McCain dismisses Gramm's remarks

John McCain sharply broke from an economic adviser who dubbed the United States “a nation of whiners” in a “mental recession” as the Republican presidential candidate sought to counter criticism that he's weak on the economy.

“I strongly disagree” with Phil Gramm's remarks, McCain told reporters in a rebuke of one of his top surrogates and longtime friends. “Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me.” McCain said a person who just lost a job or a mother struggling to pay for a child's education “isn't suffering from a mental recession.”

Gramm, a former Texas senator who is a vice chairman of the Swiss bank UBS and has a doctorate in economics, made the remarks in an interview with The Washington Times.

Campaigning in Fairfax, Va., Obama seized on Gramm's comments as he tried to paint McCain as out of touch: “America already has one Dr. Phil. We don't need another one when it comes to the economy.” Associated Press

Investigators report on Obama plane's mishap

An initial examination of the plane that had maintenance problems while carrying Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to an event in Charlotte found no evidence of missing parts or tampering, federal investigators said Thursday.

The Midwest Airlines MD-81 made a precautionary landing in St. Louis on Monday after leaving Chicago for Charlotte.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilots felt it took more than the usual amount of force to manipulate the aircraft controls.

An emergency evacuation slide located in the plane's tail cone partially inflated and an inflation bottle, typically containing a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, was empty, the agency said.

Also, a railing of the catwalk, used to walk from the back of the plane into the tail, was broken. The broken railing may have affected elevator control cables, investigators said. Associated Press

McCain campaign reports record fundraising month

Republican John McCain raised more than $22 million in June for his presidential bid, his best fundraising performance on the year, and ended the month with nearly $27 million cash on hand, the campaign announced Thursday.

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said McCain and the national Republican Party together entered July with about $95 million in the bank. The Republican National Committee, which has been raising money jointly with McCain, collected nearly $26 million in June and had nearly $69 million on hand, officials said.

Democrat Barack Obama has not revealed his June fundraising. Associated Press