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Dems point to economy, McCain advisers

April 2, 2008 at 10:41 AM

WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- Democrats, pointing to the slumping U.S. economy, are focusing on two economic advisers attached to John McCain's GOP presidential bid, sources said.

Former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who guided financial deregulation through Congress, and Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who oversaw HP's Compaq takeover before being fired, both are known as aggressive capitalists who may be falling from favor as the U.S. economy is mired in a malaise, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Economists of all philosophies say such characterizations may be oversimplifying the economic issue, the Post said. However, some McCain advisers wonder whether Gramm and Fiorina should be in such prominent roles and so closely linked to the Arizona senator and presumptive GOP nominee.

"I, for one, have thought about it a lot," one McCain adviser told the Post.

Robert Reich, labor secretary during President Bill Clinton's administration, described the pair's economic philosophy as "dog eat dog capitalism," which works well when the economy is flourishing, but not so well during bleaker times."

"McCain is counting on people having very short memories and not connecting some pretty obvious dots here," said Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

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