July 10th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
6 years ago

McCain adviser: Nation suffering from a 'mental recession'

Gramm is a top economic adviser to McCain.
Gramm is a top economic adviser to McCain.

(CNN) - Democrats blasted former Senator Phil Gramm, a top McCain economic adviser and campaign co-chairman, Thursday for saying Americans who have named the economy as a top concern this campaign cycle were “a nation of whiners.”

“Senator McCain said the economic problems facing Americans are psychological - now his top economic adviser and BFF, Phil Gramm said Americans facing tough economic are ‘whiners,’” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse in a statement sent to reporters.

McCain's campaign moved to distance itself from Gramm's comments. “Phil Gramm’s comments are not representative of John McCain’s views. John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they’ll pay their mortgage," said a McCain official. "That’s why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”

Gramm’s comments came in a Washington Times interview published Thursday. "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," said the former Texas senator.

"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession."

Gramm also said the media was responsible for fostering unnecessary anxiety over the state of the economy. "Misery sells newspapers,” he said. “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

Democrats have been looking to portray John McCain as out-of-touch on the economy, as he and Democrat Barack Obama battle over working-class voters, who have named the economy as their biggest worry this year.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (365 Responses)
  1. Bendo

    follow up: Graham is a advisor to JM....so he is representing his campaign even though JM is distancing itself from the comment...again have your people say something then the candidate distances himself from the comment....these are the kind of poepl "advising" JM....if so.....welcome President Obama to 1600 Penn. Ave. Jan 20th 2009!

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. JJ

    Jan, are you serious?? Get a grip!
    Gramm is dead wrong. How dare he say this nation is full of whiners and that it's the media's fault "for fostering unnecessary anxiety over the state of the economy." LOOK AROUND! WE HAVE $4 GAS! That's the media's fault????? Unemployment rates have risen and that's the media's fault??? This is coming from a team that their candidate didn't even know how much gas was!! Who is an elitist now???

    Talk about being out of touch!

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Johnny Mac is bad cheese gone worse

    Can't get anymore out of touch than that! I see ... This is all in our heads. Alrighty then. I guess when you are married to a beer heiress and happen to have seven homes you can say that Social Security is a disgrace (Grampy's words, not mine), too.

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Mike

    McShame, McFossil is running the most haphazard campaign in history. I am completely outraged over this statement that the American people are a bunch of whiners. It is so evident that McCain is completely out of touch with Americans when it comes to the economy...not only has he said the economic problems are mental but he said that he doesn't understand the economy.

    America, we can not allow 4 more years of this type of policy for love of war and not love of our US economy. We have to get back on the right path in this great country and clearly McCain is not the right person for this job because he is not even able to run an effective campaign.

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Tiffany

    What's sad is this was said after meeting many people who are struggling. How out of touch can this man be??? Look at the facts!

    Another reason to vote Obama!

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. karen-phoenix

    He's toooo old and out of touch!!!!

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. American

    Americans DO NOT want a President or his staff to consider us whiners...send this out of touch elitist and his rich plastic wife back to the senate....Say no to McFlip Flop *Tired of the Bush Years & We dont want the McBush years*

    OBAMA'08

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Linda. Boston, MA

    Yeah, your house isn't really being foreclosed, you just THINK it is.

    And quit whining about it costing you $50 to fill up your gas tank. $50 is not a lot of money when you make several million a year, and pretty much most people are millionaires. I don't see what the fuss is about.

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Liz F

    just how out of touch do these people need to show themselves to be, before the country realizes that mccain is not the answer?
    do we really want to elect a president whose closest advisors hold ideas that americans are "whiners"?
    what kind of policies can we expect from that mindset?
    nothing.

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. John Anthony Castro

    What's wrong with what he said? Doesn't everyone own oil wells and have million dollar trust funds? Stop complaining and buy a bike to get to work you peasants.

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Justin (ny)

    For those of you thinking about voting for McCain – are these the kinds of people you want to get us out of this economic RECESSION? Do they represent your values and needs? Cindy McCain, John McCains wife, used two credit cards to charge 1.5 MILLION dollars worth of stuff LAST MONTH alone... How can they relate to the pain and suffering we're experiencing as normal (read – not rich) citizens?

    July 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. s

    Sounds like "Let them eat cake." all over again! Either they're clueless (I doubt it.) or just don't give a hoot about those less fortunate. Get and keep these bums out of office.

    July 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Brian Phoenix AZ

    Say what? Has this old fool looked at the stock market lately? Looked at home foreclosures? Looked at lost jobs? And he says the ecomony is "not as bad as you read in the newspapers today".
    No, it's not...It's worse! Great choice of an economic advisor, John.
    Just another reason not to vote for you....

    July 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. RJ, CA

    Graham is totally correct. The Liberals are ALWAYS the first to complain about and put America down - and the first to jump ship when the going gets tough. Their cup is always half-empty rather than half-full - and they're the first in line for a hand-out rather than working hard for what they want. For the Liberals, America - the "shining city on the hill," as Reagan used to call it - is always the "worst" country in the world. America – love it or leave it!

    ANNOY THE LIBERALS
    Work - succeed - be happy!

    July 10, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    picture caption: "Well, lookey here, my great-grandkids have one of these here newfangled contraptions, i do believe they call it a...com-pooter. What's wrong with the IBM Selectric, my secretary tells me mine still works great! Why in tarnation would you need all those bells & whistles, like email and the internets, the whiners just use those things for their sinning, like por-nah-graphy!!"

    July 10, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. ryand.

    ELITISM at its WORST, people.

    If Obama's people said anything CLOSE to this we'd hear about it for months.

    Obama 08'

    July 10, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Tejano

    He is right. People who are willing to work are employed. 94% of them are employed. 90% pay their mortgage on time. The media creates this artificial downside every election cycle. They started the badmouthing of the economy 2 years ago to help the Democrats

    July 10, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Bob

    When you are a white multimillionaire and don't have to worry about the price of anything, I guess you would think that way.

    July 10, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. randy

    We dont need to make john macain a flip floper,because that is who he is.

    July 10, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. jcain

    Yes, Jan.... absolutely right. Which is why our US dollar is at an all time low in relation to other currencies. Maybe you're not feeling it down in good old Boca Raton where, according to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $66,052, and the median income for a family was $90,725. Not to mention that you've got some of the most expensive gated communities in the country.

    Open your eyes... our money today doesn't go as far as it once did because the price of oil is at record levels, which affects EVERYthing in our economy. Your own PERSONAL view of the economy really doesn't matter because you can't see past the golden gate in front of your house.

    July 10, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Pat

    Well sure, the recession is all in your head if you are a millionaire!

    July 10, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Andres

    how out of touch.

    July 10, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Lorna, NY

    "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," said the former Texas senator.

    So I should not whine when i can't afford to fill my gas tank to go to work....I should not whine that I cannot afford to feed my family....I should not whine when The McCains can carry $700,000 debt on their credit cards.....I should just sit and not complain....

    I will do my duty as a US Citizen and cast my vote in November. it is funny, the ones calling the US people whiners are the people who are millionaires and will never understand what it means to decide between food or medicine.

    July 10, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Tammy - KCMO

    The persons saying this are the people that aren't going home worrying about the price of gas at $4+ a gallon, putting food on the table or worrying about if their job will still be there tomorrow.
    We would all like to have that luxury. Unfortunately only the elitists in the Republican party can say that.
    Just more proof that McCain and the Republicans have no clue on what is important to the people they work for. Totally clueless when it comes to the economy which is why I and others will be voting for Obama.

    July 10, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Leslie

    Wow a mental recession? Are you kidding me? I can't believe people are actually planning on voting for this man. The recession is real, you idiot. What a disgrace.

    July 10, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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