In his effort to distance himself from top economic adviser Phil Gramm’s contention that America is a “nation of whiners” complaining about a “mental recession,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared in Michigan today that he “strongly disagrees” with Gramm. “Phil Gramm does not speak for me,” said McCain. Watch it:
But as Politico’s Jonathan Martin points out, McCain’s claim that Gramm doesn’t speak for him is contradicted by the fact that Gramm spoke to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on behalf of McCain today. The Washington Post reports:
Speaking today from New York, where he was meeting with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on McCain’s economic policies, Gramm said the nation’s economy was initially thought to have grown by an anemic 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. That was revised up to 0.9 percent, and again to 1.0 percent.
Additionally, McCain has frequently praised Gramm — who Fortune Magazine has labeled “McCain’s econ brain” — as a central beacon for his economic thinking:
– Phil Gramm’s “active participation in my campaign makes a strong statement about our intention to reduce spending and make the tax cuts permanent,” said McCain in an e-mail announcing Gramm as a general co-chair of his campaign. [3/12/07]
– “I love him dearly. On issues of economics and … family values, there’s nobody that I know that’s stronger,” McCain said of Gramm. [1/19/08]
– “I respect no one more in America on issue of economics than I do Phil Gramm,” said McCain after Gramm “vouched” for his conservative credentials. [1/18/08]
As ThinkProgress noted earlier today, when McCain admitted in 2005 that he “still needed to be educated” on economic issues, he reassured the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore by saying that Gramm was “his foremost economic guru.”