McCain backs off Gramm remarks

July 10, 2008 4:03:46 PM PDT
John McCain says he doesn't consider the United States "a nation of whiners" in a "mental recession." And, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting moved today to distance himself from an economic adviser who made that observation.

McCain told reporters in Belleville, Michigan, that he strongly disagrees with Phil Gramm's remarks. He says Gramm doesn't speak for him.

Gramm, a former Texas senator, made the remarks in an interview with The Washington Times. Gramm has a doctorate in economics.

Campaigning in Virginia, Democrat Barack Obama sought to turn the remarks against his rival.

He said the economic downturn "is not in your head," adding that "it isn't whining to ask government to step in and give families some relief."