This morning McCain domestic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin was asked what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., could point to from his work on the Senate Commerce Committee that would prove to the American people that he has experience on technology issues.
"He did this," Holtz-Eakin said, holding up his BlackBerry. "Telecommunications in the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create. And that’s what he did."
The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., immediately tried to paint this as an Al-Gore-I-invented-the-internet moment.
“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," Obama spox Bill Burton emailed reporters, "the claim that he invented the BlackBerry would have been the most preposterous thing said all week."
- Jake Tapper and Bret Hovell
UPDATE: Senior aide Matt McDonald said that Sen. McCain "laughed" when he heard about Holtz-Eakin’s comment.
"He would not claim to be the inventor of anything, much less the BlackBerry. This was obviously a boneheaded joke by a staffer," McDonald said.
UPDATE 2: ABC News’ impeccably fair Ron Claiborne emails that "McCain may be making light of it, but it was not joke as told by Holtz-Eakin. Just the opposite, he was serious, emphatic and even a little defensive when he said it."