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. Greg, NY

    Forget the cheese, I'd like some gas with my whine.

    July 10, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. hussein

    oh ,i see,our country is going to hell in a basket,and we're whiners?we are not whining!we are pissed off!thieving elitists have stolen and squandered the wealth of this nation,then call us whiners when we complain that we are losing our jobs because we cant afford the gas to get to work.sorry phil and john,but,we dont all have jumbo jets to fly around in.that entire party is riddled with nothing but high dollar trash!kick 'em out,this fall!these people are stealing from us and our children,and wondering why we're upset.dum!

    July 10, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. simplyhuman, Ft. Myers

    Give us all some zoloft and a little McMama koolaid and we'll all be fine. O. K. I get it, it's all about perception.

    I percieve this: I'm voting for "none of the above" when it comes to McMama–I may be desperately depressed and poor–but I do have a conscience and self-respect–and I want to keep it.

    Barr/Root 2008
    Libertarians...join us and make real change Washington.

    July 10, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. JS

    Yep, not voting for this out of touch loon

    July 10, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. @HusseinIsAmerican2

    this just shows us how the REPUGNANTS dont care about ordinary americans....they talk about drill here, drill more, drill now for political expediency to create more jobs for oil corporations, give more tax breaks to Dick Chenney's Harlliburton and the likes and sell gas to ordinary american consumers at record breaking profits!

    It is doubly sad that this is a REPUBLICAN senator who supports McShame & Bush and who ought to have been doing something to alleviate the problems with the housing foreclosure crisis, a slowed housing market, decreased retail spending, rising gas and food prices and a declining stock market.
    They should know better that Americans in many parts of the country have hit a tipping point and in most other parts are close to one.

    Yet, John McSame and his republican friends & lobbyist will thumb their noses at us as "a nation of whiners".



    July 10, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Chris

    Gramm was an idiot when he was in office and I see it hasn't changed!!!
    I'm so ashamed this man is from TEXAS!!! Between him and Bush I think I will hold off on talking up my State in the future until we get it back on track!!!

    July 10, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Ugo

    Ok this guy has to go. It's official. McCain cannot and should not be our next president. Are you kiddin' me?

    July 10, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |

    To Jan from Boca Raton, FL

    It must be nice to live where you do and not have to worry about the current state of the economy. Unfortunately, the remaining 99.9999% of the country is feeling the crunch and not merely whining but are pretty pissed off that they either have no home, no job, no medicare, a husband/wife/daughter/son in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    July 10, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Bendo

    mental recession??? what???? like people are NOT hurting from the economic recession on our pocket books? and this guy wants to be the npotus??? come one people...again...can you really vote for this guy????

    July 10, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Blake

    He misspoke...

    He meant

    "The GOP is suffering from a mental recession that began after Teddy Roosevelt left office."

    July 10, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Swing Voter in Virginia

    McCain is such a LOSER!!! How can we vote for someone that is oblivious to the economic problems in this country?

    July 10, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Jon

    Gramm is wrong. I am really feeling the crunch of the recession. I can't even afford to fill up my H-2 anymore, and I'll have to pawn one of my three plasma screens so I can make my house payment. This economy stinks!

    July 10, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Concerned INDEPENDENT CT voter

    Mental..... Hmmm

    & by the way... When did "EXPERIENCE" in breathing mean your fit to be president... lets look at their judgement & foresight...

    Who can take the whole picture into consideration before jumping to action prematurely. Who can think clearly & isn't guided by rage?

    We are ALL suffering... No money to do anything extra... It's a reality


    July 10, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Obama 08: Female, 60, white

    What an incredibly false statement. Let's see if McCain holds his surrogate accountable as he does Obama for anything that is said.

    CNN should also cover McCain's comments about social security from yesterday. Senior voters who are supporting him should be aware of these as well.

    July 10, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Kevin, Little Rock

    I agree with you Philly Abe, who is the elitist now?

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. No McBUSH

    McLies doesn't know jack about the economy!!!

    Go back to the stone age, you will fit right in!

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. M.S. Indiana

    How can a man who have never had to work for a living know about how America is doing.. He have never been out in the slum or done any work for the poor America. With a wifes nice income where will he ever had to worry ??

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain, Bush and Gramm all do share the same views. McCain said the economy is fine and Bush didn't know it was failing. Phil Gramm like McCain wants Americans to forget about the economy as an issue in this election, vote John McCain, and do as McCain says and shut up. McCain and his followers are dangerous and if Bush didn't give people a heads up I don't know what it takes.

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Dee

    Oh jeez. So the gas prices are all in our head??

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Christopher, Madison, WI

    Wow and Jan from the cheater state of Florida speaks. Congratulations on your stupidity!

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Western

    While the media deserves a majority of fear based rhetoric, Fox News being the worst of all, isn't that what the Republican Party platform uses time and time again to promote their agenda?

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. mitch

    tar and feather him!!why cant these idiots just go play shuffleboard somewhere on their plush retirements?

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Monty Delaware GOP!!!!

    I am absolutely shocked!!!!!! How can anyone think this economy is not in a period of decline???? I guess it could always be worse... but wouldn't that be a depression????

    John McCain may not be out of touch.... but if he keeps getting advice from people who are... it won't be long before he will be.....

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. pat C.

    this is outrageous! if john MaCain has such a wonderful plan to put people back to work, lower gas prices and save housing for this country ...please tell me why he can't tell george bush and put these plans into action right now! this is hog wash on McCain's part and he is as clueless as bush and the rest of those old cronies in washington. don't think for a minute if the republicans had a plan ,they wouldn't be jumping on the bandwagan NOW to save their party this fall. a gas tax holiday AIN'T gonna happen and would do us no good three months from now. we MUST have a permanent solution and i can tell you the republicans don't have it!!!!
    if drilling is their big ace in the hole alot of us are gonna be doing without gas for the next 7 to 10 years waiting for the "new" US pipelines to start bringing in the finished product. McCain will probably die from old age before we see the results of drilling in our own country for more oil.
    we need to pray for obama everyday that nothing gets in his way for the benefit of this country.

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Major Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Your attention is invitied to the photo on the CNN website......that's mental regression.

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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