Sen. Barack Obama played stand-up comedian Thursday on the serious issue of which White House hopeful is a better steward of the economy, by ridiculing his rival’s economic adviser for describing Americans as “a nation of whiners.”
Sen. John McCain distanced himself from former Sen. Phil Gramm’s suggestion in an interview with The Washington Times that the media have hyped the state of the nation’s economic slowdown and helped create a “mental recession” magnified by a penchant to complain.
Campaigning in Fairfax on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Obama recounted in detail The Times’ story in which Mr. Gramm made his comments, prompting his audience of 2,800 to hiss, boo and snicker.
“Today one of his top economic advisers … said that we’re merely in a mental recession; that’s what he said,” Mr. Obama said, chuckling. “He didn’t say this, but I guess what he meant was it’s a figment of your imagination, these high gas prices.”
He paused for comic effect while the voters digested the Texas Republican’s remarks, which Mr. McCain denounced when reporters asked about the story.
“Then he deemed the United States, and I quote, ‘A nation of whiners.’ Whoa,” Mr. Obama said. “A nation of whiners?”
Mr. McCain said he disagrees with Mr. Gramm and speaks for himself, even though Mr. Gramm at the time Thursday was speaking on behalf of Mr. McCain before a Wall Street Journal editorial board.
“I believe that the person here in Michigan that just lost his job isn’t suffering from a mental recession. I believe the mother here in Michigan and around America that is trying to get enough money to educate their children isn’t whining,” Mr. McCain said while campaigning in Belleville, Mich.
“America’s in great difficulty and we are experiencing enormous economic challenges as well as others,” Mr. McCain added.
But the presumptive Democratic nominee said it was a prime example for how the two candidates would govern differently.
“This comes after Senator McCain recently admitted that his energy proposals for the gas-tax holiday and the drilling will have mainly ‘psychological’ benefits,” Mr. Obama said while the audience laughed.
“America only has one Dr. Phil,” he said. “We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy. It’s not just a figment of your imagination, it’s not all in your head.”View Entire Story
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