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. Dave, Milwaukee, WI

    Wow, overwhelmingly positive comments agreeing with him. I thought for sure my fat & stupid brothers and sisters would start complaining and whining. I'm glad to see my America stepping up and getting a clue. Although it probably just means the fat & stupid ones can't be bothered put down their Twinkies to type. That reminds me...where's my Ding Dongs?

    September 13, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Regina K. McMahon, Upper Darby, PA

    Finally, an honest politican! I never thought I'd come across a democrat that I'd ever vote for, but I think Mike Gravel would be the man!

    September 13, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. JKap, Schaumburg, IL

    I noticed that CNN left out Dennis Kucinich of its Yahoo Democratic Candidate Mashup coverage.

    Way to keep it "fair and balanced" CNN. I'm just about done with all Corporate Military Industrial Media.

    September 13, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Jim, Chicago, IL

    Of course, the comments are from elitest Democrats that agree with the elitest Gravel. "How else could we get Bush twice? Oh yeah, everyone around me is an idiot."
    If I may offer my own sweeping generalization, I'd say Americans are fatter and *crazier* than ever. See 9/11 troofers, etc.

    September 13, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Sherry, AllOver Texas

    Hey CNN, why is it that we can comment on ALL of the stories about Democrats on your ticker today, but not the ones featuring Republicans? What's up?

    September 13, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Dan, Atlanta, GA

    he is absolutely right. go to starbucks and look at the people in line and behind the counter. get on an airplane recently.

    I am no fan of democrats but I haven't heard such an honest statement in years

    September 13, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. David Lanier, Wake Forest, NC

    The Dems are the ones who betray us. They do not deserve to lead.

    September 13, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    When you elect Bush the second time and and 30% of the people still belive that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 attack, it is a clear indication that the people don't read and follow like robots what their party forced them to absorb. These people do not have a mind to think rationally. As far as obesity is concerned, its not their fault as a whole. The comapnies who sell and market high fat, high calorie content food are equally responsible. If these poor people can get their whole meal at less than $3, they are not going buy a healthy food at $10!

    September 13, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. RJ, AZ

    I wonder how many people posting here saying "Yea! He's right!" are going to go home after work today, bust out the pork rinds and suck on a six pack of beer while watching Sports Center?

    September 13, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. your mom, DC

    **grumble grumble i'm mike gravel and i criticize a lot but don't offer any decent solutions grumble grumble grumble**

    He's right- we ARE getting tubbier and tubbier. But why? Could it be that McDonald's and processed crap food are cheaper than healthy, good-for-you food, and most Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck? Could it be that the FDA has allowed the food industry to put unhealthy perservatives in our food? It's not as easy as dropping that bag of Cheetos- especially when they're cheaper than whole grains and fresh veggies.

    September 13, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Bob LaFavor, Woodinville, WA

    I just hope that we are NOT so dumb as to elect far left liberal Democrats who insist on NOT confronting the radical Islamic threat that is rapidly positioning to destroy the known civilized world and who insist on preserving the 'rights' of Americans to sink to such low moral levels as to entice radical Islamic terrorists to target those low moral Americans to rid the planet of the stench.

    September 13, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Nathan, New York, NY

    He's making the Mondale mistake. Pessimism makes for a loser politician. Politics is the selling of atitudes and ideas. Why did Reagan, Bush 1&2, and Clinton win votes? They smiled, gave an uplifting message, and were believable about it. People, en masse, aren't going to buy this guy's point of view or pay attention to him for too long.

    September 13, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Mac, Severn, Md

    Elementary and High schools are very busy teaching sex ed and sensitivity training to students. Geography classes probably have to be politically correct – focusing no doubt on undeveloped countries and the plight of their people, versus focusing on the bad, evil (sarcasm) USA. And colleges push classes on USA bashing and the study of the American "culture" (i.e., the music of Britney Spears, et al). Can't let kids play tag and other games on the playground – someone may get their feelings hurt. We have dumbed down our educational system and don't allow kids to play. Dumb and fat? Yep.

    September 13, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. CWW, Phoenix, AZ

    I like the honesty. People who take offense to this are probably fat, dumb or insecure. At least he is willing to tell the truth.

    September 13, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Ryan, New York, NY


    Posted By James, Phoenix AZ : September 13, 2007 3:55 pm

    Why don't you present the Republican side of every argument that you made in this post? If you had, you'd see that all those groups that you mentioned support Democrats over Republicans because, in comparison, they're still picking the lesser of two evils.

    September 13, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Ryan, Anchorage, AK

    Finally, someone willing to call a spade a spade.

    September 13, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. J. Finelli, San Diego, CA

    Kinda hard to dispute! I've witnessed the gradual "Dumbing of America" for years. As long as we find more ways to distract ourselves instead of concentrating on real issues, watching our wide-screen HDTVs instead of taking a walk every now and then and picking up a book instead of tuning in to ET or the latest TV-Gossip rags, this phenomenon will never change. We are getting EXACTLY what we are asking for!

    September 13, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Reed Rolai, El Paso, Texas

    Right on senator Gravel, you could not have said more eloquently. We need leaders with an actual brain in thier heads. We need someone in "Power" that will clean up this country and politicians that will enforce the laws.

    September 13, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Steve NY, NY

    So over the course of the last few decades, ordinary Americans have become dumber and fatter?? OK them Gravel...I'm waiting with anticipation for you to call for you to point the finger at our failed public school system which has failed at properly educating our children. And I'm also waiting for you to call for stronger enforcment of our borders. Such enforcement may help to put all these fast food resturants out of business when it makes food production more expensive.

    September 13, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. David Ware, Nouakchott, Mauritania

    Have to say, I agree 100%. This guy has the courage to say it. I will check the rest of his ideas now, and if he has some ideas how to change this tendancy, I'll vote for him.

    September 13, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Carl Las Vegas Nevada

    Sometimes the truth hurts

    Tough love..
    Now put down that dbl. cheeseburger and take your butt back to school...

    September 13, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Akira, Lincoln Ne

    And how much money does one need in order to get into office?? As soon as running for the White House becomes an "every mans" race then we’ll take responsibility for voting them there, until then – shut it. The only candidates we have to vote for are the ones that have the financial backing to get there. And so we go with the lesser of two evils.

    September 13, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. Jill, Detroit MI

    Thanks for that Mike. You just lost the nomination. Oh wait – you never had a chance anyways, loser!

    September 13, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Tre' Alington, TX

    To bad he is saying things like that about the same dumb, fat Americans that vote Democrate!!!

    September 13, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Jeremy Fayetteville, AR

    Is wise to alienate his constituency in that way?

    September 13, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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