London, July 11 : Republican presidential candidate John McCain's struggle to convince Americans that he understands their economic concerns has suffered a huge set back when his senior economic adviser accused them of "whining" about an imaginary recession.
McCain said he understood the pain of American families was real and rejected his long time confidant and friend former Texas Senator Phil Gramm's remarks.
Asked what the future was for Gramm, who has been tipped as a Treasury Secretary in a McCain Administration, the Republican presidential nominee said: "Gramm would be under serious consideration for Ambassador of Belarus, although I am not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that."
Speaking in Michigan, McCain said he understood the pain of American families was real, The Telegraph reported.
He asserted that Gramm "does not speak for me", adding to the impression that Gramm may soon be concentrating on his job as a vice-president at the UBS investment bank.
In an interview with the Washington Times, Gramm said: "You've heard of mental depression - this is a mental recession. ... We have sort of become a nation of whiners."
"You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline... We've never been more dominant, we've never had more natural advantages than we have today," he added.
Gramm was earlier forced to drop his lobbying duties for UBS, and was reportedly among those in the mortgage industry lobbying Congress to hold back controls on sub prime mortgage lenders.
In 1999 he was behind deregulation legislation that has been blamed for creating the environment for the collapse in the sub prime market, which afflicted UBS and many other major financial institutions.