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BREAKING 7-18-08 Phil Gramm Resigns as McCain Campaign Co-Chair After "Whiners" Comment
Friday, Jul 18, 2008 7:21pm
WASHINGTON, D.C. From CNN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING:  PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS 7-18-08  After saying last week"...we have sort of become a nation of whiners," former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm stepped down today as co-chairman of John McCain's presidential campaign. 

CNN reports that Gramm on Friday said he would "join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters."

Democrats blasted Gramm for the comments, made in a Washington Times interview published July 10, and McCain forcefully repudiated the remarks. 

In a written statement released Friday, Gramm said his comments had become a distraction for McCain.

"It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country," Gramm said.

"That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain's ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country's problems, it hurts the country."

Gramm, who advised presumed Republican nominee McCain on economic matters, made the controversial comments while discussing the economy.

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," the former Texas senator said." 

McCain responded that day to the comments saying during a campaign stop: "I believe that the person here in Michigan who just lost his job isn't suffering from a mental recession. I believe the mother here in Michigan or around America who's trying to get enough money to educate their children isn't whining." 

A day after making the comments, Gramm said he was referring to America's leaders, not the public.

He stood behind the "mental recession" comment, though, saying, "we don't have measured negative growth. That's a fact; that's not a commentary."

McCain's Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, said Friday that news of Gramm stepping down makes little difference.

"The question for John McCain isn't whether Phil Gramm will continue as chairman of his campaign but whether he will continue to keep the economic plan that Gramm authored and that represents a continuation of the polices that have failed American families for the last eight years," Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan said.

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