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McCain Economic Adviser Derides Bush

By Michael D. Shear
Republican Sen. John McCain's top domestic policy adviser derided President Bush's knowledge of the economy, saying in an interview published today that Bush knows nothing about the economy except taxes.

Doug Holtz-Eakin, who has been McCain's top adviser and spokesman on economic issues, made the comments as he attempted to distance McCain's economic policies from those of the president.

"The only thing that he shares in common with President Bush is the understanding of good tax policy," Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said in an interview with Bloomberg. "Sadly, it seems that is all President Bush understood in the economy."

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino focused on the first sentence in Holtz-Eakin's statement, saying that "We agree President Bush's tax cuts have greatly benefited the economy -- they brought us out of the recession he inherited in 2001 and led to 26 consecutive quarters of economic growth. And we agree that the tax cuts should be made permanent."

Perino cited several "pro-growth policies" that Bush has advanced, including "modernizing programs to keep families in their homes; expanding trade, including the completion of 11 free trade agreements and pushing for several more; promoting environmentally-responsible domestic energy production; pushing policy to make health care affordable and portable; and addressing the long-term challenges we face in entitlement spending, like Social Security."

She added: "But Mr. Holtz-Eakin is entitled to his opinion."

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said, "Mr. Holtz-Eakin regrets any appearance of personalizing this issue with the president. However, he does stand by the substance of his statements regarding the Administration's unwillingness to make the necessary spending reductions to accompany tax cuts."

The comments came in an extended interview with Bloomberg Television's Judy Woodruff on the economic positions of the two major party presidential candidates. Wooduff also interviewed Dan Tarullo, an Obama economic adviser, according to a transcript of the interview.

The full discussion is scheduled to air this weekend.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 6, 2008; 8:27 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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