After Phil Gramm's amazing statement that the United States has become " . . . a Nation of Whiners . . .", John McCain has been trying desparately to backpeddle and claim that he barely knows Phil Gramm and Gramm has nothing to do with McCain or his economic positions. We all should know better:
At a recent meeting with the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Republican presidential candidate John McCain admitted he "doesn't really understand economics" and then pointed to his adviser and former Senate colleague, Phil Gramm - whom he had brought with him to the meeting - as the expert he turns to on the subject, The Huffington Post has learned.We've seen plenty of minor "surrogate-gates" along the way in this election cycle, both Republican and Democratic, but this is the first such contraversy to strike at the very core of a candidate's campaign. Put simply, McCain's domestic policy is what Phil Gramm tells him it is. As lackluster as McCain's domestic and economic policy is, he simply wouldn't have one without Gramm's considerable hand holding. For such a critical advisor to go out and deliver the verbal equivalent of a shotgun blast to both of the McCain campaign feet is notthing short of a disaster. One of McCain's key advisors is now an "untouchable." If McCain throws Gramm under the bus, he's throwing himself under the bus at the same time.
The incident was confirmed by a source familiar with the proceedings of the meeting.
On the campaign trail, McCain has often made light of his lack of economic policy understanding. But his concern over such a shortcoming may be even greater then he has suggested.
This is not the first time McCain has turned to Gramm as a buffer for criticism of his economic views - or lack thereof. Gramm, who regards himself as a budget-balancing, anti-government spending Republican, was brought on board a sputtering McCain campaign last summer. Since then, McCain has staged a political recovery and is now a serious contender for the GOP nomination.
After joining the campaign, Gramm has remained by the candidate's side to "vouch for Mr. McCain's fiscal and security bona fides," according to the Dallas Morning News.[The Huffington Post, January 21, 2008]