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. mw


    September 13, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Bob, Palm Springs, CA

    Well, we are model corporate americans. If we can't pass the tests in school, just dumb them down till we can.

    September 13, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Maria, CA

    He is right. 30% of the public still thinks that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda and 9/11. The White House is counting on those same stupid Americans to continue supporting this war in Iraq. And yep, last time I looked around me I saw plenty of super fat, unhealthy people. Don't fear terrorism folks, fear diabetes!

    September 13, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. WN, Ft. Benning GA

    Gravel, since your being so honest, let me return the favor. I think your an idiot and I am astonished you were ever a senator, then again perhaps thats why you went to Alaska. Stating that "Americans are getting fatter and dumber," doesnt help anything, everyone already knows this, the fact that obesity rates are up and reading levels are down is nothing new. But refering to these statistics using harsh words like 'fatter' and 'dumber' does nothing to fix the real problem that is causing this. More and more americans are becoming more and more lazy as time goes on and that is the problem so many people expect to have things just handed over to them. There are too many people sitting around wondering what or how they can sue someone else that has alot of money. Too many people abusing the welfare system. Too many people expecting everyone else to raise their children so kids are raising themselves whether it be by gangs or internet junkies. Also, too many morons being paid to screw things up even more or to simply do nothing but wear a suit and tie and go on TV making idiotic remarks, just like you.

    September 13, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. KD, Dallas, TX

    He just said what many of us think and what statistics show. I travel outside of the US and this is exactly how we are portrayed. I do have much hope that we can ALL (republicans and democrats) do what's right for our country and take the time to learn what each candidate is about. Let's not hop on bandwagons, or hate due to what's happened in the past, or despise candidates due to partisan ideology, or race, or gender. If people are able to think for themselves and truly listen to what's being said without preconcieved notions, maybe, just maybe, we can get our country out of the mess the current administration has created. I think a politician that is able to be honest is far more important than one who just tells us what we want to hear, or worse, lies to achieve power.

    September 13, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. April - San Marcos TX

    No doubt. I'm voting for this guy.

    September 13, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. Robert , Kansas City, Mo

    We ARE fatter and more stupid than ever before. Obesity is rampant in more than 2/3 of our states. ( Thank You, Corn syrup / fructose.) "Spellcheck" rules our communications rather than requiring that our children learn and understand the rules of the English language. Most Americans act and spend like tomorrow's financial reconing will never come. Stupid? I'll say!

    September 13, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Mike, Ferndale Mi

    After reading this article and hearing of Mr. Gravel's remarks, he now is the frontrunner for my vote. If he keeps this up, I may volunteer to work for his campaign. It's about time somebody told the truth!

    September 13, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Matthew W. Combest

    He's right, as usual. Any country that does not impeach thier president for what Bush is guilty for really is dumb.

    September 13, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Ilona, Tempe, AZ

    Well..that'why Bush was appointed, err.. elected twice. The entire world knows it. Many Americans are sedate and narrow minded with archaic views on issues like same sex marriage, abortion gun laws and science(life on Earth for 6000 years!!!).I was born and raised in Europe and can tell you from personal experience that even highly educated Americans lack information about national and global issues, but are quick to form opinions about other countries (which they usually can't find on a world map). High school graduates in European countries are far more educated than most college graduates in the US. The obsesity rate is much lower and the willingness to want to be informed does not compare to the apathy of the American public. Go Gravel!!!

    September 13, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. Robert, Kansas City

    "Reckoning", not "Reconing." Oops.. A too much in a hurry typo!
    Mea Culpa

    September 13, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Sandy McMillan

    We're not that dumb, Gravel. We're not voting for you!

    September 13, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. Todd, Pittsburgh, PA

    Ahh, I love the hypocrisy. Tell me, my right-leaning friends, which do you love most: the United States of America, or the Republican Party? Which is it? Because, for years, you've been saying one thing (America – Love it or leave it!), yet you steadfastly stick with one party over the other, not even considering it as an option. In fact, most of you would probably love to see Democrats either tortured or sent to jail for treason.

    So, which is it: Party or country? Or, are the two interchangeable? Is this really 1930s Germany, like most of us who have given up on both parties think it is?

    September 13, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    The truly dumb Americans are the ones who don't vote and then complain about the state of affairs.

    September 13, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Sarah Allen, Fredericksburg, MD

    Let's take a look at things here. Yes, Americans are overweight, however, not all of that is by choice. People, there ARE medical conditions that can contribute to weight gain. Making a braod statement the way he did was off base. What is scary, is that he will probably get he nomination.

    Anyone with any common sense, and I admit that is sketchy amongst the American public these days, knows full well that a politician will say anyhting to get elected. Of what they say only 10% may actually get implemented. Not so much becasue they are lyiing through their teeth, but because congress doesn't always allow things to go forward.

    On the "dumber" comment. Things need to change in questions there. Ms Michaels from Hartford made some good comments in that regard. Quit molly coddling these kids and prepare them for life in an adult society. Get rid of the idiotic clothing styles where you can't tell a kid's gender, pay teachers a better salary and force these kids to behave in a manner befitting the school atmosphere. That means learning history, learning how to read (who had the great idea to take phonics out of the classroom?), learning respect and tolerance for all people and not shooting teachers and classmates for any old reason. There was a report here in MD about a 5th grade student who was caught showing a gun to other kids. School hadn't been in session 3 days.

    I won't comment on the idea of 9/11 being a cover-up, I won't put myself down to that lack of common sense level.

    My main comment to Americans and I realize not all have a problem, get a grip and start with some common sense. President Bush did not order the levies blown up in New Orleans, he did not plan and execute the 911 attacks, flight 77 and 93 really did exist, and I seem to remember a lot of American support when we went into Afghanistan...hmmm...weren't approval ratings somewhere around 90%? I cringe to think what President Clinton would have done....

    Instead of blaming President Bush for everything wrong in the country, look at your daily lives and how you act in front of people and your children. A lot of the complaints here start in the home.

    September 13, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |


    September 13, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Ted Kennedy = Macy's New Years Day Balloon that calls Obama "Osama"

    Yep, Mike, you're right!

    September 13, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. janet,worcester, ma

    stop fooling us. I have already know who I will vote for...

    September 13, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    That is some poor grammar from some of the people who disagree with Gravel on this forum. Case in point !

    September 13, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. Tara Williams, Richmond, Virginia

    Excellent! It's the truth and I would vote for him

    September 13, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. m brown Washington St

    What an accurate comment.
    Kind of hard to get around the force fed half truth information from the mainstream media that is mostly biased that the bulk of Americans believe, and hard to get around the politicians who speake with forked tongues 95% of the time.
    We get what we deserve, but as often as not we don't know what we are actually getting until it is to late.
    It might be easier if politicians would get their fingers out of so many damnable pies and remember that is the American citizens that they are supposed to represent.

    September 13, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Marie, Anchorage, AK

    Yes, he is so right!!! Thanks for saying that out loud Mike Gravel; America needs to wake up and exercise both physically and mentally.

    September 13, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Raymond, El Paso TX

    James, Phoenix AZ

    Why would unions vote Democrat? opposed to voting with the union-busting Reagan party? Remember the air traffic controllers' incident? Corporations have been emboldened by the precedent it set sending unions in decline ever since. Also, Republicans are currently pushing for significantly higher numbers of H1B visas which take away higher paying jobs from Americans ...and they are unwilling to penalize corporations that reside in the U.S. for outsourcing jobs ...and they believe in privatizing anything and everything so that, again, corporations can take over. Can you say Halliburton? By the way, NAFTA was started during the Reagan days and was followed by that "new world order" Republican. There was also a Republican majority in congress during Bill's days, funny that was one thing they just happened to agree with him on.

    Why would the poor vote Democrat? opposed to the "compassionate conservatives"? At least Bill was big enough to admit he screwed up on that one.

    Why would legal immigrants vote Democrat while Republicans are the ones protecting their rights? I guess their rights include continued low wages and no benefits so corporations can continue to make their profits.

    Why would the gay/lesbian vote Democrat? Because this is America and if you have a voice, at least you have a chance of getting what you want. Unlike Republicans that silence anyone that doesn't agree with them. Look what happened to Larry Craig and the others.

    Democrats aren't perfect but I'll pick them over a Republican ANY day.

    September 13, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Judy, Ann Arbor, MI

    I'm fat, but I'm not dumb. And no, I don't eat "double cheeseburgers" (I'm a vegetarian, thank you) and yes, I exerise regularly. I was born fat. I'm short, too - is that also my fault?

    I don't appreciate being lumped in with dumb, ignorant people just because of the body type I was born with - not by politicians, and not by the commenters here. Gravel isn't getting my vote.

    September 13, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. Robert

    We are obese thanks to corn syrup, high fructose sweeteners and fast food. We are unable to write without spellcheck because our over managed schools are forbidden to train their students in proper English disciplines for fear that we might offend someone. Not all children are genius level. We spend far more than we earn and are credit card slaves. The lending systems are beyond the practice of usury. Stupid? Yes! There is a day of reckoning coming soon to what used to be America. I hope that I do not live to see it.

    September 13, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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