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. @HusseinIsAmerican2

    What about McCain joking about killing Iranian civilians through cigarettes?
    Why isn't there a debate about the ethics of the Fox decision to release the off-mic conversation of Jesse Jackson?

    CNN, which is more newsworthy?
    What if it was Obama who joked about killing Iranians?

    Shame on you guys for ignoring this story !

    July 10, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. EDW

    Yeah, this foreclosure problem and gas problem are all in our minds. Thanks McCain. You and Cindy go ahead and enjoy your millions.

    ****Let Them Drink Beer****

    July 10, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. YO


    July 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Vanessa

    Once again the McCain camp and Republican party demonstrate how "out of touch" they really are.

    July 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Cara

    CNN – is this story as big as Jesse Jackson and Obama's nuts? I wait in anticipation of the stealth reporting on the real issues facing the nation - Obama's Nuts vs. Our Economic Recession?

    July 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. YO


    McCain needs better advisors.

    July 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. JoeMamma

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

    Tell that to my 401K.

    Keep borrowing from China. Keep printing money out of thin air to bail out banks and reward ignorant borrowers.

    As the value of the dollar falls, we create inflation.

    I'm not an economics major, but I have a better grip on reality than these multi-millionaires.

    Anybody but McLieberCain in 2008

    July 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Sarah, 23, FL

    What the heck is a "mental recession"????? The McCain advisers are MENTALLY CHALLENGED!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl


    July 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Jack Jett

    Phl Gram will no more about whining when he ends up in prison.

    July 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Philly Abe

    uhhh...who is elitist?

    July 10, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Chryssa

    The only mental recession around here is in McCain's head.

    July 10, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Sacto Joe

    Can you IMAGINE the firestorm if an Obama advisor had said this!

    That it even made it this far in America's right wing media empire is incredible.

    July 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. John

    I believe McCain's case of mental recession is called 'getting senile.'

    July 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. TESAP

    ?????????????? HE CAN'T BE SERIOUS??????????


    July 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    “Phil Gramm’s comments are not representative of John McCain’s views."

    you cant have it both ways, flip-flopper. you cant pick and choose when you WANT someone to be your economic advisor and when you dont. he's your economic advisor and he just called americans "WHINERS" b/c you neoCONs have DESPERATELY $crewed up the economy. this is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!

    mcCON is doing the typical rove/bush tactci: let someone say whatever they want, then just come out and deny it, cuz the americans are such stupid WHINERS, they'll only remember the bad thing!!!

    this is APPALLING!!! and this is the ultimate in ELITIST!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Stephanie

    It's the truth. The economy was growing at such an astonishing rate for 6 of the last 8 years, no one used common sense and saved, everyone thought they were entitled to a 2 or 3 bathroom house, everyone bought everything they could lay their hands on. The economy is still growing, just far, far slower, economic growth is far closer to normal now than it was several years ago. Everyone got a little spoiled by what they could buy and is mad that now they cant. Take a look through houses in forclosure – tons of them have giant screen t.v.s and awesome furniture in there. NORMAL is old furniture and adding luxuries slowly.

    July 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Linda31

    He has some nerve! There are ;people without jobs on the verge of LOSING their homes and you are calling people whiners???? Yes, that's the kind of leadership I'm looking for.

    July 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. MD

    It isn't whining -it's legitimate complaining. We as a nation ARE doing badly economically, doing badly competitively and in comparison to other nations.

    Not to mention what looks to be making fun of the duel use of the word depression for both economic trouble and mental illness. But I'll give the benefit of the doubt on that one.

    I think McCain really needs to reconsider having someone who, according to him, is "not representative of John McCain's views" acting as his top economic adviser.

    July 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. TESAP


    July 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. dmw

    We are a nation of whiners. We want the government to fix everything. We complain all the time about everything. America is in decline because a lot of Americans are lazy and do not want to do anything to help themselves. I say stop complaining and whining and get busy making your life better!

    July 10, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Carmen Colorado

    Gramm and all the politicians and oil people do not have to worry about depression or recession because they have more money than they could spend, and they are have insurance and have gotten richer from all the screws that they have put to the common people. Gramm, Cheney, Bush and all are morons.

    July 10, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Alex

    Let me make it clear.

    1. I am paying 2x for gas than a 1 year ago. We are trying to avoid long trips.
    2. My landlord has raised my rent because of increased energy and heating bills. My landlord even called me to turn off my AC which she never did that before.
    3. My parents who work in the same company (international bank). Their stock has dropped by 4x since 1 year ago. They are having lay offs almost weekly and hope everyday that this is not the day. Cause dropping dollar...ye dropping dollar..who you think caused it?

    July 10, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. rom, NY

    OMG !
    I bet this guy is living on another planet, far far far ... far away from earth
    It's not necessary to read newspapers for figuring out that the economy is in a bad shape, maybe the worst ever.

    This guy is out of touch on the economy as well as his boss McShame

    July 10, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. Lance

    Yes, I agreed. It's a mental problem. I'm now very scared going to a gas-station. I felt like there an evil guy hire inside the pump trying to steal every dollar I have. I'm mentally ill.

    God dam the rich republican who does not know anything about suffering American lives. Sure, if your friends are executive from Chevron, Exxon, Shell then it makes sense that you think the economy is not in recession.

    July 10, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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