Campaign reporter Michael Cooper unloaded still more McCain-based hostility in his Friday filing on comments by McCain economic adviser, former Sen. Phil Gramm - "McCain Adviser Refers To 'Nation of Whiners,' Touching Off Rebukes."
Notice the feeling of a detached McCain that Cooper is "trying" to get across: The entire story consists of McCain "trying" (and apparently failing) to convince skeptical voters of this or that, as opposed to Cooper simply quoting McCain or summarizing what he's telling voters.
Senator John McCain has spent the week trying to tell people that he feels their economic pain. So it was more than a little unhelpful when one of his top economic advisers was quoted Thursday as saying that the United States was only in a "mental recession" and that it had become a "nation of whiners."
The adviser, former Senator Phil Gramm, Republican of Texas, sought to clarify his remarks Thursday by saying he had been referring only to some of the nation's leaders.
But it was too late to keep from complicating things for Mr. McCain, who has been trying to strike a more empathetic tone after sometimes struggling to maintain a balance between displays of optimism about the nation's future and demonstrating an understanding of Americans' economic hardships.
Mr. McCain has been spending the week in Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan pushing his economic proposals and trying to show a grasp of workers' financial struggles.
During the gathering here Thursday, held at Bayloff Stamped Products, which provides metal components to car manufacturers, he tried to fend off the skepticism of some Michigan workers about his support for free trade and said more than half a dozen times that people were "hurting."