Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gramm resigns from McCain campaign post

After calling Americans a "nation of whiners," and saying that we're all in a "mental recession," it appears that former Senator Phil Gramm is leaving Republican John McCain's presidential campaign. From MSNBC News:

NEW YORK - Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm resigned Friday from his role as Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign co-chairman, hoping to quiet the uproar that followed his comments that Americans had become a "nation of whiners" whose constant complaints about the U.S. economy show they are in a "mental recession."

Gramm, a past presidential candidate, made the remarks more than a week ago. McCain immediately distanced himself from the comments, but they brought a steady stream of criticism just as McCain is trying to show he can help steer the country past its current financial troubles.

Gramm said in a statement late Friday that he is stepping down to "end this distraction."

"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. 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 made the comment to The Washington Times and later explained that he was talking about the nation's leaders not the American people. Democrats claimed at the time that the Gramm comments showed that McCain is out of touch with voters' concerns over high gas prices, the struggling housing industry and the shaky economy in general.

I find it rather humorous that Phil Gramm blames the Democrats for his own "mental recession" statement. Excuse me Senator--you screwed up in admitting your delusions that we are in a mental recession and are a bunch of whiners. Now the story is coming out that YOU hurt the country in tearing down the wall between banking and investment houses, causing this entire home mortgage meltdown. And then you lobby for a big financial company to roll back legislation during the mortgage crisis. From

Gramm’s role in the swift and dramatic recent restructuring of the nation’s investment houses and practices didn’t stop there.

A year after the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the old regulations, Swiss Bank UBS gobbled up brokerage house Paine Weber. Two years later, Gramm settled in as a vice chairman of UBS’s new investment banking arm.

Later, he became a major player in its government affairs operation. According to federal lobbying disclosure records, Gramm lobbied Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department about banking and mortgage issues in 2005 and 2006.

During those years, the mortgage industry pressed Congress to roll back strong state rules that sought to stem the rise of predatory tactics used by lenders and brokers to place homeowners in high-cost mortgages.

For his work, Gramm and two other lobbyists collected $750,000 in fees from UBS’s American subsidiary. In the past year, UBS has written down more than $18 billion in exposure to subprime loans and other risky securities and is considering cutting as many as 8,000 jobs.

Gramm did not respond to an e-mail and was unavailable for comment, according to a UBS spokesman. The bank has no official position on the subprime crisis, the spokesman said, but is a member of the Financial Services Roundtable and other industry groups that are actively lobbying Congress on the issue.

Now, some housing experts and economists see Gramm’s thinking in the recent housing proposal from McCain, the Republican Party’s presumed presidential nominee. Gramm is often a surrogate for the Arizona senator, particularly in meetings focused on the economy. And McCain has hinted he’d consider the former Texas senator for Treasury secretary in a McCain administration.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann explains further Gramm's connection between his role as a lobbyist for UBS, and how Gramm killed reform legislation for the benefit of UBS and the financial industry. Countdown Part One:

And here is Countdown Part Two:

And John McCain wants to make Phil Gramm his Treasury Secretary in a McCain administration? We do not need either Phil Gramm or John McCain to continue sending this country down the toilet.

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