Since Thursday, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign has been in damage control mode, attempting to distance itself from top economic adviser Phil Gramm‘s belief that America is “a nation of whiners” that is only going through a “mental recession.” “Sen. Graham and I, as I said, we have a total disagreement on whether Americans are whiners or not,” McCain told reporters yesterday.
Appearing on PBS’s Nightly Business Report last night, McCain’s senior policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, claimed that because of the comments, Gramm would no longer be giving McCain advice:
GERSH: Is Senator Gramm still giving advice to Senator McCain?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: At — I haven’t spoken to Senator Gramm since the comments took place, and I’m not expecting to.
Holtz-Eakin’s rejection of Gramm does not correspond completely with what other’s have reported about Gramm’s future with the McCain campaign.
Last night, MSNBC reported that while other economic surrogates would be “driving the policy” for McCain, Gramm would remain a “trusted friend of the campaign.” MSNBC also reported that Gramm, who was until recently thought of as a potential Treasury Secretary under McCain, would not be stripped of his “volunteer designation” as a co chair with the McCain campaign.