03/09/2013 19:53 BST | Updated 03/09/2013 20:30 BST

#Pokergate: Senator John McCain Caught Playing iPhone Poker During Senate Hearing On Syria

Senator John McCain, one of the main advocates for a military intervention in Syria, spent time in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Tuesday playing poker on his iPhone.

The former Republican presidential candidate was caught playing on his mobile by a photographer from the Washington Post. After the paper published the story, McCain responded jokingly via Twitter.

However, many of the responses were less endearing to the Senator, with some questioning why McCain was not listening while his colleagues were debating such an earnest issue as whether or not to go to war.

Following the hearing McCain explained to CNN what drove him to fiddle with his phone.

"As much as I like to always listen with rapt attention constantly (to) remarks of my colleagues over a three and a half period, occasionally I get a little bored," he said.

McCain added that "the worst thing about it is I lost thousands of dollars in this game" before adding it was only "fake" money.

Earlier on Tuesday, McCain admitted that Obama's plan to launch a punitive strike "might be doomed in the long run."

The Senator's faux pas will be a blow for the White House, which is desperately seeking congressional approval for military action.

Speaking during a meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, Obama described the proposed strike as "proportional and limited".

"This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan,” he assured. “The military plan that has been developed by our joint chiefs, and that I believe is appropriate, is proportional, it is limited, it does not involve boots on the ground.

john mccain egypt

At least McCain wasn't caught playing Candy Crush

"This is a limited proportional step that will send a clear message not only to the Assad regime but also to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms that there are consequences.

Obama added: "It gives us the opportunity to degrade Assad's capabilities when it comes to chemical weapons.

"It also fits into a broader strategy that we have to make sure that we can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic and economic and political pressure required so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability, not only to Syria but to the region."