Gore had his Internet, McCain his BlackBerry

September 16, 2008

In the annals of inventor-lawmakers, Republican presidential candidate John McCain may rank even higher than Al Gore.
 
rtr21w17.jpgGore famously said in 1999 as he was preparing to launch his presidential bid that he helped create the Internet while he was a member of the Senate.
 
He was roundly ridiculed for the comment, which rumor and repetition quickly converted into an urban myth that Gore claimed to be the inventor of the Internet.

McCain evidently has been busy in the Senate too. Even though he doesn’t use computers or e-mail, the Arizona senator helped create the BlackBerry. So says one of his economic advisers, Douglas Holt-Eakin.
 
“You’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create,” Holtz-Eakin told reporters while brandishing a BlackBerry wireless e-mail device during a briefing in Miami.
 
Holtz-Eakin’s remarks came as he was defending McCain’s knowledge of the economy while stock markets reeled from the financial crisis.
 
Early in the campaign, McCain said his economic understanding wasn’t all that great. He’s been trying to claw back that statement ever since.
 
Holtz-Eakin cited McCain’s work on the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications and the senator chaired for a time, as evidence of his economic experience. Then followed the BlackBerry proclamation.
 
The Obama campaign, aware of the ridicule Gore suffered over the Internet, was quick to try to tar McCain with the BlackBerry.
 
“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,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. 
 
Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Robert LeSieur (McCain in New Hampshire Sept. 14)

17 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

John McCain has scars and injuries from serving the United States of America. Obama never registered to serve.

What scares me about this election is NOT that McCain cannot win, it is that Obama has been trained that “Corruption is Necessary to achieve goals.” SAUL ALINSKY METHOD.

You can count on voter fraud. ONLY HALF OUR STATES REQUIRE ID’S TO VOTE!

We can ALSO count on the fact that OBAMA IS NOT ALONE. HE HAS THE COMBINED SUPPORT OF 20 YEARS OF ‘PATIENT’ TERRORISTS HELPING HIM DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO WIN!

COUNTRY FIRST – VOTE FOR JOHN McCAIN.

Posted by EAST COAST - USA | Report as abusive

BTW, for the un-educated, the reason McCain can’t email HIMSELF is b/c of his battle scars. He DOES get around techie stuff..I mean, he has eBay’s guru and HP’s wizard backing him. He is not like the much-touted Rendell, who’s first act in his new position was to remove the computer from his desk. Not kidding! He still dictates to a secretary!! Anyway..McCain is very much in tune with the times…past and present…and def ready to be our next Prez…God-willing!

Posted by anonny | Report as abusive

So, an American politician lie to try to gain influence. Yawn.

@EAST COAST
If you actually believe that drivel you deserve your politicians. The choice between Obama and McCain is a choice between a Big Mac and a Whopper. Get over it.

Wow!! Twisting words is a very typical bloggers way of gaining readership. Al Gore said he was responsible for invention of the internet which was actually invented while he was still a small child. McCain was actually on the panel that opened up frequencies that allowed the blackberry to be a viable commercial success. Nowhere does it say McCain invented the device. He made it possible so we dweebs could actually use this in the United States. Are you so deranged as to actually suggest he would or has made such a claim?? Go back to your mother’s basement and only come out to vote and pay the pizza delivery guy. Only the irresponsible would try to inject this as a topic of discussion in this very important election. I may be conservative in my leanings, but I will not try to make up stuff to detract from Obama’s message.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Blackberry is a Canadian invention by a Canadian company called Research in Motion! What next? Perhaps Palin invented the condom?

Posted by TSG | Report as abusive

Is it just me or does anyone else see a substantial difference between a candidate personally claiming to have invented a revolutionary technology (Gore) and an advisor making a comment that was taken out of context(Holt-Eakin)? The Twitterati are already going nuts stating that “McCain claimed to invent the Blackberry.” That I expect. Obama picking-up the ball and running with it, however, is yet another example of how the “candidate of change” is willing to spin & lie his way to the top. (Oh… that’s right… Obama has his campaign staff make comments so he stays above it all.) Ugh… O came close to winning my vote… not anymore.

Posted by RedSoxFTW | Report as abusive

Oh- I see..his thumbs work but his fingers do not????He insults the vets and disabled by saying he can not use a computer but he invents and uses a blackberry…What will be the next ‘lie’ he wants the American voter to believe?

Posted by Docb | Report as abusive

I come from a family (within the South and USMC, 20 purple hearts total), which have greatly suffered both under Democrats and Republicans. When is the U.S. going to wake up and quit looking at party politics and start using commonsense? I think the best approach to politics or anything is to look a performance. I would suggest that anyone look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_de bt_by_U.S._presidential_terms or http://www.cbo.gov/ (which only goes back to 1990). Please think about your future and more importantly your children’s future (http://nces.ed.gov/TIMSS/countries.asp which was collected in 2003 vs. something more recent none studies regarding the US vs the world (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&clie nt=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:offic ial&hs=JdO&q=us+education+world+rating&s tart=10&sa=N) good luck finding a valid comparison (p.s. It sucks).

If anyone is curious about the Blackberry patent in the U.S. I would suggest they do a patent search (http://usasearch.gov/search?affiliate=u spto.gov&v%3Aproject=firstgov&query=blac kberry).

If anyone is interested in economics or at least curious the following is a good link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/454 9942.stm). Too bad McCain and Obama did not read Greenspan’s book. Just my opinion, flame away.

Food for thought, who holds the largest amount of treasury bonds in the world? If you do not know check the following (http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt). It’s not only a good mindset, it is commonsense (at least in foreign policy). What is Bush Diplomacy? I think Palin was correct in saying she did not know (does anyone within the US?, better question)

Who within the U.S. wants to pay for another war (Georgia, former state of the former Soviet Union). I think we have already provided the fact that the U.S. cannot support or pay for another war (unless I am missing something). Please provide any support to the contrary, I am open to any thoughts or proof.

More food for thought, what would happen if China and Japan wanted to collect on their t-bills? (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/res earch/indepth/tbills/res_tbill.htm)

Mr. Thurman, Please just say something instead of just asking a bunch of questions. Better yet why don’t you stay on topic. If you have an axe to grind do it in an appropriate forum; say one that deals with the federal debit, the war, or macroeconomics. The blog was about the claim, by the blogger, that McCain says he invented the blackberry. You ramble in so many directions that have nothing to do with the topic I get a headache reading. So pick up a primer on composition, read it and contribute to the conversation. By the way I too come from a long line of military veterans including myself and my brother. It too goes way back to the Civil war not one of us have ever complained about the treatment we received during or after our service. Marines never complain they engage, adapt and overcome.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

A non-political comment! I know, can you believe it?

I just wanted to say that I subscribe to these Trail ’08 posts, and I thoroughly enjoy them. Thank you so much for providing these interesting insights.

Posted by Christine | Report as abusive

For the record, this is Al Gore’s quote in an interview with Larry King that was later used to claim that Al Gore said he invented the internet:

“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

Vincent Cerf, a man often called The Father of the Internet, who is responsible for much of technical protocols underlying the internet said this:

“The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator.”

Marc Andreessen, writer of the first graphical internet browser, called Mosaic, and later founder of Netscape received funding under the High Performance Computing Act written by Al Gore.

These are but two examples of Gore’s role in the development of the internet. In short, John McCain’s advisor’s claim of McCain’s impact on telecommunications isn’t at all comparable to Al Gore’s impact on the internet.

Posted by David Little | Report as abusive

What next? Maybe he invented the coltan and copper?????
Whatever,,,

Posted by Kiziton | Report as abusive