McCain Created the Blackberry?Uh…read on

A bit of an exaggeration? Why doesn’t the news media call this stuff out? Why does this have to bubble up from the blogosphere first? It seems that Sen. McCain had nothing to do with it. He assumed the Commerce Committee chairman ship right after the changes were made. But since he showed up and didn’t reverse it, I guess he can claim credit for it. And the usual comes up about him and his staff. folks admit that is staff was too cozy with lobbyists. Wow, that’s a shocker.

To those who express doubts about his economic acumen, John McCain has a simple answer: “I was chairman of the Commerce Committee, which oversights all of the commercial aspects of America’s economy,” he said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday.

It’s a bit of an exaggeration — the Senate Commerce Committee doesn’t have primary jurisdiction over the financial services industry, which is at the heart of today’s economic crisis — and it’s also a more complicated story than McCain’s declaration might suggest.

McCain wielded the gavel at the Commerce Committee from 1997 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2007. Supporters credit him with being open-minded and say he ran the committee with a steady, moderate hand during his stints in the chair. But critics who worked with the committee at the time contend that McCain avoided policy debates and sometimes seemed apathetic — and that his staff was too cozy with lobbyists.

One thing is certain: McCain’s tenure is not as simple to encapsulate as McCain’s economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, tried to make it seem last week, when he held up a BlackBerry and credited its invention to McCain’s work on the committee. In fact, McCain voted against key legislation that paved the device’s way.

“Being the chair of that committee is very, very important,” said former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt, who served for nine months with McCain at the helm of Commerce and now advises the Obama campaign. “And if it were true that John McCain had championed the opening up of new markets or technology, that would be a good thing. It just is not true.”

BlackBerry creation is not the only questionable claim the McCain campaign has made about his work on the committee.

“Under John McCain’s guiding hand,” his website states, “Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology.”

But a former FCC senior staffer, who would talk candidly only if not quoted by name, called this a serious overstatement, noting that the nascent wireless spectrum was first made available in 1985, and that the FCC increased its size for “unlicensed national information infrastructure devices” in January 1997 — just as McCain was assuming the chairmanship.

Now red the full article, especially when the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank chimes in with their comments. 

As chairman, McCain left mixed legacy – Politico.com Print View.