Campaign Insider.

This economics guru advises John McCain, for free

Douglas Holtz-Eakin knew the 2003 Boeing Air Force tanker deal was a rotten, overpriced plan, but he was not supposed to say so. As head of the Congressional Budget Office, he had a simple job: crunch numbers, avoid policy disputes. But one day at a September 2003 Senate hearing, John McCain asked him directly: Do you think the deal should be approved?

"No," Holtz-Eakin replied, as his staff released a collective gasp of horror. Eventually, the tanker deal collapsed under a cloud of scandal, further cementing the bond between the Arizona politician and the Princeton-trained economist. "He got me," says Holtz-Eakin,...

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