McCain’s Latest Whopper: He Helped Create the BlackBerry

September 16, 2008 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Sen. John McCain’s top economic adviser is busy tracking the financial crisis, but he took time on Tuesday to offer a novel argument for McCain’s grasp of the financial markets. Politico:

Holtz-Eakin: McCain helped create BlackBerry

Asked what work John McCain did as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that helped him understand the financial markets, the candidate’s top economic adviser wielded visual evidence: his BlackBerry.

“He did this,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters this morning, holding up his BlackBerry. “Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the commerce committee so you’re looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that’s what he did.” Al Gore, call your office.

The Obama campaign sent around the article on Tuesday morning with a terse response: “um, what?”

Within the hour, chief spokesperson Bill Burton released a statement putting the falsehood in context: “If John McCain hadn’t said that ‘the fundamentals of our economy are strong’ on the day of one of our nation’s worst financial crises, the claim that he invented the BlackBerry would have been the most preposterous thing said all week.”

Now let’s briefly correct this latest McCain campaign whopper.  McCain did not “help create” the “miracle” of the BlackBerry — he does not even know how to use email or a computer.  The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee was not even pivotal: the BlackBerry was invented by a Canadian company, Research In Motion.

So this claim is false and absurd, obviously, and it may seem like a distraction from the current debate over the candidates’ economic agendas.

Reporters have a reason to press McCain on his campaign’s latest falsehood, however, because voters have a right to know how often his campaign distorts and lies — on issues large and small — and how often McCain stands by his operatives’ lies (taxes) or abandons them under pressure (like the lipstick ploy).

It seems like the only time McCain is a “maverick” nowadays is when it comes to his relationship with the truth.