- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2008

The same day a John McCain surrogate dismissed economic woes from a nation of “whiners,” Barack Obama’s wife quipped that the $600 tax stimulus check could be used for a pair of earrings.

Both gaffes ignited criticism and are the latest examples of how the men who want to be president have lost control of their campaign surrogates.

“Surrogates gone wild” is no laughing matter for Mr. Obama or Mr. McCain, who each have been sidetracked from their preferred agendas and asked to respond to - or apologize for - snafus from mouths other than their own.

Mrs. Obama said in Pontiac, Michigan, Wednesday that if her husband is elected he will offer more than a “quick fix” on the economy.

“You’re getting $600 - what can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything, but maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn’t pay down every bill every month,” she said. “The short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good, and it may even feel good that first month when you get that check, and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.”

McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm the same day told The Washington Times the sagging economy is a “mental recession” driven by the media for a “nation of whiners.”

Also this week, top advocates speaking for each White House hopeful have gone off the rails — from Rev. Jesse Jackson saying he wanted to effectively castrate Mr. Obama to McCain adviser Carly Fiorina breaching a topic that embarrassed the man she works for - Viagra and birth control.