Phil Gramm, an advisor to presumptive Republican candidate John McCain (photo), resigned Friday following mounting criticism over his comment that the US had become a "nation of whiners" in relation to the economic woes confronting many Americans.
Phil Gramm resigned on Friday as co-chair of Republican White House hopeful John McCain's campaign after calling the United States a "nation of whiners," the former senator said.
"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 in a statement.
"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.
"To end this distraction and get on with the real debate, I hereby step down as co-chair of the McCain campaign and join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters."
Gramm, a former senator from Texas, ignited the furor with an interview in the Washington Times newspaper earlier this month in which he said the United States still had a dominant economy, despite widespread fears of a recession.
"You've heard of mental depression, this is a mental recession," he said.
"We may have a recession, we haven't had one yet. We have sort of become a nation of whiners, you just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline."
At the time, McCain disowned the remark by Gramm, who advised him on economic issues, as the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama used it to portray Republicans as oblivious to struggles of Americans faced with rising food and gasoline prices.
"Phil Gramm does not speak for me, I speak for me. So I strongly disagree," McCain said, joking that the former senator could be in line for a job as ambassador to Belarus if he won the election.
Obama's campaign responded to Gramm's resignation on Friday by asking "whether he (McCain) 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," spokesman Hari Sevugan said.
Date created : 2008-07-19