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McCain Campaign Pulls Plug on Gramm

By Juliet Eilperin
Sen. John McCain is definitely done trotting his friend and former Senate colleague Phil Gramm out on the campaign trail, and he is minimizing the Texan's role among his team of advisers.

Gramm had played an important part in crafting McCain's economic plan, and he occasionally appeared at rallies or spoke to editorial boards on the presumptive GOP nominee's behalf. But no longer, according to two key McCain advisers, after Gramm told the Washington Times that the country was filled with "whiners" and the United States is merely in a "mental recession."

On Friday McCain's domestic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin told Darren Gersh, a PBS "Nightly Business Report" correspondent, that Gramm is no longer giving advice to McCain or his aides on the economy. "I haven't spoken to Senator Gramm since the comments took place, and I'm not expecting to," Holtz-Eakin said.

Today, McCain economics adviser Carly Fiorina chimed in on NBC's "Meet the Press": "I think John McCain has been real clear that Phil Gramm wasn't speaking for him and in fact John McCain has said now for many months that he believes the economy is in a recession. ... I don't think Senator Gramm will any longer be speaking for John McCain. I think John McCain was crystal clear about that this week."

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in an e-mail that the campaign has "no announcement to make on [Gramm's] role as a volunteer with the campaign, other than to say his remarks were regrettable and are completely inconsistent with the message and mission of John McCain's economic plan."

By Post Editor  |  July 13, 2008; 3:41 PM ET
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