July 10th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
15 years ago

McCain adviser: Nation suffering from a 'mental recession'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/10/art.phill.gi.jpg caption="Gramm is a top economic adviser to McCain."](CNN) - Democrats blasted former Senator Phil Gramm, a top McCain economic adviser and campaign co-chairman, Thursday for saying Americans who have named the economy as a top concern this campaign cycle were “a nation of whiners.”

“Senator McCain said the economic problems facing Americans are psychological - now his top economic adviser and BFF, Phil Gramm said Americans facing tough economic are ‘whiners,’” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse in a statement sent to reporters.

McCain's campaign moved to distance itself from Gramm's comments. “Phil Gramm’s comments are not representative of John McCain’s views. John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they’ll pay their mortgage," said a McCain official. "That’s why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”

Gramm’s comments came in a Washington Times interview published Thursday. "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," said the former Texas senator.

"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession."

Gramm also said the media was responsible for fostering unnecessary anxiety over the state of the economy. "Misery sells newspapers,” he said. “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

Democrats have been looking to portray John McCain as out-of-touch on the economy, as he and Democrat Barack Obama battle over working-class voters, who have named the economy as their biggest worry this year.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (365 Responses)
  1. Loretta from California

    Oh it's FORMER Senator Graham.....well is he receiving a tax payer retirement fund?



    July 10, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Brian

    Oh, so all of those 300,000 or so people who lost their home during the past 6 months only "mentally" lost their homes? These are the kind of blind politics we've gone to expect from G.W. Bush... and now, unfortunately from McCain as well...

    July 10, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Mental Recession

    Please tell my job that laid off 500 people that we are in a "mental recession". Please tell my family that the reason why we can't afford to go on vacation this year is because we are having a mental recession.

    Wait a minute.....he is correct we are in a mental recession and a reality depression.

    July 10, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    OMG – so the loss of jobs in the last 8 years and the pain at the pump that every American is facing today is all psychological. Just like McCain says that even if his gas – solutions will not produce anything in years to come but will give a PSYCHOLOGICAL resolution to the problem – please give me these men's shrink's number because I would like to bury my head in the sand and pretend that everything is okay the economy is fine, gas prices will be 2 bucks when I go to gas up, my job is secure, and my house will not be reposessed. IT IS ALL IN MY HEAD... PUMA people read and understand what you are signing up for...

    July 10, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. C Hussein L

    So the fact that my food biil, gas bill, energy bill and price of everyday items and that my income has not gone up once is all in my head. Wow...woulda thunk...I'm thinking positive, but why is my bank account still so low.

    July 10, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Well, finally McCain speak of something he is familiar with...
    Dee dee dee!

    July 10, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. C Hussein L

    So the fact that my food biil, gas bill, energy bill and price of everyday items has gone up except my income is all in my head. Wow…woulda thunk…I'm thinking positive, but why is my bank account still so low.

    July 10, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. An American

    I know Phil Gramm from living in Texas and let me say this P-R-I-C-K!

    July 10, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Tim in NC

    If by "mental recession" he means the brain-drain Bush has brought upon our government by ostracizing and denegrating every non-partisan scientist, doctor, lawyer, specialist, and expert with more than two-brain cells to rub together...

    Then, Yes!, we've been in a "Mental Recession" for the past 6 or 7 years.

    July 10, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Brian, Pittsburgh

    "America is a nation of whiners"... who's elitist and unpatriotic?

    July 10, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Deidre, Birmingham

    "A Nation of Whiners"

    We will see who is whining come November...

    July 10, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Judd

    Unbelievable...how McCain can surround himself with such uncaring individuals is beyond me. Phil Gramm is partly repsonsible for our current economic crisis...mental or otherwise. McCain is right in distancing himself from Gramm...given Gramm just threw McCain under the proverbial bus...or the perhaps under the "Straight Talk Express."

    July 10, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |

    Thanks for pointing out that we are all just imagining economic strife.
    I was only dreaming that gas prices are at $4.50 a gallon.
    The media is making up these high unemployment numbers too, right? Thank God none of it is real.

    July 10, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Rob

    "Jan from Boca Raton" is a known McCain operative posting as a blogger. Trying to defend this remarks is ridiculous and you're out on a limb even as a false blogger.

    July 10, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. jbloom

    Um, hello, CNN! This is a little more newsworthy than Jesse Jackson's comments. Jackson has no official or even unofficial role with any political campaign, whereas Phil Gramm is John McCain's top economic advisor. In addition to that, McCain has made frequent statements himself to the effect that the recession is largely psychological, making it clear that Gramm is not only speaking for himself, but for McCain as well. So here's an idea - take the Jesse Jackson story off the top of your politics page and put up something that is actually newsworthy. You are supposed to be "the most trusted name in news," not the National Enquirer.

    July 10, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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