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. Michael - Sacramento, CA

    .....Riiiight. So the mortgage crisis and the loss of jobs and the ballooning personal and national debt and the fact that the Federal Depository banks currently have a reserve that is made up completely of funds borrowed from the Federal Reserve (and owe twice as much more) [http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/BOGNONBR?cid=123] is all just a mental dysfunction–things are actually just fine. Whew, what a relief!

    July 10, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. K.

    The "let them eat cake" attitude of the GOP is crystal clear...do we really want 4 more years?

    July 10, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Nikki, Florida

    Wow...all I can say is wow.

    I don't think anyone in this country is overreacting about gas food prices!

    Maybe if he made an average salary, he'd understand the struggles of the average american are REAL!

    July 10, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Marv...

    Finally, a republican who is not afraid of telling it like he sees it. This is how the majority of Americans feel the republicans look at the economy. As long as it does effect them, it all good. At least he's being honest. He and the rest of the wealth Republican, who fools the nation about fighting abortion and keeping the gays from getting married, will continue to feel this way until America decides to kick them to the curb.

    Now, how scary is Obama??? Phil was a democrat before he became rich.

    July 10, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Marie

    McBush is suffering from reality. The lack of it.

    July 10, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Lourdes

    It's so good to see that the McCain campaign's advisers are so in touch with the needs and struggles of most Americans. I guess we're not justified in expressing concern over having to choose between gasoline and vegetables. Hmm....drive myself to work or groceries? Thank goodness the Republican machine has guaranteed that corporations like McDonalds have proliferated and can be found on every corner!!

    July 10, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. smart George

    If you can't solve it , deny that a problem exist, even blame it upon the millions who have been dragged into this economic mess by your party's policies......remember when McCain said America had made great progress!.

    July 10, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. David Peter

    Im no "whinner", I just know economics; unlike McBush.

    July 10, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Rose

    WHINING? I wonder how Gramm would feel if he LOST his home to foreclosure, LOST his job to a factory in Asia and did not have the money to afford gas to even look for more work.

    McCain surrounds himself with people like this and wonder why most voters think he is out of touch.

    I think these comments of Gramm's should get as much media exposure as "Bittergate" and the Rev. Wright. They show an absolute disregard for the suffering of everyday Americans.

    July 10, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Chris L.

    McCain pretends his administration will differ from Bush's but we can already see he's surrounding himself with arrogant and ignorant advisers who think as long as their stock portfolio's OK, the economy is OK. I got mine, and if you don't have yours then you're lazy and deserve what you have coming to you is the conservative creed. No more.

    Obama '08!

    July 10, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Swanaay!

    Uh, what's a newspaper? They still sell those things? I thought they were declared dead a long time ago, no?? Who is outta touch?

    Misery sells newspapers, that is rich... Enjoy the Shadenfreude in November, slighter of Americans!

    July 10, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Len in Washington

    "My 'Mental Recession' is telling me I don't have enough money to put more than a half tank of gas in my vehicle to look for a job!"

    A comment from hundreds of thousands of Americans enjoying the fruits of a Republican "Solid Economy."

    What ignorance will spew from them next.

    July 10, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. chris24

    makes you wonder if they actually know
    any "real" Americans.

    also, does graham wear a flag on his

    just checking.

    July 10, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. john

    Yes, it is true that is why McCain's wife spent $750,000 last month on credit card. To the republicans we are in mental recession but to ordinarily folks we are really hurting.

    July 10, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. California Gold

    Now that I think about it, that explains a lot of their blather and stupidity. Anyone who wants to be my President who believes hard working Americans going through economic hardship are "whiners" is completely out-of-touch with reality. That, my friend, is true mental recession.

    CNN I love the pictures you post with the articles. Both Gramm and McCain look like brainless twits. "Huh???"

    July 10, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Dennis

    I do think that we are a nation of whiners, but let's be real... big oil, greedy lenders (countrywide), and a war mongering president got us into this economic mess. Let's bring this country back to all of us, not just the top so they can trickle down when they deem convenient.

    Obama '08

    July 10, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Jonathan

    Graham is correct, although, we may end up in a recession.

    We are not technically in a recession and everyone I talk to claims we are, even though they can't define what a recession is, or even explain why they think we are in a recession.

    It always comes back to: "But look at how high gas prices are!"

    Gas prices do not equate to a recession.

    Then people claim the 'housing crisis' and high grocery prices are evidence.

    Still wrong.

    We may be having a period of high prices in certain areas, but the economy is still strong.

    In addition, Obama can do nothing to change any of this.

    Anyone who thinks Obama will have any effect on the current economy is sadly being dishonest.

    July 10, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. David

    If you have listened to the media at all, they've been hinting at a recession the past 3 years. Even though we may be in a small one this quarter, is there any doubt the media is frustrated at the fact an official recession hasn't surfaced yet?

    July 10, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. James - Alpharetta GA

    McCain and his cronies think everyone needs therapy if they think paying $4.11/gallon and 55% increases in grocery bills, utilities, etc. is not just "peachy!"

    I hope American's are watching the true-McCain reveal himself and the philosophy he surrounds himself with. Cindy McCain puts $750,000 on her credit card in one month and they want to tell Americans that stuggle how empathetic they are?

    Republicans never learn. I look forward to the sensible leadership of President Barack Obama in 2009.

    July 10, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Alanna

    Who the heck do these idiots think they are.

    In our heads. Give me a break!

    They can continue to delude themselves all they want but the fact of the matter is that its a delusion in their heads.

    Wake up people before its to late. Vote Obama. The only person with a brain running for president.

    He knows where the US stands. These people don't and that includes McBush

    July 10, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Concerned

    The media is serving the public by telling the truth. We should ask Senator Gramm to have him and his family to happily live on the average income of a family who lives in Applachia. He would cry like a little hurt puppy. Senator Gramm needs to TALK TO THE HAND because American citizens are hurting and he has no empahty or sympathy for us. His pride and joy seems involve pleasing corporate America. He does not care about we, the little people. Another 4 years of Geore W. Bush-like policies would be about all that we need to trigger a major depession in the United States and beyond. Just say NO to McCain,, McBush, and McDrain! Enough is enough!

    July 10, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. trust your instincts

    insane mccain and is straight talk bandits dont think $4 milk, 4$ + gas, and $3 bread and $6 ice cream is mental recession. u gotta be as insane to vote for mcsame

    July 10, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Hillary Backer for McCain

    Im confused.

    Im a hard core PUMA who is hurting, why am I a whiner ?

    July 10, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Ryan Wing

    Now, Rev Wright was with us for months – this will be out of the news cycle in a few days and is actually from the mouth of the campaign.

    July 10, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Ken

    Jan, Gramm sure is absolutely right. There is no better evidence of it than the last two presidential elections. And the [R]s continue to count on the dumbing down of America as a means to win elections.

    The real problem we have isn't Bush, Cheney, McCain etc. - tragically sub-par candidates will always be with us - the real problem is the people like you who drink the sub-par kool-aid and actually vote for these failures and their policies to send America back into the Dark Ages.

    We as a nation made abhorrent mistakes in 2000 and 2004; there is a multitude of facts and proof on that. Yet people will actually choose to continue the [R] failure by voting for McCain. It is astounding that her own people will repeatedly choose to harm America.

    July 10, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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