A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Did McCain Invent the BlackBerry?


John McCain is having his very own Al Gore moment. McCain’s top economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, waved his BlackBerry to a room full of reporters, explaining that "you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create.”

Gore was widely mocked for his claim that “I took the initiative in creating the Internet,” although anyone who reads the entire comment in context can easily discern that Gore was actually saying that he authored legislation which cleared the way for what we now know as the Internet. And Holtz-Eakin was making a similar claim about McCain’s work as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The BlackBerry, of course, was developed by a company called Research in Motion. Its headquarters and manufacturing facilities are both located in Waterloo, Ontario.

We don’t really know the extent to which legislation actually assists in the creation of technology. But we’re pretty sure that legislation originating in the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee generally lacks jurisdiction in Canada.