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. Tom - Pennsylvania

    And this is the type of thing we could expect from a McCain economic advisor? I guess he just thinks 'ya'll don't have yer minds right'.

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. linchristi

    There is some truth to this. For first time home buyers there is no better time than now to buy homes..But gas prices are outrageous..

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Mike from Westchester

    Wow! $9+ trillion national debt, $4 a gallon gas, record foreclosures, surging unemployment, consumer debt through the roof, bankruptcy filings climbing, financial institutions reeling, and the stock market in close to a free fall. Earth to McCain team – people are hurting out there – largely the result of a failed Administration putting oil companies, a war agenda, reducing market and consumer protections, and in general the benefit of the wealthy and powerful ahead of the concerns of ordinary Americans.

    This puts new meaning to the term "Out of touch".

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. JulesT

    Somehow, I really don't think McCain "feels" our pain, and neither do those top 2 percent who get that wonderful tax break. What a crock.

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. al


    I'M NOT FEELING IT. OH................COZ I'M RICH




    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Mike

    Typical Republican philosophy:

    "sit down, shut up, and quit your whining"

    I think Gramm forgot to add at the end "or the terrorists have won"

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    Mccain Is Such An Elitist He Doesnt Think We Are In A Recession! The Price Of Gas Is Not High. . . Food Doesnt Cost Alot. . . Houses Are Not At Risk Of Foreclosure. . . The War Doesnt Cost To Much . . . . . Its Just Mental And All In Your Head!

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Todd

    CNN your a joke, this is bigger news than the Viagra story, but no, you you want to be all about issue number one but all you want to cover is paparazzi news

    July 10, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Ryan, CA

    What planet are these people on? There is a very good reason Americans are whining and that reason is George W. Bush, the WORST PRESIDENT IN MODERN HISTORY (according to historians).

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    I think Americans have the right to complain when they are losing their homes and the lending companies are the ones getting the help, when the price of gas has sky-rocketed and people are struggling to make ends meet, when the price of dairy products have also sky-rocketed and nothing is being done about it, when family members are being killed or seriously injured in a war that was a mistake.

    The American people should complain and they have every right to blame the Bush administration for their woes.

    Gramm's remarks are typical for the rich and unaffected. Reminds me of Barbara Bush saying how Katrina victims are better off because they had a roof over their heads.......even though they lost their homes and had nothing but a cot in Houston's football arena.

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. zina

    Imagine the media frenzy that would ensue if someone from the Obama campaign made this statement.

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Tired of Idiots

    Just like an elitist blow hard who never had it hard financially to say something as idiotic as this. Why don't you go talk to someone who's house just got foreclosed on or someone who just lost their job because your global market theory allowed their company to ship their job overseas. Will you people out their please stop voting on the basis of party loyalty and think about yourselves, your fellow citizens and the future of this country.

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. kim

    UNREAL! Its all in your mind, your foreclosed home, your job loss, 4.50 a gallon gas, 4.00 a gallon milk, ALL IN YOUR MIND...WOW, must be nice to have a wife worth millions. This is just one more reason that this man wont win in November, people dont want to hear this, they KNOW its real. WMD's now THOSE were all in BUSHES mind, and that is who Mccain is taking the lead from...what a mess!

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. saga4obama

    since CNN only allows 20 to 30 post on stories about Mccain and 1003 about Obama i hope this gets in...
    “Senator McCain said the economic problems facing Americans are psychological — now his top economic adviser and BFF, Phil Gramm- CNN

    Gram one of McCains TOP ADVISERS is also the one responsible for the ENRON LOOP HOLE, deregulating oil speculators...so America, when you are whining while you fill up your gas tanks...thank McCain's boy Gramm.it is no wonder McCain has some 59 lobbyist running his campaign...including Charlie " McCain will do great if there were an attack" Black-OPC and Frank Donetelli-EXXON
    John McCain is close to a Billion Heir trying to call someone an Elitist? oh Please.
    John McCainm is the " let them eat cake candidate"
    this is too the 500,00 who have lost their jobs since Jan. and the millions who have lost their homes...if John McCain gets elected, who will really be your President? let John eat cake!!!

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. RC

    I am sick of the insults comming from the right wing nut-jobs.
    As a nation, we are tired of the lies and BS.

    July 10, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Franky

    Yeah, don't know if its the right to say but hey, he's a Rep! Is all good, LOL!!

    July 10, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Richard Head


    Well, what exactly should we do when we haven't gotten a decent raise in five years (commensurate with rising prices and inflation), can not put gas in the car to go to work, and have to decide which meal to skip to save money so we can do frivolous things, like, say, pay the electric bill.

    Have you ever had to worry about that?

    Didn't think so.

    It's actually our own fault for not being wealthy. Serves us right to suffer.

    I actually think a great solution is to eat the rich. Not only will we get all of our daily protein, but since they will no longer need their wealth, well, by default it becomes ours. Not only that, but fewer cars on the road, less energy consumption...

    Now that's multitasking at it's best.

    Eat the rich.

    July 10, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. John McGurk

    Easy for you to say, Phil- You're a millionaire

    However, I can't fill my tank on "positive thinking"


    July 10, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Rip Van McGraham

    John and Phil must have been asleep over the last 7 years. America is not doing well, but shhhhhhhhhhh.....don't wake them up, they need their rest.

    July 10, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Eric

    You whiners need something to cry about, McCain will give you something to cry about. Let's lock in those tax cuts for the mega wealthy and continue tearing apart our social safety nets. When this is complete, when you are all tenement farmers on some lord' s estate, then you can complain. Until then, eat cake!

    July 10, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Rip Van McGraham

    OBAMA won't call us whiners.

    Barack Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. RC

    And If he Graham's salary was like most of ours, he would be complaining too. GET REAL OLD MAN.

    July 10, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Heather

    Sad to say but he is right. There is a huge portion of America that wants something for nothing. They want the government to take care of everything for them. I am not saying that the economy is not on a down slide, and that most definately the cost of gas is killing us all, but before the gas became the big issue there was still those same people wanting handouts.

    And if the Liberal nut jobs get their way, businesses will get to pay out higher taxes, so that supposedly I won't have too. Which will cause those businesses to either shut down, or move over seas where there will be even more whiners and even more folks standing there with their hands out.

    In the past 10 years we have lost practically all of our textile mills in our area that was the main employers. They have either shut down or moved over seas. If the companies and the top 1% (which is probably one in the same for the most part) pay the majority of taxes then that means less jobs. Because why pay all that when they can easily move to China or Mexico. They can outsource all their IT jobs from India and just not have to worry about the greed of the left and the whiners(aka-losers).

    July 10, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Julie mn

    obama is so far out of touch WITH WE THE PEOPLE he is not even AMERICAN !!!!

    I know this wont post, cnn sold their morals and integrity to obama, your one time trust is gone.

    July 10, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Lisa

    I agree. Bunch of whiners!

    July 10, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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