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. Independent

    Oh Yes he does McCain. You and your advisers have no clue about the economy. You yourself said so. John McCain is 50 steps heading backwards. People living in America are ready to move forward.
    Plus the majority of Americans rightly feel he is too old. Plus his wife has had a stroke before. They are not healthy enough for this job.

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. jean HUISSEIN

    BUT HE IS YOUR SENIOR FINANCE ADVISOR. SO TAKE THE HEAT OR CUT HIM OFF CAUSE THERE ARE LOT OF AMERICANS WHO ARE LOSING THEIR HOUSES.

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Larry, GA

    Is the McCain camp trying to lose the November election?

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Americans you are so dumb listening to crap like McShame and his people

    Really! Americans you are so dumb listening to crap like McShame and his people! How can you think that makes sense? Just imagine that McSame will not be in charge of everything in his administration per say, he will put people like Gramm in charge! Thats very scary!

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Lisa in Ga.

    Funny McCain is calling Obama ... Mr.No!

    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 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. jfs Memhis, Tn

    These comments are from McCain's Primary Economic Advisor !! I DOUBT that this words just came to Gramm....I strongly suspect that this very topic was discussed in staff meetings with McCain and PROBABLY within the same contexted as Sen. Gramm's comments. I saw McCain's response to Gramm's comments and facially it appeared that John had gotten caught......Gramm may take the hit....but... I'll bet the guilt lies with McCain.

    July 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. tom, boston

    then why do you call him "advisor" or something?

    you talk straight alright.

    July 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Tim,Seattle

    Great timing as Barack is on the stump in the Blue Collar voter states. Excellent.

    July 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. K.C. Orlando

    McCan't, and Mr. Whiner-Gate are OUT OF TOUCH. They are ones who think people are having a hard time. REALITY CHECK McCan't and Mr. Whiner-Gate help create the morgage crisis through lobbying.

    July 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Ilona,PA

    Phil Gramm does not speak for you John McCain? But your campaign was very quick to say that general Clark speaks for Obama and demanding that he should apologize for his words. Why Gramm is not required to apologize to American people for his insulting comment? Are you going listen to Mr. Gramm advice on economy in future as you yourself have no clue about it?

    July 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Thomas, Illinois

    McCain? Who you trying to kid? Gramm doesn't " speak for me", Right!!

    July 10, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. David Peter

    If he doesn't speak for you, then fire him from your campaign. I feel insulted.

    July 10, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. mitchell martin

    DR,NO MORE "WHINING!",just an all out FIGHT to take our country back,you jerk!

    July 10, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Ricky

    Sounds like McCain just said "I did not have advice from that top economic adviser...Mr. Gramm." Too bad the rust stain on his blue suit from the "Phil Gramm for President '96" button is still there.
    McCain chaired Gramm's bid for the White House. He made him his chief economic adviser, and held Gramm up as the expert who would compensate for his own lack of expertise.

    July 10, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. andrew s

    'Phil Gramm does not speak for you, but he is your brain regarding economic policies. so if you john mcsane have no i idea about economic issue and your advicer is out of touch with the americans people. why should we elect you as president in an economic crisis? that one reason why obama have my vote. obama 08

    July 10, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    Why print any thing from anybody from Texas?! There is an obvious brain drain there...

    July 10, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Norma

    McCain is thinking the same thing.

    July 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. John in Binghamton NY

    This guy is your economic advisor and he doesn't speak for you?

    So your economic plan is the same as Bush's. If you do not have rich oil daddy or beer queen to pay your bills then shut your face and stop whining.

    The fact that your gas and food bills have tripled and your par has not is all in your head. Idiot!!!! Why would anyone vote for the GOP???

    July 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Mary

    McCain, this is your economic advisor!!!

    You already admitted that you don’t know about the economy. So if you don’t know about the economy then I believe the person who is advising you is Phil Gramm, your economic advisor. Right?

    McCain, can you please tell America which are the days you apply your straight talk because all I have seen lately is no talk, double talk, misspoke…….

    July 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Obama / Clinton 2008

    McYoda is truly a mess.

    Just to get even, Barack needs to rally his supporters for donations over this remark. McCain put up a picture of Wesley Clark and Barack Obama to do the same thing last week. Even though Barack rejected Clark's comment, it didn't stop McCain from whining about it.

    July 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Phil Gramm doesn't speak for McCain but surely Rev. Wright speaks for Obama, right Republicans?

    July 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Big Boy - NJ

    loooosssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrssssssss......take responsibility for those you appointed to your campaign.

    July 10, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Chris from Fargo

    Sooo... McCain's Campaign Co-Chair doesn't speak for him...
    Is there anybody in McCain's staff that speaks for McCain? You'd think if anybody had the right to voice the views and policies of his campaign it would be his Campaign Co-Chair.

    If he can't even pick good people for his campaign staff, how will this man select a cabinet? How will he appoint qualified judges? Those aren't precisely things you get a 'do over' on. One of the most important parts of being a leader is the ability to appoint reliable subordinates. Not so impressed with McCain so far.

    July 10, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Esther

    Hey elitists McSame and Phil and Bushes, shut up and let America speak! Watch as america takes back America, crazy old mentally recessed elitists! How many people will you say dont speak for you when they actually speak for and to you? 1st Black, now Phil, and the train goes on and on. Make sure you fire this one for sure, McShame!

    July 10, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. faithsem

    If his national campaign co-chair Phil Gramm Thursday, telling reporters “Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me.” ...then the question becomes...why IS he the national campain co-chair???

    The man needs to get it together....and soon....find someone to run his campaign...or better yet leave him in...just goes to show why Sen Obama should be President...YES WE CAN...NO YOU CAN't Sen McCain....this is coming from a disable Vietnam Female Vet!

    July 10, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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