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. Ed

    Nice... He must have been talking to Ted "Hic-Cup" Kennedy. I guess when Nationalized Health Care comes around they'll be doing stomach stapling for free!

    September 13, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. Paul Wilson

    And Who's party has been giving all the handouts to make people "fat and dumb"? Can you spell DEMOCRATS.

    September 13, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Dave Maryott

    First of all Mr Gravel is 100% correct. Yes, he will not get the Democratic nomination, he can afford to speak the truth but the others who think they can win will only tell us what we want to hear. And loonytoon, who do you think is the goverment? Politicians and bearucrats? What about the 300 million plus citzens who live here? If everybody who is able to vote, votes, mabye we wouldn't be so dumb. Also, the Repulicans are equally if not more reponsible since they have had control of congress for twelve years and the White House for more than six years. Enough said.

    September 13, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Richard Lukas, Detroit, MI

    Its a nice try by CNN to give a headline such as " Dems 08 to call americans dumber and fatter" This is as if portray Dems as arrogant to lure the illinformed and fatter people to vote republicans. Thank you!

    September 13, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. J, Chiefland, Florida

    He is right, but he is generilizing the entire population. And so are a lot of the comments to this article. The correct thing to say would be "Most American's are getting dumber and fatter." The article presents him as some god that knows everything and all other American's are getting fatter and dumber.

    September 13, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. peter t. han, m.d., alhambra, califotrnia

    Thanks Senator Gravel, what you have said of our present government is mroe than correct and I hope it will not be happened again in next year 2008 election. Thanks again

    September 13, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. rocky, fresno ca

    he said it very nicely actually...its the headline that paints him as an idiot. he didnt "you're"....headlines fool people and shows the power of the media.

    September 13, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. mybrokenlife

    probably not the best way to get elected

    September 13, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. M. Winters, Mesa, AZ

    Gravel's statements are a brutal but in this commentators eyes a fair observation to make.
    Without a doubt a whole generation of Americans have gotten emotionally softer, physically fatter and intellectually dumber because we have legimitized wearing rose-colored glasses to look at life under every and all situations.
    We have slipped into a soccer-mom style society giving trophies to kids for just showing up to competitions that we don't bother to keep score at, make people "heroes" for doing even the most mundane of daily chores like taking out the trash, elevate sports and entertainment thugs to role models and excuse incompetence in government and business because "we understand thier feelings of disappointment".
    But there is an outside chance of turning all this around. While I don't agree on every position they have put forth it was insiring listening to Gen. Petreaus and Amb. Crocker. Thier individual levels of professionalism, competence, clarity of real-world purpose and genuine courage will, with some luck, motivate the up and coming generation of Americans to return to the past levels of competency and world leading technical performance that have been squandered over the last 25+ years. To further editorialize, it's high time we as a society "cowboy up" to lifes difficuties and uncertainties and stop "dumbing down" so we can be all inclusive even if it's not deserving.

    September 13, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. ra jones, schenectady, new york

    Good for the Senator. Finally someone who does not care if he offends because he offers an honest assessment of Americans. We are "fat" and getting fatter and "dumber" as I can attest from the work I do with the public. Right On, Senator!

    September 13, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Dave Barak, Poway, CA

    On the first count, fatter, he's absolutely right.

    On the second count, dumber, he's sort of right. We're dumber in certain ways, and smarter in others.

    Overall, though, I'd have to say he's right. Hurts, doesn't it?

    September 13, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. julie, fort thomas, kentucky

    he's right!

    September 13, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Tom Dedham, Mass

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

    James that my have been your finest posting my friend. Too the point and it hit them where it hurts, the truth cavity.

    I live in a state of elitists that vote for the same Brahmin types, but the funny thing is that John Kerry got WORSE GRADES THAN BUSH in school and yet he get's points for being "nuanced".

    If nuanced means and answer to a question that doesn't actually answer the question, then he is your man.

    Then we have Ted Kennedy, man of the people, he had his family beg and plead to get him into college where he promptly got tossed out after CHEATING on his exams.

    That myth continues along with the one where Republicans "only care about themselves", when an independent study done more than once overwhelmingly showed that Republicans give to charitable organizations FAR more than the supposed "I care about the needy" Democrats.

    Big fuzzy hugs.

    September 13, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. Clare, Tampa, Fl.

    I sure hope his name is first on the list for fat and stupid because the shoe definitly fits!!! Just one more reason why we do not need a democrat in the white house. That looks just peachy to all these other countries that can't stand us, "Look their own could be president has nothing nice to say about the American people either". What a big mouth idiot, grow up! ***RON PAUL 2008***

    September 13, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Gene, Syracuse, NY

    Gravel's 100% correct. He's brutally honest in his assessment and unfortunately, that's one reason he won't be elected. Americans don't want someone who's going to be honest with them. If they did, George W. Bush would never have been elected.

    September 13, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Mark, Springfield, Mo

    I have to agree that he is correct. And you can tell he touched a nerve a little to close to home for some people by the few angry comments.

    And he is right about Americans getting the government we deserve by who we vote into office. Bush is a great example of that. Just watch his recent speech in Australia. It was sad and EMBARRASSING. He couldn't even get the name of the country right. President Bush is a few brain cells shy of being in Special Ed. and we have no one to blame but ourselves for re-electing him.

    September 13, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  17. Jonathan Beatty, Augusta GA

    I am neither fat or dumb, my wife is not fat or dumb, my children are not fat and dumb, the people I socialise with are not fat and dumb and the people I work with are not fat and dumb.

    Is "fat and dumb" how our goverment thinks of us?

    September 13, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    >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!

    >Posted By James, Phoenix AZ

    James – You're absolutely right. I stand corrected. There are dumb people on both sides of the isle. I actually stand more towards the middle on some issues, but I side with the Dems when push comes to shove.

    It's funny to see how we all see the stupidity on the "other side". I think MOST Americans are dumb. And while I do try my best to stay informed, I'm no Einstein either.


    September 13, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Liz in Davis, CA

    well, he's right. But that's not going to get him elected. Apparently we Americans prefer to be lied to.

    September 13, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. Aaron Lincoln, NE

    Kate O. Long Island, NY said:

    "Geez, what's the difference between Gravel and the ultra right who tell us we're all going to hell?"

    Well, one is fact and one is faith, you can see one with your own eyes.

    Also, why are honest people like this just written off? I don't like Ron Paul, but didn't something similar happen with him, now he's unelectable"

    September 13, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Katherine Michaels, Hartford, CT

    Where to start. First, yes, I can't argue that many Americans are overweight; I am one of them but m working on things. Fast food and the fast pace of life will catch up with everyone. However, as for the child obesity problem, parents need to kick their kids outside to play and run around, rather than letting them sit down to their video games for 10 hours a day. Now, on the "dumber" comment. Let's see, we have taken away red ink for grading papers, F's are no longer an option, teachers ar enot allowed to have any control in the classroom, by this I mean they look sideways at a kid and get sued for abuse. Instead, there are metal detectors and security guards at almost every school entrance. Something is really wrong with this picture. Instead of preparing these "kids" for life in adult society, they are being molly coddled to the point they believe everything is supposed to be handed to them on a silver platter. get toughter on kids, allow schools to have the control they once had and maybe the quality of teachers will increase if they don't fear for their lives everytime they walk into the classroom. How many teachers have been accused and then convicted of molesting one of their students? 20 years ago that was unheard of.

    There was also a comment here about the 9/11 conspiracy and the fact the US planned the whole thing. Keep up the thought and join the line of radicals. Anyone who believes it was an "inside" job is barking up the wrong tree. What, bin Laden is funded by the US and all Al Quaeda are in US control?

    I do say that unless something is done on the domestic agenda, the US is going to fold in on itself. Personally, potentially having a Democrat in the White House scares me to death. We will go back to the "that's OK, we understand" attitude and nothing will get done. We'll probably end up giving money to Bin Laden and Al Quaeda in order to make up for all the nasty things we have called them. After all, isn't it discriminatory?

    September 13, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Kris Columbia Md

    Finally. After years and years of pandering politicians-someone that has the integrity to tell it like it is. A large number of Americans are fat and dumb. Just listen to level of conversation around you. Go to and search for the video Zeitgeist. God save me from all these ignorant fools. Anyway a politician telling the truth is a rare thing indeed. I'll be checking out Mr. Gravel to see if he is worthy of my vote-because only Ron Paul has demonstrated the courage and integrity deserving of my vote so far.

    September 13, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Jeff, Arlington, VA

    He's right. And it's not the government's fault. It's ours.

    September 13, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. Aaron Lincoln, NE

    "And Who's party has been giving all the handouts to make people "fat and dumb"? Can you spell DEMOCRATS."
    Posted By Paul Wilson : September 13, 2007 6:22 pm

    May be some truth to that, but better education helps you make better choices in all aspects of life. Haven't P.E. and health classes been virtually cut?

    September 13, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. L.G.C.

    He is speaking the truth, plain and simple.

    September 13, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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