September 14th, 2007
08:35 AM ET
9 years ago

Gravel to America: You're 'fatter and dumber'

Gravel had some frank words for the American people Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trying to be a "friend" to the American people, Democratic White House hopeful Mike Gravel gave his honest assessment to potential voters during an online Democratic candidate forum Thursday.

"I'm prepared to tell you that Americans are getting fatter and dumber," the former Alaska senator told comedian Bill Maher, one of the debate's moderators. "I have no problem saying that."

Maher asked a question to each of the eight Democratic candidates during the forum, which was sponsored by Slate, Yahoo! and the Huffington Post.

Maher told Gravel that obesity rates are up and reading levels are down and added that the "definition of a friend is someone who tells you the truth." Gravel replied that he was willing to be honest with the American people.

"I've also said that Americans are going to get the government they deserve," Gravel said. "And so if things are going bad, just remember who put these people in power."

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Mike Gravel
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. John - Abingdon, VA

    Now I understand how the Democrats took over congress.

    September 14, 2007 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  2. Sandy Freehold, NJ

    Those are some harsh words from Gravel. But in some ways yeah he's right. But that's how the republican party wants us i mean look who we elected in '04. A texan who can barely make a statement. I'm a college student and say with some certainty that not all americans are dumb.

    September 14, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  3. Joy, NYC, NY

    That's why we won't put him in power.

    September 14, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  4. Mike, Charlotte NC

    couldn't agree more....

    September 14, 2007 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  5. Ray

    Gravel is right. Too many Americans have become both physically and intellectually lazy. They have taken too much of what they are told by the marketing industry, partisan political hacks and pundits, and ostensibly objective and independent critics that are actually heavily invested in the viewpoint they are promoting to substitute for their own critical analysis of the facts. Their success has been duly noted by our Nation's current administration who has used the knowledge to control and influence public opinion. How else does one explain how voter's would tend to vote against their own self-interests? Had American voters relied on facts, qualifications, and background, not sound-bites and personality, our current President would have been home in Crawford cutting brush full-time. And rather than being bogged down in an unprovoked war in Iraq with straw dogs that we unleashed, the Country would be addressing the issues that still exist.

    September 14, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  6. Ed, Farmers Branch, Texas

    He should watch the movie Idiocracy.

    September 14, 2007 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. Richard Warner Robins, GA

    Thank-you a politician that actually knows how to tell the truth. Unfortunately, most people get offended when they hear the truth. To Sen. Gravel I say congratulations; you have set a historical precedent.

    September 14, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  8. J. Newberry, St. Louis MO

    This is not "rocket science". All you have to do is take a walk through your local WAL MART. Wide ends galore. And dumb? Well look who is president, twice. Lord have mercy on out poor country.

    September 14, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  9. Matt, Albany, GA

    He might not have a chance but he's right. And anyone who says "that's insulting" or "he hurt my feelings" needs to toughen up. When did we become such an emotionally tender nation?

    September 14, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Bravo! Americans love to be flattered, such as for helping that poor burned Iraqi boy while forgetting the war they approved of created the situation in the first place. Yet a third of us CHOOSE to ignore facts long known and continue to believe that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9-11, just as Bush and Cheney SO persistently (and falsely!) hammered into a public who knows EVERY detail about 'American Idol' etc. The 52 million morons who voted the THE moron back for a second term owe the rest of us and the world a heartfelt apology.

    September 14, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  11. Mike

    I know I'm certainly fatter & dumber.

    September 14, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. Joseph, Reston, Virginia

    I can't agree more... self-absorbed, lazy, always wanting immediate gratification. America is decaying.

    September 14, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. Danny, Des Moines, Iowa

    Did we REALLY put them there?

    September 14, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  14. Jim Lopardo Lansdale PA

    Damn straight. We have become a nation of morons, reflected primary in our choice of president (a man who can't form a coherent sentence on the fly), and by the fact there are still 30% in this country who thinks that waste of human breath has been anything but a train wreck and a complete disaster for this country.

    September 14, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  15. Mike Midlothian, TX

    How does someone "get" dumber? Must be a democrat ability. You do not "get" dumber. You can be educated to a lesser extent than someone else but someone doesn't just "get" dumber. They were that way to begin with. And I can see where Americans are getting fatter. When it takes two incomes per family to make ends meet each month (thanks to unregulated rise in costs of products that could be in abundance), and BOTH parties are tired from working all day, food will win in the effort to still have time to spend with the family. So all in all, the government (or lack thereof) has made us a nation of uneducated, hand-out junkies. Those that have the educated sense to see this though are the ones responsible for the cleanup. Where did individual responsibility go? I'm tired of working my tail off for some able bodied people to sit at home, popping out 3-8 kids and collect welfare, medicaid and foodstamps.

    September 14, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  16. Cynthia Fritzen Manlius NY 13104

    What a joke. Americans are not getting dumber-politicians we vote into office make us look dumb because they don't do what they promised during their campaigning. They get into office and "go with the flow" of a completely dysfunctional system that they are too gutless and lazy to do anything to change it.

    September 14, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  17. Gar Seigla, Georgetown, Ohio

    I see more Americans just plain tired of hearing the political antics. Every time I hear comments of this nature I believe it to be an exploit to draw attention to the political party and promote ones self interest. When a president is elected, align your interests, shut your mouth, and promote the will of the people who elected him. That goes for everyone.

    September 14, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  18. Stephen Crowley, Dallas TX

    I am glad someone is speaking truthfully for once. I am disgusted by fat people, and by the general increase in ignorance seen in this country. Not only is the divide between rich and poor increasing, but the divide between educated and uneducated as well.

    September 14, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. A.G., Denver, CO

    Everyone who's already commented is correct. The man speaks the plain truth, but unfortunately, as we've seen, speaking the truth is not what gets you elected...and certainly not votes. I mean, why would you vote for someone who insults you (by telling you the truth)?

    September 14, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  20. Brandon, Stamford CT

    He's certainly right people are fatter and dumber in the US. Britney Spears and McDonalds are more important than history and health.

    I like this guy!

    September 14, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  21. Mark - Dallas, TX

    Right On!!! It's about time someone let people here know they are lazy. This Dem might actually be worth voting for.

    September 14, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. John, New York

    dang... you gotta' admit gravel's right on the mark with what he said. BLunt, yes; but most definitely correct, and direct. He was asked to be honest, to the study and gave out a flat-out factual response. He continues to interest me.. he has no chance as a candidate, but he makes for an interesting, sincere (for real), practical, politician..

    September 14, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. Heather, Chicago, IL

    While I agree with former Senator Gravel's comments and appreciate (for once) honesty in a candidate, he certainly didn't come up with the notion of people getting the government they deserve. President Truman said the following in 1952:

    "Now, if you want to continue the country in its present greatly prosperous condition, vote for your own interests in November. You know, you the people are the Government. You have the say as to who shall be in power in all the offices which run the Government, from the city, the county, the State, and the Nation. And when you don't exercise your franchise you have got nobody to blame but yourselves when you get bad government. And you get just what you deserve."

    September 14, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  24. Dr. T

    The truth is what it is. Frankly, in the age of Britney Spears, we are ill prepared for the truth. Did I mention my kids are skinny and smart?

    September 14, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. LM, Ardmore, OK

    When a person says the American public is dumber than dirt and the people respond, as in this column, "yeah, yeah," do you think they recognize themselves? Fat chance.

    September 14, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
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