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. Laura Walls AZ

    Fatter and dumber is correct. It is disgusting how lazy people are, 75% of the US population is obese!! It is unacceptable and pathetic. And people get so upset when they see perfectly built bodybuilders...go figure. Everywhere I go someone is on their cell phone, or using their laptop, ipod, blueberry or whatever, they are so unaware of their surroundings, they all look like a bunch of mindless drones. I highly doubt that a book even exists in their homes.

    September 13, 2007 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. Poppy, Alexandria, Louisiana

    Wow, thanks Mr. Slender for pointing that out to us. And if he's not voted on next year, I guess we're not as dumb as he thought.

    September 13, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Jason, Cambridge, MA

    Well, the fact is, he's right.

    And we do deserve the government that we put into power.

    September 13, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. George

    Gravel forgot to add "greedy." Americans are dumb, fat, and greedy.

    September 13, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. J.P. Austin, Texas

    Considering what a dumb thing that was to say, I couldn't agree more.

    September 13, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. Veronica, Stamford, CT

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


    Have you got a lingering crush on Bill Clinton? Get over it Mr. Man! He hasn't been president for SEVEN YEARS.

    September 13, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. Teacher, Canton Ohio

    He is correct, we are fatter and dumber. I have been a teacher for 15 years and the quality of child that we have educationally is serious going down hill. Sad thing it is not the child's fault. IDEA will eventually kill public education and dumb down America. The rest of the world just laughs at how much money we spend on "Special Education". Originally IDEA was a great idea but liberal judges have killed a good idea and made it into a excuse for those that just do not want to work.

    September 13, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. Peter New York

    He's right

    September 13, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. Melanie, Windsor, CT

    Posted By Getan Pade SD, CA : September 13, 2007 4:12 pm

    And this has what to do with Gravel ...

    September 13, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. Gregg,mo.kansas

    that doesn't matter much at this time....We have our kids dying on combat. sorry stop trying to make us think how honest you are. where were u b4? We have been watching you and you seem to have a mission of making other candidates a fool of themselves I am sorry we pay proper attention and details...

    September 13, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  11. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    Fat and dumb? So many Americans couldn't even reach their butt with both hands, let alone find it.

    September 13, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Barry Wall, Columbus OH

    Can't really disagree with the comment. Then again, take a look at the choices given to the American people. The Democrats gave us John Kerry. The Republicans gave us George Bush. Dumb and dumber. Sorry Gravel, the problem lies more with the two party system then the American people. That's why I hope Ron Paul runs as a Libertarian. At least that way I won't have to support either the dems or the repubs. Neither party is the solution, they are the problem.

    September 13, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. Patrick Sweeney, Perth Australia

    100% correct Bob.

    I was born in the states and lived there for my first 30 years.

    I have lived in Australia for the last 12 years and would never take my kids to America to live.

    I hate to tell you but even America's allies have had enough. I still get flack from fun loving Aussies who have had enough of the McDonalds, Rap music, Britney and all of the other rubbish culture of America being beamed to us.

    America can not see past its own borders except to see how their invasion of countries is going.

    I always used to laugh at "World News Tonight" as there was nothing dealing with the rest of the "world" except where America was fighting.

    A classic Aussie comedy Skit showed a supposed American news anchor reading the news. She said "America, America, America. And in other news America, America, America."

    America is so self obsessed. It is amazing how Americans can not fathom the idea that there is actually a better place to live in the world.

    Believe it or not, I don't have to worry about driving into the wrong neighbourhood or getting shot for my shoes. There are plenty of places in this world which are much friendlier safe, fitter and smarter than America.

    It is sad to watch my country of birth deteriorate into a country of obese, ignorant people who are dealing with such shocking social issues such as poor education, violence, drugs and obesity and yet still think they are the greatest nation on earth.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    September 13, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. Jason Nicholasville, KY

    There seems to be a lot of hypocracy out there on this one. I don't think that many people have a negative image of themselves, so to those in the chorus of agreement with Senator Gravel what you are really saying is that you know a lot of people other than yourselves who are fat and or stupid. You're all just passing the buck again; only a few have said, yes thats me, I'm fat or stupid. The rest of you are just passing judgment on those you haven't met, making your comments even sadder than the Senators.

    September 13, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  15. Rob Howard-Flanders, Los Angeles, CA

    Good for you Mr. Gavel!!! Let's rid ourselves of the feel good, God is on our side so we can do no wrong – while we run the Country into the gound – Republicans. Wake up America, it's your future we're talking about here.

    September 13, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. Ed Monroe, Bloomington, Indiana

    Known this for at least the last 7 years going on 8 years. It's true and getting worse. I live in a state that is Republican and has a reading level below the eigth grade. Oh yes very religious and none of them can read the bible.

    September 13, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. ryan, ypsilanti, MI

    And Gravel is proof of just how dumb america has gotton. That is person has received support is simply amazing.

    Here is some advice to Gravel and Mahar: Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    September 13, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. Moe, NY

    I am not fat, and not dumb enough to vote for this idiot. With all the serious problems in the world today he has to focus on individual's right to eat where they want, when they want and what they want. I may not agree with the food choices people make, but it is their right to choose for themselves and no government public servant has the right to tell any american citizen what to eat. It is a personal decision, if you don't want to eat certain food then don't, but please do not place your eating habits on other individuals.

    September 13, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. scott, manchester NH

    dont forget lazier...its also fair to say that the rest of the world knew full well in 2000 what many americans are still slooooow to find out...
    bush is history's biggest embarrassment...there are no words to express how atrocious this guy really is.

    September 13, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. James Vaughn

    Finally a truthful candidate.

    September 13, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. James Vaughn

    Wow, reading the comments I agree with him even more! Some people are obviously fat and displeased with his words (instead of doing something about their eating problem) and then others are blaming someone else for their stupidity. Sad. Whether we like it or not, Clinton is going to beat Giuliani for the Presidency.

    September 13, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. peter,boston,mass

    This guy seem like an Independent and he is using facts to devide votes. I don't believe him no matter how honest he seem. He is bringing other issue that don't count at this time. Ofcourse we know people are free to eat what they want. fattness is a sensitive issue in America however we need to have a priorities right now!

    September 13, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. Brian, Dover DE

    There is no denying he is telling the truth, but for the reasons he gave are very questionable.

    I don't understand hating on one party or the other because of a few people from that party made a mistake or could have done something different. Both parties have their flaws. It's called the circle of life. Demecrats rule office for a while and Replublicans end up coming in to fix all of their problems. Once the Replublicans start messing things up, the Democrats come back into play to equal things out.

    There is no happy medium. There is no single party that is better than the other. Republicans and Democrats woulnd never exsist without the other; and if it did, I sure wouldn't want to be around to witness it.

    Point of this being. It's not just Bush. His intentions were great, but may have been missplaced after a while. Could you really imagine Clinton dealing with this? Didn't think so.

    September 13, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. Alison, Albany, NY

    It is enormously refreshing that someone be honest with his opinions to the American people!

    September 13, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. Dan, Tarrytown, NY

    Gravel is right, and it has nothing to do with political party affiliation. Those who need to put a party spin on the comments are only proving his point. It's easier to simply back a horse than do the research to come to your own conclusions. Assuming it's the fault of Democrats or Republicans is falling into the trap of being a dumber American. Corruption and corporate control infect both parties, our educational system and our consumer choices. How can we be surprised when our convenient, entitled lifestyle then produces poor government and malnourished, undereducated citizens?

    We need to stop falling into the trap of picking political sides and instead hold all of our elected officials responsible, even the ones we may have supported. I voted for Bush in 2000. I'd vote for his impeachment today.

    September 13, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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