September 14th, 2007
08:35 AM ET
8 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. Rick, Baltimore, MD

    Indeed.... I'll have another Twinkie and get back to my Playstation now!

    September 14, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Mike, Gaithersburg, Maryland

    Actually, Connie, I could not agree with your more. Though in my case, as well as many others hopefully, I would never give up any sort of liberty just for a little added security.

    September 14, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. gary, charleston, sc

    Beautiful! Unfortunatley, we have become so stultified as a society we will run him out because his words are true and hit like a blunt instrument.

    September 14, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Abby M, Gainesville, FL

    I love that movie Idiocracy. Unfortunately, that is what our country is actually becoming.

    The movie, supposed to be a comedy, is prescient. If you haven't seen it, rent it or watch it.

    It'll shock you, because you'll see our current culture in it.

    September 14, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Patrick, LA, CA

    Everyone knows he is speaking the truth except those who are too dumb to get it. Sadly, most people are too wrapped up in their myopic little lives; they just want the adults to be in charge so they can play at life. Trouble is, there are no adults in charge, here or anywhere else...

    So is it any surprise we have a government that takes advantage of and hurts its own people? Gore said it in one of the debates with W "If you want corporations in control of your lives there's your man" and that's who took the presidency, twice. Clearly, there are more oblivious idiots in America than smart people.

    September 14, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. KC, garland, tx

    We are not fatter. We are not dumber. Our politicians treat us like we are dumber. Our politicians want us fatter because then it will be harder to throw the bums out. I have been listening to these fat cat politicians for thirty years and we have been getting fatter and dumber to them, all of this time. If it was true, then Sumo wrestling would be Americans number one past time. In fact, most Sumo's types would be migrating to America so they would look thin.
    You know, its time we fire all of the bums.

    September 14, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. RH, Raleigh NC

    When will Americans grow up and stop making excuses to rationalize their poor choices? We are a fast-food society, not just in the foods we eat but what we feed our minds. Continue voting for the same career politicians who make empty promises and continue to waste your tax money on ineffective policies. You only have yourselves to blame as the country further declines. WE ARE NOT THE #1 NATION ON THE EARTH. Telling yourselves this over and over does not make it true – it only perpetuates the "feel good" mentality of this nation. WAKE UP AMERICA.

    September 14, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. Adam Morgan, Vancvouer, WA

    He is completely correct. Unfortunately, what Americans want in a friend is not someone who will tell them the truth, they want someone who will tell them what they want to hear in a way that leaves them in the dark as to all the lies. Gravel is being blunt, and that is exactly what America needs. You do some digging around Social websites like Myspace, etc, and you see comments next to "Favorite Books:" like: "Books are boring", "Why read when there is TV?", "No time to read, to many shows to watch" and many more just like that. It is really sad how pathetic we have become as a nation. I am a republican, but I agree completely with Gravel here because he is right. We are getting fatter and dumber and the ONLY way we are going to get out of that is to recognize it and admit it to ourselves and then begin the long, hard road back to where we should be.

    September 14, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Stephen, Sacramento CA

    Gravel is essentially saying I'm thinner and smarter than the average American; therefore, I should be trusted because I know better.

    Its true, Americans like to eat flavored garbage, avoid physical work, and would rather watch TV and talk on the cell phone than read. I think its also true that Gravel is probably a narcissist.

    September 14, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    I hear ya, Mikey! It's unfortunate, however, that a majority of American's are fatties, which now means you cannot get the nomination. And, some of those fatties count as two or three people–so that's quite a few votes you're missing out on.

    I'd vote for you IF you were the only honest candidate in the race, which would usually be the case. Fortunately, Ron Paul is also running, and thus we are blessed with two great choices (instead of the usual none). If not for Ron, you'd have my vote.

    September 14, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Chris, CT

    Well, some Americans elected this guy to office, so I guess that proves the "dumber" part of his comment.

    September 14, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Pete, Easton, PA

    For all you uninformed "Dumb" people who claim to know nothing about him as a reason to not vote for him. Or for those who claim he criticizes without solutions. why dont you check out his site and educate yourselves. He has good views, good plans and can lead us out of the gutter of corruption and campaign finance reforms.
    For the person who wonder why he always looks and sounds mad. Its because he is frustrated at the AMERICAN people for falling for the lies every four years. He is passionate about changing what the political culture has become. Add to the fact that he doesnt get much time to answer questions he would rather get a sound bite in then nothing at all. WAKE UP AMERICA. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK OBAMA or CLINTON is the ANSWER!!!!???? Look at all the money they raised. That means they are already committed to lobbyists and special intrests. Which means nothing will change. Or if it does it will be in their interests NOT YOURS!

    September 14, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Nancy, Fort Knox, KY

    If the government did their job by keeping food manufacturers from putting additives in the food we eat, obesity rates would not be rising in America. Gravel stated "Just remember who put these people in power." I know I did not vote for Bush. The Americans that did vote for Bush got the people they wanted and they are to blame for Bush being in power. As for voting for someone that says Americans are getting dumber, I know I am not going to vote for Mike Gravel for President. He can sit there and say that Americans are fatter and dumber, but what is he or any other politician doing about it? Nothing! In addition, Bush should not be forcing Democracy on Iraq when with Democracy America got the bad end of the stick on the last presidental election.

    September 14, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Georgina Smithson, Dallas, TX

    The comments sound rude but true. Let's contemplate ... we need to change ourselves and love ourselves more by avoiding unhealthy lifestyle. To much indulgence and conspicuous consumption. Lazy eating habits with all of those out of proportion serving size of fries and other fatty food will just kill the Americans and make us sluggish. This is a suicidal act and our society should take positive actions to mitigate this negative trend. Surely, we don't want the slender stylish French people look like the Swans and we look like ... upps! Get up and jog ....

    September 14, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Steve, Denver CO

    Well, nearly every one of the comments on this page kind of makes Mr. Gravel's point. Spelling errors, poor grammar, childish finger pointing...the list continues.
    I, however, am insulted by these comments, and am of the opinion that anyone who is seriously considering holding the highest office in the country, should take a moment to consider his answer to a question like that before he summarily dismisses the intellectual capabilities of the nation he "serves". These fat, dumb Americans voted for YOU, sir, and aren't likely to do it again if you continue to verbally abuse them.
    In addition, I think its somewhat amusing that's readers somehow turn these comments into yet another opportunity to bash not only the current president, but the country that affords them the freedom to be fat and stupid.
    Wake up America, you've all been insulted by someone who represents "the people's party", and instead of defending yourselves, you roll over like a bunch of cowards!

    September 14, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Max, Dallas, TX

    I don't care if he gets elected. He said it. IT IS NOT A LIE! That's awesome!

    September 14, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. James, NY, NY

    Who? Like this guy was ever a serious candidate to begin with...the only people who are fat and dumb are those who watching Bill Maher's garbage program and the 5 people who contributed to this guys bogus campaign. The problem with this country isn't it's citizenry. It's the pretentious hacks like Maher who think they're better than everyone else.

    September 14, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. Mark C., Pawleys Island, S.C.

    I absolutely agree! I have a business that deals with a broad section of ages, races, genders, education and economic backgrounds everyday. It is disturbing how "fat and dumb" we are truly becoming. Most of all it is really sad to see the condition that children are in. Gravel nails this one on the head.

    September 14, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Martin Lachhmanen, Accokeek, MD

    He is absolutely correct. Americans are not only dumb, but a very high percentage of Americans are illiterate and politicians are keenly aware of this. That's why politicans take advantage of this segment of the populace because they are naive, gullible and can't think for themselves.

    What we really need to do is vote these bums out office and have a fresh start. But I'm afraid that will not happen because a significant number of Americans are too stupid to separate facts from fiction.

    September 14, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Daniel, Tucson, AZ

    Seems to me, modern American is what happens when nature doesn't cull the weak, mentally inept and fat out of society. But then again, that's a little harsh. Personally I'd rather just complain about fat and dumb people. The children I hope I'll never have will have to deal with the whirlwind in 50 years, not me. =)

    September 14, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Chris Miami, FL

    Someone said he should not insult friends by calling them "fat and dumb." It's not an insult, it's the only way to get the point across. "Obese, corpulent, illiterate, unlettered" nicer words but probably over the head of most Americans, including the President they elected.

    September 14, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Linda - Albany, NY

    How do you argue the truth of those words. I hate to admit it, but the man is right!

    September 14, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. nancyaument

    Why when this stuff is posted that so many people make this a political game; that the reason people are fat and dumb is the Republicans fault!?! People, take responsibility for your own lives! It's not your elected official's problem. We have choices to make and tons of freedoms and privileges in this country to help us be smarter and fitter. We're just not using them. Go to the library and take a walk!

    September 14, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. John, Warwick RI


    Leave my mother-in-law out of this.
    She doesn't even vote!

    September 14, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Jenny Memphis TN

    Mike Gravel is right . The level of education is going down and what used to be considered overweight is now regular size.....this man should be heard more on Tv and radio. TRUE this country is going down the drain.... wake up

    September 14, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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