a meeting I'd be fired. Where's the accountability?

    September 3, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. liberal disease

    he should get together with Bary they can play parchese , bunch of overpaid blow hards all of them!

    September 3, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17