• John McCain and the Swiss Miss

    It's Wednesday and the world hasn't ended, so you know what that means: another one of John McCain's campaign staffers has been outed as a lobbyist

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's national campaign general co-chair was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy, federal records show.

    That's right, former Texas senator Phil Gramm was simultaneously working as McCain's economic adviser and as a lobbyist for UBS, the Swiss bank that was crippled by its subprime mortgage exposure.

    As bad as this story sounds, we shouldn't be too quick to turn it into an attack on McCain's principles. Sometimes the people you meet have shady backgrounds; that's not your fault. My guess is McCain was barely conscious of this Gramm guy's connection to UBS, but let's grab the time machine to 2006 and investigate…

    Once the best of friends personally and politically, then divided by the bitter 2000 campaign, Phil Gramm and John McCain are back on the same side for 2008.

    Mr. McCain is emerging as a top GOP presidential contender. Mr. Gramm is back both in his good graces and as an increasingly influential adviser on spending, entitlements and trade.

    The former Texas senator says he's happy with his new life as an international bank executive with the Swiss-based UBS AG Bank and doubts he'll return to public life. But the former Texas A&M economics professor, once touted as a possible treasury secretary or Federal Reserve chairman, didn't totally rule it out.

    Okay, I take it back.

    My new guess is that John McCain is barely conscious.

    Tags: John McCain


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