July 10th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain: 'Phil Gramm does not speak for me'

BELLEVILLE, Michigan (CNN) –- John McCain forcefully repudiated comments by his national campaign co-chair Phil Gramm Thursday, telling reporters, “Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me.”

Gramm had said in a newspaper interview that the country is merely in a “mental recession,” and called America a “nation of whiners” when it comes to the slumping economy.

Campaigning in the economically lagging state of Michigan – which suffers from has the highest unemployment rate in the nation – McCain held a press conference and quickly disavowed Gramm’s remarks.

“I don’t agree with Sen. Gramm,” McCain said. “I believe that the person here in Michigan that just lost his job isn’t suffering a mental recession. I believe the mother here in Michigan and around America who is trying to get enough money to educate their children isn’t whining.”

“Phil Gramm does not speak for me,” he said. “I speak for me.”

Democrats immediately seized on Gramm’s comments. Barack Obama, attacked both McCain and Gramm at a campaign event in Virginia, saying: “America already has one Dr. Phil. We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy.”

McCain responded to those comments with another pop culture reference which has become one of his favorite lines on the stump.

“He is Dr. No,” McCain said of Obama, before listing a series of energy policy proposals, such as expanding nuclear energy and offshore drilling, that the Illinois senator has opposed.


Filed under: John McCain • Phil Gramm
soundoff (384 Responses)
  1. Teddy California

    Economically speaking, Dr. Phil Gramm was right. Recession was usually caused by psychological factors. The unemployment rate is only 5.5%. But when the economy is not doing well, other 94.5% with jobs will cut spending too. The election also makes things worse. Food and energy prices are going up. That is true. But for most people, food and energy expenses are only small parts of their expenses.

    But Dr. Gramm was a long time Senate. He should know better he could not say this. It is politically incorrect.

    July 10, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    aware:
    The difference is, that many of us ARE bitter, which means that Obama was at least partly correct.

    But do you think that we ARE a nation of whiners? Well, do you???

    July 10, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Erin in Edmonds WA

    aware: John McCain is a fraud (Keating 5–and likely more we don't yet know about), a liar and a misogynist. He requires an earpiece with Leiberman not too far behind to tell him what to say.

    Let's not think of the election as Obama or McCain, it is simply democrats vs. republicans. The way some republican seats–even on a state level are being tossed out in favor of democrats, It's unlikely a rebublican will be elected to the white house again–no matter how many times you and your neocon friends on these posts try to tear down Obama/democrats. The numbers–and the concerns of the American people, are not favoring republicans, so save yourself a visit to the ER when you run yourself out of oxygen.

    July 10, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Luke

    Think about it PUMA people. Think about how stupid McCain and his campaign are. Think about the dreadful military actions he will take, the horrible supreme court appointments he will make. If you just stop and think, without anger, you will realize that Obama is the right person for the job. It's too bad that Hillary lost, but in Obama vs. McCain, Obama is the right choice for the country.

    July 10, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. Foreign observer

    We should believe it when McCain distances from Gramm. But there are many Gramms all around the GOP. McCain can´t stay always a maverick so he has to listen to his party !

    July 10, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. spinmonkey

    These comments confirm that this is a nation of whiners.

    July 10, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Caycee July 10th, 2008 4:53 pm ET

    Well, there goes Phil Gramm under "the straight talk bus".
    -----------------------------
    Yeah, just like Weird Al's hit: "Another One Rides The Bus!" :)

    July 10, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. mitchell martin

    uummmmhh.......he just did.

    July 10, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. mitchell martin

    WELL,HE AIN'T SPEAKING FOR OBAMA ,LIMP NOODLE!

    July 10, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. jimmy velman

    ALL THE POLITICAL POSTURING ,CAMPAIGNING ARE NOT WORTH A CUP OF BEANS ,WHEN THE IRANIANS ARE LAUNCHING MISSILES AND DEFIANTLY RUSHING HEADLONG ON ARMING THEIR MISSILES WITH NUKE WARHEADS.. IT APPEARS TO US THAT IT IS THE ELEVENTH HOUR AND ACTION
    MUST SOON REPLACE DIPLOMACY AS THE ONLY WAY TO STOP IRAN FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY WHICH MEANS
    IT IS WELL NIGH INTO MIDNITE AND MINUTES ARE TICKING AWAY
    FROM OUR ADVANTAGES AGAINST A COMPLETE AND OVERWHELMING VICTORY IN AN INEVITABLE WAR WITH IRAN
    WHEN ARE WE GOING TO REALIZE THAT IRAN WILL NOT YIELD TO ALL THE SANCTIONS THAT EUROPE AND THE U.S. CAN MUSTER AGAINST IT. THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT AMEIRCA AND ISRAEL WILL START A WAR AND RISK GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISES FROM THE OIL; SHORTAGES THAT WILL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW ANY MILITARY ACTION. ARE OUR HANDS TIED DOWN WITH THIS THREAT FROM THE IRANIANS...THE IMMEDIATE BLOCKING OF THE HORMUZ STRAITS?

    July 10, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Jim

    Yeah, well, Obama can mock all of the "whiners" as much as he wants, but he is one of the policy-makers, and those are the ones who are supposed to debate and legislate the country out of this near-recession that we are in. Oil prices, housing/mortgages, weak dollar, budget deficits, national debt, negative balance of trade, energy deficiencies all make up the increasingly dismal economy that we are experiencing, and if Obama – or George Bush or John McCain or Nancy Pelosi or the other 99 senators and the 435 representatives – are not part of the solution then they are definitely part of the problem. Since we have had no real solutions to lead us out of these trying times, then we can only presume that these authority figures can't get the job done. I guess we have to vote for either Obama or McCain, but I certainly don't see any pots of gold anywhere, not to mention not seeing even a rainbow for that matter. At no time in our history, even during recent elections, has it been more appropriate to say: "it is the economy, stupid." That pronoun includes all of the above!

    July 10, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Jason L

    Where in the Constitution does it say that a person to be elected as President need to have foreign policy experience? Where does it say you have to have ANY experience at all to be President of the United States? Last time I checked the Constitution, it reads that a person ONLY has to be 35 years of age or older and have been born in the U.S... There should be a cap on how old someone is who can run. He'd be put out to pasture as a corporate CEO. Seems to me that McCain wasn't born in the U.S., but on a ship in the Panama Canal. So I guess his money is from where, his wife? His oil buddies, Cheney and Halliburton? Being older doesn't mean your right, he needs to be steadied by Cindy everytime he walks down stair or steps, just watch videos of him, he is feable and weak!

    aware.. McCain has no goals and outdated priniciples. He constantly refers to himself as being a Reagan soldier, which the last time I heard the Reagan presidency was full of holes, lies and scandals. Anyone remember Iran-Contra? Anyone remember the Keating 5, in which McCain was fully involved in, and probably bought his way out of trouble. A McCain presidency is a ticket for WW3 and America soon to be a 3rd world nation! McCain has a lot of anger built up from his time as a POW and he has a itchy trigger finger..

    July 10, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Ludovic

    How many people are we going to collect under the bus come november ?
    This political season is amazing!

    July 10, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. smile!!!!

    another reason to start donating our HARD EARNED money to Mr. Obama´s campaign....we will beat the repuhnants with our dollars and cents not LOBBYISTS and independent groups money....mc cheek created the loophole in his own campaign finance bill and is using it right now.

    we the whiners in the U.S. of A. are UNITED

    July 10, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Steve

    Okay.. we'll see what happens to our country when you elect Obama. See how you complain about the economy, taxes, job losses, and handouts to those from other countries and those that don't want to work! For 7 years the economy has been GREAT. Funny, now that we have a democratic congress in place ...the statistics speak for themselves. You dont know how good you have it but just wait!

    July 10, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. Foreign observer

    Gramm forgot that the rich don´t belong to the whiners. So it´s only 95 % of the US whom he adresses.

    July 10, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. mitchell martin

    cnn -why do you post the comments that someone is making under my name,but,not posting comments that I actually make myself?are you manipulating my comments yourself or is this the work of some republican,manipulating the blog?

    July 10, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. DJ, LA, CA

    Why did McCain have Gramm on his staff considering [b]Gramm's wife was on Enron's board of directors[/b]...plus while on McCain's staff was [b]paid as a lobbyist to promote predatory lending practices[/b].

    July 10, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Duckula

    Sorry, it's not all in my head. And it's not my fault either (sorry you Republicants can't blame the victim)...the area where I live has been loosing jobs and its overall economy since 2001 (coincidence?). No one I know has lost their house due to over-borrowing. Those who could actually afford it (not many of us) made wise decisions. Guess what, we're still paying too much for milk, gas, and everything else.

    I had more job security and higher wages in 1999 ...and now I have 10 more years of experience in my profession and it's even harder to find a job that lasts longer than a few months.

    It's the economy stupid...and it's not in our imagination.

    John McCain's new catchphrase: "let them have beer"

    July 10, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Patriot Patrick of Houston

    Wow! John McMonger admits he knows nothing about the economy. Now his top economic adviser proves to be an elitist idiot so McBush distances himself.... so who would balance the budget???

    July 10, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. mitchell martin

    the guy posing as me is a republican plant sent here by mccain to manipulate the blogs.he has done this for two days ,now,and i think he is really ARB,so i recommend people use an anonymous name on this blog.there are stalkers out there.from now on comments by mitchell martin will not belong to me.thank you cnn ,for letting people comment false remarks on folks good name.from now on you can recognize my comments by the new name anonymous.

    July 10, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Larry Buchas

    Senator McCain,

    Just remember (if Phil Gramm remains on your staff).....

    "This Nation of Whiners will be heading to the election booths." We won't forget!

    July 10, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. TRUTH

    Lisa's comments worth repeating:

    McCain is…..Mr.Yes

    Yes……………..to war!

    Yes………………to lobbying!

    Yes………………..to everything Bush wants!

    Yes………………….. to the Keating 5.

    Yes………………………..to taking away women's rights!

    Yes……………………………..to not giving Veterans more when they have earned it!..

    But this election.. the people are syaing nooooooooooooooo to McBush!

    July 10, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Nia - Phoenix, AZ

    Suuurree he doesn't wink, wink...

    July 10, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. former GOP member

    Why is it that everyone who doesn’t speck for McCain is on his payroll help him write policy??? Why! And then McCain acts like he doesn’t know what is going on in his own camp? Is this a case of McCain aging brain or just him kicking himself in the azz because everyone around him is showing his and their true colors?

    July 10, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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