July 10th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Gramm: 'What we need is more leadership and less whining'

Gramm told CNN he did not mean to suggest Americans are 'whiners.'

Gramm told CNN he did not mean to suggest Americans are 'whiners.'

(CNN) - Top McCain adviser Phil Gramm tells CNN that his most controversial comment about the economy in a recent interview has been misinterpreted.

The former Texas senator, who advises presumptive Republican nominee John McCain on economic matters, also said he had not been speaking for the campaign when he spoke to a Washington Times reporter. “I didn’t claim to be representing anyone except myself,” he said. Gramm called CNN from his cell phone before boarding a flight Thursday, to clarify his remarks.

Gramm said he that he was trying to say the nation’s leaders, not its people, were “whiners.”

“The whiners are the leaders, hell, the American people are victims, but it didn’t quite come out that way in the story,” Gramm said. These national and congressional leaders “blame speculators and oil companies for our problems, instead of presenting concrete programs for using energy more efficiently, or leaders who don’t think we can compete with Mexico.

“What we need is more leadership and less whining,” he added.

But he stood by his assessment that the country was in a “mental recession.”

“I said we are in a mental recession. We keep getting the steady drum beat of bad news…it’s become a mental recession,” said Gramm. “We don’t have measured negative growth. That’s a fact, that’s not a commentary.”

Asked whether he understood beforehand the kind of political impact his statements might have, he said this outraged reactions his remarks had drawn were just part of the “game” - anytime anyone says something, said Gramm, it can be “taken out of context.”

Filed under: John McCain • Phil Gramm
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Yeah! No greater whiner and dumb-tail than Gramm's precious George W. Bush!!!! He needs his "nu-nu"!!

    July 10, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Elly

    must be nice to have money like the do nothing congress and MCSame who dont have to worry about paying a morgage
    unfortuantely the average american would like the american dream dream too you two old fogies
    Especially MCSame who is bordering on dementia
    Come down to earth where the real people live and struggle you morons!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Jimmy P - Chicago

    To Obama-Junkie...

    Nice name, I'm sure you are probably a real junkie! You can't afford gas, sell you prius and take a bus with the rest of the Chicago trash.

    July 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Stephen H

    To: Scotty July 10th, 2008 2:00 pm ET

    What the heck does your comment about Obama have to do with this topic? It never fails that with each blog topic idiots somehow go out of their way to take a cheap shot at Obama. How about speaking to the topic at hand? Or does that pea size brain of yours allow you to involve yourself in rational critical thought? Save the Obama bashing for a topic that is at least somewhat related to Obama.

    Obama '08

    July 10, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. PUMA for Graham

    Right on, Graham. I see the light now.

    My candidate Hillary told me we are hurting ecomonically. But now that she lost, I am on your bandwagon now because I am no longer listening to what she wants me to do. I am ready and willing to sell-out my principles because its more important for people to pay attention to me.

    July 10, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Tom

    All you people who lost your homes due to forclosure, stop whining.
    All you people who lost your jobs due to outsourcing, stop whining.
    All you people who have to decide whether to feed your family or fill up the gas tank, stop whining.

    To the poster above yes stop whining! People lost there homes because THEY bought houses they can not afford...

    They lost jobs because we cost the most to hire in the world, and people buy items from overseas not only made in the USA..

    America has been driving HUGE cars for years and have had really cheap gas...

    SO YES STOP WHINING and do something about it, if you think Obama is going to fix any of this vote for him... If you think McCain can fix this vote for him its quite simple...

    Nader 08'

    July 10, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. THUPS

    this just proves what McCain has said earlier that HE DOES NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE ECONOMY.....well i guess paying $4.67 per gallon compared to $1.50 in 2001 is whinning for him.....paying $16 for a sack of flour instead of $6 last year is just a whinner for his advisor.......paying $20 instead of $9 last year just a whinner issue...

    July 10, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. YEA RIGHT!!

    Bob Stephens........ Phil Gramm is McSames chief economic adviser and the one that pushed the Enron loophole though congress. He is a big reason why you are paying over $4 a gallon. What a jerk……..
    THANK YOU !!!!
    Gramm told CNN he did not mean to suggest Americans are 'whiners.
    YEA Righ!!......You and McSame go to the POND and pitch pennies

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Pick me!! Pick me!!

    "we are in a mental recession."

    You might be but, I'm not. That is why I am NOT going to vote Republican this time around. However, I am a very bitter person.

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Linda, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Another rich elitist GOP hack who lives the cushy life thanks to we "whiners." These people are so out of touch it is scary.

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Jeronimo!

    For all their experience, they lack the most basic qualification to lead during a crisis.... Understanding! These guys should be selling motorized wheelchairs at the scooter store, not playing games with the the future and fortune of our children.

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. GOP/McSame backers where are you?

    Where are the elitist GOP backers on this blog today? Why are you all so cowardly like the stupid leaders you support? Its just Jan from Boca on here. Pls, dont dissapoint me McSame backers. I really want to know what you have to say to this???

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. captain

    Out of context?

    At first I was outraged that the chief economic adviser to John McCain could be this profoundly out of touch with ordinary Americans.

    Then I decided it was all in my head.

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. Watch Out!

    Hmm, I wonder how McCain's temper is going to take this blow to his campaign. Let's see those words fly John.

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Rob

    how about that the old man has an even older adviser–thats out of touch with reality..Take away his pension and fire him.you'll see he changes his tune very fast..time for this geezer to retire–FAST

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |

    Gramm and McCain need to take a course in Economic's 101.

    July 10, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Isaac

    How does John McCain surround himself with people that share nothing common with his views? Remember when his friend said that another attack on America would be good for McCain .... The response was that this is not the McCain view, now this & again not the McCain view.

    Well who in the campaign shares the same views as John McCain when his entire advisers do not have a single thing to say that he supports?

    Setting a trend there McSame

    July 10, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. GOP/McSame backers where are you?

    Where are the MCSame backers on this blog today? Its just Jan Boc and we all know who he is. McSame backers, I really want to know what you have to say about this???

    July 10, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. John

    Obama says Americans are making $1000 per year less now than they did before Bush took office?

    Wow. $2.74 per day less!

    This must be re-defined as a depression not a recession!

    Perhaps all you whiners should skip that Starbucks or that pack of cigs and you'd have that money back.

    Pitiful whiners.

    July 10, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Jeff Brown

    This man is like a bad penny, he turns up when you least want or need him!

    July 10, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    Well his comment was correct. We are not in a true recession, Calling it a mental recession is the more correct term. For those of you who think we are in a true recession, you do not understand the full meaning of the word. However the media has been doing nothing but telling us we're in a recession for so long that everyone thinks we are..that's what makes it a mental recession.

    As for the 'whiners ' part...I think he is right on both counts. We are a nation of whiners both a the top and the buttom. Our leaders do nothing but whine, what have they done to fix it? Also we do nothing but Whine. What have we done to fix it. We are the people, it's our job to ensure we select the correct people to get the job done. A few years ago we made the wrong decision and elected too many deme to office. They done NOTHING to stop us from reaching a recession...we are getting close and still they do nothing but Whine. It's time to kick them all out and start over. You want change...well change it all.

    July 10, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    CNN is too busy talking about Jessee Jackson wanting to cut Barack's "body parts" off , so there's no time to report such financial expertise as this on TV.

    When will they get some journalists and get rid of the talking heads that do re-runs 24/7 ?

    July 10, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    David from Ohio July 10th, 2008 2:37 pm ET

    I'm sure it's not a "mental" recession to someone who's lost their job or their house. Just another example of why you can't trust the Republicans and why they need to go back to what they're good at–minority party status.

    Because it's not a true recession, we only think it is...that's why it's a mental recession

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Tanvir

    The McCain campaign tried so hard to link Wesley Clark's comments to Obama using the "surrogate" reasoning, meanwhile Gramm is a legitimate member of McCain's team and is using the claim that he was just speaking for himself when making his now infamous "whining" remarks. Hypocrisy is always apropos in Washington.

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. just an observation

    There sure is a lot of whining on this board.

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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