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. Not a Size 2, Provo UT

    When I think of the word "fatter," here's what comes to MY mind:

    Dick Cheney
    Newt Gingrich
    Dennis Hastert
    Henry Hyde
    Rush Limbaugh
    Karl Rove

    and DUMBER? G.W. Bush. By leaps and bounds EVERY BLESSED DAY.
    One would think that someone as "truthy" as Gravel would come up with a better way to deliver his message; because as much as I (a plus-size CORRECT-thinking person who NEVER voted for the First Nitwit and NEVER drank an ounce of the kool-aid) admire Gravel's honesty.....his method just isn't cutting it.

    September 13, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Oliver, Mission Viejo, CA

    I agree with his statement, especially when he said that "Americans are going to get the government they deserve." This is a more important reason why we should exercise our right to vote as educated Independents. Forget about voting Republican or Democrat. Neither party nor their candidates have not even slightly convinced me that they are fully capable to lead this country over the next 4 years.

    Millions of dollars are spent by large corporations to lobby for legislation that benefit their businesses. Unfortunately, politicians seem to only listen to those who will fund their campaigns. Forget about the hardworking American citizens! Very few of them exercise their right to vote anyway!

    September 13, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Could this be intentional?

    September 13, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Angus, Ridgecrest, CA

    The comments on here further attest to the dumber part. Asking Mike Gravel what his solution is to America being dumber and fatter? HELLO! Nobody forced that Twinkie down your throat! Nobody strapped you to the couch to watch TV and play Nintendo! What do you want, government-funded liposuction every five years?

    To those commenting on the Bush election as proof of dumber: I seem to recall that given the choices at hand, America chose an incompetent moron over a more incompetent moron. I commend Mike Gravel for telling it like it is. Now excuse me while I ride my bike home from work.

    September 13, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. pl. at the UN for a while.

    C'on. Take it easy on yourselves. If you agree, start going to the gym, and stay away from 'all you can eat" places.

    September 13, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Sean Pasadena, CA.

    Wow, I may just have to change my vote. This guy is obviously fearless!

    September 13, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Giovanni, Los Angeles, CA

    Although he is right, it's the dumb and the fat who will take offense to this and prove his point by refusing to take his truthful comments seriously and productively.

    September 13, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Tom, Anaheim, CA

    Well, certainly all of our senators and representives and presidential canidates and president and vp and governors and state senators and state representatives are dumber. As for fatter, I'm not sure but I do know their fat wallets suffed with money from lobbyists make their butts look fatter.

    September 13, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Jim, Boston MA

    Takes one to know one, Mike Gravel.

    September 13, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Claude, Mesa AZ

    This man is right on the let's not be dumb enough to put Hillary I got Baggage Clinton in office.

    September 13, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Steve, Portland, OR

    Obviously everyone agrees. I have a novel idea. How about our representatives taking the high road and demonstrating by example to folks that they can improve these issues, instead of the gready congressmen helping themselves in the name of public service. So far I don't think people are sold on the idea that politicians are any different and are certainly more hypocritical or the approval ratings for congress would not be so low.

    September 13, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |

    I have read some of the comments on this blog and first I must say that I am very proud of Mike Gravel. Every since the first time I heard him speak I felt it was something real about him although I don't know his full intentions on moving AMERICA forward, but his angle on making and getting his point accross I applaud!

    After reading some of the statements made by readers I can see why we are a NATION DIVIDED.

    I myself an African American think that if we all LEARNED how to SPEAK the TRUTH as well as ACCEPT the TRUTH we would be a whole lot better off as HUMAN BEINGS.

    Stop accepting things as to how they suit you and STOP offending yourself with other people's statements and LEARN how to EMBRACE and ACCEPT the TRUTH.



    September 13, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. AnA, San Jose, Ca.

    So much talk about fast food being cheaper than healthy food...Is it? How much does it really cost to prepare rice with mixed vegatables? Adding chicken, doesn't increase cost that much. Including energy used for cooking, cook for yourself and $4-$8 = 6+ servings. That's just an example for one "dish".

    When it comes down to it, it comes down to your individual choice to be healthy. It's just many people choose convenience over health.


    September 13, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. Manuel Hung Lubbock Texas

    First of all whos Mike Gravel? lol

    Lots of people will be upset but you know what its true. Studies show we are fatter than other developed nations and our waistlines are still increasing. Its also sad that our education scores keep slipping. Kudos to a politician who will actually speak the non PC truth.

    September 13, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Bruce, Palo Alto

    Our obesity rate is up, our reading rate is down. Our high schoolers compare poorly to other nations. A good number of our graduate students are from overseas.

    And some of you think this is good news???

    Oh, for Ray in Rochester, which part of Mission Accomplished do you agree with?? The WSJ editorial page is full of self moralizing tripe. As a scientist I read it to get a good feel for how much right-wingers hate science. But I guess you're part of the 30% that believes that Iraq is a huge success story (ala Inhofe) and that we're kicking A (ala Bush).

    September 13, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. E, New Orleans

    While it sure is important to debate whether we Americans are fat and stupid, we here in New Orleans are dealing with the real issues. We've got an executive privilege showdown of our own going on right now – over an air conditioner unit.

    Check out

    September 13, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Christopher, Rochester, NY

    Yes – it's true – your average CNN watcher and politicians as a whole are sure getting a whole lot fatter and a whole lot dumber.

    September 13, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Julie Chicago, IL

    He is so right it is sad.. he just might make a good president, but I don't think all the dumb, fat americans (which are the majority) will vote for him now.. too bad we can't take the truth.. we are so used to lying and being lied to.. and a testament is all the spelling and grammar errors I saw in the posts!!!!

    September 13, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Joe, New York, NY

    I think that if anyone has any question regarding the validity of Senator Gravel's comment, they should read half of the comments on here. Accept, not except! Though, not thou! The wurld is lawst withowt spellchek!

    September 13, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Vicki Orlando Florida

    Mr. Gravel has spoken the truth, and unfortunatly the american public will demand a apology for his remarks rather than take a long look in the mirror, skip fast food for lunch,and dust off their library cards!!Dumming down and makeing excuses for weight gain hurts everyone!

    September 13, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. James, Phoenix AZ

    Ryan – NY,

    You asked me, "Why don't you present the Republican side of every argument that you made in this post?"

    And you then suggested they (voters supporting Democrats) were picking the lessor of two evils.

    Do unions HAVE to endorse any cadidate?

    Are all union members/immigrants/poor people/gay~lesibians forced into choosing between Democrat or Republican?

    Again – my statement to Bob (SF) and to you, Ryan, is ... to suggest that critical thinkers vote Democrat and non-thinkers vote Republican is a non-thinking statement!

    September 13, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. your mom, DC

    convenience, or just no time? the average family these days, in addition to being completely strapped for cash, is also strapped for time. I know many people out there who have to choose between leaving work to make a meal at home and getting in a few extra hours at work so they can pay for their children's schoolclothes.

    September 13, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Sally, Corvallis Oregon

    Gravel is 100% RIGHT. American society is spoon-fed virtually every aspect of life from the watered-down news to mindless video games for our kids. If we want something better – we've got to get up off our butts and work for it!

    September 13, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. Melissa, Thomasville GA.

    It is refreshing to hear politicians speak truthfully isn't it?

    We are fatter and frankly we are getting dumber in this country by the minute. There seems to be a general dumbing down of Americans in present American culture. An "anti-culture" where morons are glorified and 50 cent is apparently first page news on

    Apparently, people in this country are more concerned with the lives of celebrities than they are the environment, the amendments on their ballots, and the quiet ebbing away of our rights in this country.
    WAKE UP AMERICA!!! Stop trusting in and believing everything politicians tell you at face value and use some critical thinking skills.
    The USA has so many freedoms, and we take it for granted that we will always have them. But the american people are not at the heart of this administration's concerns, and as long as politicians are allowed to take huge amounts of money from big business and the wealthiest americans, there will always be a conflict of interest.

    Things need to change. Let's start taking pride in ourselves again before it's to late.

    September 13, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  25. Poe, Pittsburgh, PA

    I strongly agree with a lot of people's post on here, particularly the more intelligent ones.

    I will however point out a trend. Why do the majority of republican comments on here, as in, the comments coming from the mouth of republicans, do nothing but insult, but offer no valid reasons as to why democrats are worst than republicans. Sure, Clinton did things wrong, but in the long run, the more damaging run has been by Bush(if we are taking the narrow scope of the past 12 years. Ignoring global warming, lying to Americans about the war in Iraq, and creating one of the largest cover ups in American History(9/11)? Let's face it, our country is in sad shape(physically, mentally, historically) and someone needs to fix it, and it won't be fixed in four or eight years, maybe twelve to sixteen if we are lucky. But, the TRUTH is a good way to start.

    I've been to other countries, and they too share this lazy and fat opinion of Americans. It's not just Gravel who sees reality, it is the world.

    September 13, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
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