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John McCain helped invent the BlackBerry? Who knew?

September 16, 2008 | 10:53 am

John McCain's technological acumen is back in the news -- courtesy of one of his top aides.

Barack Obama's campaign sought to spotlight the subject late last week with a controversial ad that scoffed at the Republican's computer skills.

At a gathering in Washington today, McCain domestic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin was asked about his candidate's grasp of high-tech matters. Holtz-Eakin held up his BlackBerry and, in a nod toward McCain's onetime tenure as head of the Senate Commerce Committee, said, "He did this."

(An earlier version of this post misspelled Douglas Holtz-Eakin's last name as Holz-Eakin.)

He elaborated: "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."

Throughout the world of politics, one sentence instantly leaped to mind: "Al Gore invented the Internet."

That's what occurred to our colleague Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune, and he has more on what has become the great Blackberry debate at the Swamp blog.

[UPDATE: Note that Silva's posting includes the demurral from McCain's camp about Holtz-Eakin's comment]

-- Don Frederick