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. Pam

    He's McCain's campaign co-chair but he doesn't speak for McCain's campaign? How does that work?

    July 10, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. @HusseinIsAmerican2

    I wonder who speaks for John McShame?.........Bush, Lieberman?........because this man is losing his memory!!!!!

    McBush cannot tell who his economic adviser his from yesterday...DONT TRUST THIS MENTAL PATIENT WITH THE PRESIDENCY!!!!!!

    NOT THIS TIME!!!!

    ONLY A FOOL WILL VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. NW

    Good job my man.. McCaline, your campaign co-chair needs more counseling or a special training.. unqualifier.

    July 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. james, FLL

    HEY MCCAIN TELL YOUR PEOPLE THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN IS NOT IN OUR HEAD BUT IN OUR WALLET

    July 10, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. NW

    Really?? Not speaking for you but whom did he spoke for? Is it John McCline? lol...

    July 10, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. former GOP member

    McCain do you actly think that the people of the USA are stupid??? Do you think that you can say anything and we will say OK??? McCain you are a joke and your world is falling do around you…. And all your likeminded people.

    July 10, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Becky

    am sure he doesn't speak for him, that is why he is,national campaign co-chair for his campaign

    July 10, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Perla

    Thank you, Phil Gramm, for having a cranky moment of truth and giving us a good look into the economic policymaking of the McCain - need I say the McSAME - campaign. Consider your elite self outed, McSame.

    July 10, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian

    What I cannot understand is WHY PEOPLE ARE NOT DEMANDING THAT McCAIN DENOUNCE AND DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM GRAMM.

    If this was one of BARACK'S ADVISORS there would have IMMEDIATELY been DEMANDS RIGHT LEFT AND CENTER for BARACK TO FIRE THIS MAN! Why does the same principles NOT APPLY TO McCAIN?

    July 10, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. gop

    "america is a nation of whiners" .....what about our brave sons and daughters fighting overseas?are they whiners ,too?they are losing their homes and families to this economic crises ,too!and you want them to keep fighting for you,so, you dont want to give them well-deserved benefits,when they come home!shame!

    July 10, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. KE

    These are the blunders of the mind, or not. I don’t know this man.

    July 10, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Jason

    What do you mean he doesn't speak for you??? HE'S YOUR ECONOMIC ADVISOR!!!

    He was HIRED to speak for you and to write your economic policy! Not only hired, but he is the LEAD of your economic advisors. The LEAD of your economic advisory team, who DOES speak for you, just said that the recession is in our HEADS and we should stop WHINING!!!

    So the LEAD of your team for the BIGGEST issue concerning America today just told America to SHUT UP!?! This should be as big a story as Obama's pastor! This is McCain's LEAD ECONOMIC ADVISOR for crying out loud! He's the one who will be telling McCain all he needs to know about the economy since McCain has already admitted he doesn't know much!!!

    July 10, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. J. Dean Juno Beach, FL

    THIS OLD GRANDPA JOHN McCAIN, IS ALREADY PROVING THAT HE IS WORSE THAN DISASTER GEORGE BUSH.
    BEST ADVICE FOR OLD MAN JOHN McCAIN, JUST JOIN IDIOT GEORGE BUSH, WHO PUT AMERICAN IN CURRENT DISASTER, AND RETIRE WITH HIM ANYWHERE YOU LIKE.
    YOU BOTH DESERVE EACH OTHER. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY AMERICA CAN BE SAVED.

    July 10, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Peter E

    So, exactly what is Obama's plan then? So far the only thing I could gather about his solution to the economy is 'whine, whine, whine' and of course 'blame republicans.'

    July 10, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. J. Dean Juno Beach, FL

    TO CNN,
    I EXPECT YOU DO ACCEPT MY COMMENT LIKE ANY OTHER COMMENTS MAKE ON THIS SITE.
    OTHERWISE, PLEASE START MENTIONING THAT ALL COMMENTS WILL BE SELECTED AND APPROVED BY CNN.

    July 10, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Alison, FL

    Sure...but the Rethugs will tell you all day long that Rev. Wright speaks for Obama though...whatever! We know McShame is completely out of touch with the American people.

    July 10, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. J. Dean Juno Beach, FL

    TO CNN,
    WHATEVER WE WRITE IN THIS SECTION, CNN'S COMMENT IS
    "your comment is awaiting moderation".
    HA.........................

    July 10, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. Concerned Citizen

    John Mccain – I don't know much about the economy.

    Phil Graham – All the economic hardships (4 – soon 5 dollar gas) foreclorues, job loss, etc. It's all in the mind, Americans are delusional.

    And this is still a race?

    We deserve these guys, we might just have another 4-8 years of Bush!

    July 10, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. R.I.F.

    Your top economic adviser does not speak for you but Wes Clark speaks for Obama???

    July 10, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. rupert gringo

    What McCain meant to say is:

    Phil Gramm does not speak for me –
    George Bush does......

    July 10, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. Bob

    Here's what everyone's missing: Phil Gramm is right. We're not in a recession. The economy is flat. It happens. This generation knows nothing about hardship or sacrifice. These days, the instant something mildly adverse happens, everyone whines that the government should fix all of our problems.

    July 10, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. OHIO

    mcCaiNewsNetwork THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR #1 STORY ON YOUR WEBSITE.

    Why Did we have to dig through your website for this story?????

    If This was an Obama Campaign Comment this would have been BREAKING NEWS!

    July 10, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Amen Brian!

    "Nation of whiners" is clear!

    But, why is it that Wesley Clark speaks for Obama, yet Phil Gram (his economic advisor) does not???

    Clueless elitists! These guys have no idea what it is like to pay bills and try to put together a budget for your family.

    I am sure we can expect great represenatation from them!

    July 10, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. gop

    i think gramm was talking about upset hillary supporters.

    July 10, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. DELAWARE VOTES 2008

    McCAIN'S WIFE SPENDS MORE IN ONE MONTH THEN THE ADVERAGE FAMILY IN AMERICA MAKES IN A YEAR. HOW CAN YOU KNOW ABOUT A MONEY STRUGGLE IF YOU NEVER HAD ONE.

    July 10, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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