Grover Norquist in New York Times Magazine This Sunday Defends 'Nut-Job' McCain

While the cover story on Chris Matthews has already drawn attention to this coming Sunday's New York Times Magazine, a Q & A with tax-cut guru Grover G. Norquist should not be overlooked. Norquist reveals that he is now working with John McCain, after calling him a 'nut-job" just three years ago, and in return McCain "reciprocates by sending at least one person to each of our Center-Right meetings."

Norquist now admits that labeling McCain a "gun-grabbing, tax-increasing Bolshevik" was "an overstatement." At the same 2005 College Republicans gathering he referred to McCain as "the nut-job from Arizona."

Asked why McCain once opposed Bush tax cuts but now favors making them permanent, Norquist explains, "He was unhappy about losing the presidential nomination in 2000. He was very mad at Bush. He was mad at me, too."

When Deborah Solomon asks, "You're saying he [McCain] opposed the tax cuts out of spite?" Norquist replies, "Out of understandable pique."

He also argues that the Iraq war has not hurt the economy and reveals that his mother was the town tax assessor in Weston, Mass. When Solomon complains that her children will have to pay for the current budget deficits, Norquist answers, "Oh, good, then my kids will be off the hook."

Norquist has no children.

After the 2005 "nut job" comment, Mark Salter, a senior adviser for McCain, issued a statement that said, "John McCain hasn't spent five seconds in his entire life thinking about Grover Norquist. He's not going to start now."

Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq.It has been hailed by our own Arianna, Bill Moyers, and Glenn Greenwald, and features a preface by Bruce Springsteen.