John McCain says that his closest economic advisor--Phil Gramm--does not speak for John McCain:
CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - McCain: ‘Phil Gramm does not speak for me’ « - Blogs from CNN.com: John McCain forcefully repudiated comments by his national campaign co-chair Phil Gramm Thursday, telling reporters, "Phil Gramm does not speak for me..."
Douglas Holtz-Eakin says that John McCain does not speak for John McCain either:
Think Progress » Holtz-Eakin: On Wednesday, the Tax Policy Center released a report finding a $2.8 trillion gap between Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) public economic proposals and his advisers’ private assurances.... Douglas Holtz-Eakin... disputes the way the [TPC] study takes suggestions McCain has made on the stump out of context. “This is parsing words out of campaign appearances to an unreasonable degree,” Holtz-Eakin said. “He has certainly I’m sure said things in town halls” that don’t jibe perfectly with his written plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s official...
Think Progress's Wonk Room:
Wonk Room: For months, the McCain campaign had not offered specific numbers on his profligate budget proposals. In June, Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a prominent advocacy group for balanced budgets, told Bloomberg news: “I haven’t received anything, and if some of the other groups have then I’ll be really ticked off.... If he’s got some more complete budget proposal he can send I’d love to get it.”
Detailed figures did finally appear publicly in the first Tax Policy Center report and later in the Washington Post, but are still not available on the campaign’s web site. And no wonder: there are still serious inconsistencies between what his advisers provide to the wonks at the Tax Policy Center (and the editorial board of the Washington Post) and what appears on McCain’s web site and in his stump speeches....
Two examples of McCain’s inconsistencies....
The Alternative Minimum Tax: McCain told the Conservative Political Action Conference that he would “abolish” the Alternative Minimum Tax. His website says he would “phase it out.” But the numbers he offered Tax Policy Center suggest that he would only “extend and index” the patch and “raise the exemption.” The difference between “abolishing” and “raising the exemption”? $390 billion.
Corporate Expensing: Senator McCain has called for a huge change in the tax code allowing businesses to write-off their equipment purchases. In the documents his advisers provide to tax experts, the proposal is restricted to “a narrow class of investments [with] a sunset the proposal after five years.” But on the stump, as the Tax Policy Center points out, McCain’s statements “strongly imply that the provision would apply to all machinery and equipment.” And McCain regularly rails against sunset provisions as covert tax-hikes. The difference between these two corporate expensing proposals? $737 billion, enough money to fight another Iraq war.