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. Jeff

    Phil Graham is a moron.

    July 10, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Keith in Rhode Island

    It's easy to label those affected by the poor economy as 'whiners' if you are a wealthy person. Phil Graham couldn't possibly understand what it feels like to not have his basic needs met. He is just another rich, pompous blowhard.

    July 10, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Thanks for all the Fish

    And they call Democrats elitist????????

    Obviously Mr. Gramm doesn't have any financial worries or has any clue of what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck – and he is one of McCain's economic advisers?

    I forgot that to the Republicans it is no longer "We The People, For the People" but "I'll Do as I Darn Well Please and to Heck with Who Disagrees!"

    July 10, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    How is it a mental recession when I lost my home remodeling business during the housing crunch? How is this a mental recession when I have submitted over 200 job applications and interviews, gone to 31 job interviews during the past 19 months to be told I am over qualified for the postion? How is it a mental recession when I am forced to give up my vehicle because I can no longer afford to put gas in it let alone make the payments? It seems to me that the McCain camp again has no clue as to what is happening!

    July 10, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. John Anthony Castro

    What's wrong with what he said? Doesn't everyone have a US Senate Pension and million dollar trust funds? Stop whining and buy a bike to get to work. Sell the home you can't afford and get an apartment. Come on peasants, use those primitive brains of yours.

    July 10, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Robert in Dallas

    I have two words for you...

    Enron Loophole

    July 10, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. clarence virginia beach va

    can you believe these guys. His is mentally retarded.

    July 10, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Ryan

    This is insane. McCain's ECONOMIC ADVISER calling people with economic troubles are whiners?!?! Wow.. just wow

    July 10, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. PUMA for BARR

    that's why it can only be Barr

    July 10, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. jamaal kansas

    Of course it is whining to a person that has benefitted off of the last 7 years as Mcshame and his colleagues have but Obama is and Elitst this is funnie because time shows the character of a man. so we are whinning because gas prices 4.10 for regular or because milk is 4.50 a gallon and when we go to the store we get 20% less food than we did 2 years ago we are whinning NO WE ARE NOT WHINING WE ARE ANGRY AND COME NOVEMBER I AM TAKING ALL MY WHINING OUT ON THE REPUBLICANS!

    July 10, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Bob

    The only "mental Recesssion" around here is from Obama the mental midget who is constantly saying "I regret"

    I regret Rezko
    I regret Rev. Wright
    I regret My kids doing an interview
    I Regret William Ayers
    I regret the bad real estate decisions

    Guy seems to have quite a bit of "regret" for a first term Senator.

    Google Obama and Regret...... You will get over 1 million hits unreal.

    Instead of "Hope" and "Change" he offers us regret with his poor decisions. Nice choice democrats

    July 10, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. urbantexan

    Phil Graham is one arrogant SOB... helping steal from the poor so this rich sucka can flaunt his arrogance in our faces when Millions of American are suffering now. I say confiscate that goverment credit card you use , that WE pay. I would surely get locked up if I meet this man on the streets, cause I'd put my foot in his behind !!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. THE O

    With all these old guys, watching mcains campaign is like watching
    the Antique road show, except there is nothing in his campaign worth keeping!!!!!!!

    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!


    July 10, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. patricia snyder

    i live in west virginia a poor state what about the people who want to work but can not aford to pay the gas, child care, etc... to travel 100 miles a day to get a job that is worth and will at least pay for the necessities in life my childern are grow i can not imagine to pay for everything plus the cost of a child what about the people that want to work 5.25 a hour does not even pay for the cost to get to ajob we need to get it toghter and help the people who try but keep getting kicked down because they do not have a 6 digit income thank u !

    July 10, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Take America Barack

    People actually want this senile, out of touch, elite old goat to be the Our next President? Iv'e heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession, in the minds of McSame supporters.

    July 10, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. randy

    He already admited that he dont know much about economy only that admmition speaks volume.

    July 10, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Marcus B

    Jan from Boca Raton:

    I get the feeling you are not too bright considering you spell Senator Gramm's name incorrectly and it's spelled a hundred times in the article above. And how can you say he is right when we have 47,000,000 uninsured Americans, millions facing home foreclosures due to shoddy lending practices, failing public schools and rising college tuition, and gas and grocery prices skyrocekting? There is nothing "mental" about the state of our economy. We have businesses closing stores, airlines firing pilots and charging for frequent flyer miles, and hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs. GET REAL! Again, there is nothin "MENTAL" about these facts, and CHANGE is necessary!

    OBAMA/SEBELIUS 2008-2016!!!!

    July 10, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. TPage

    I think Graham is right, to a certain extent. There is definitely a better way to say this and he should know how this makes McCain look. The media incessantly shoves down our throat that the American economy is in dire straits when in fact, although in a lull, we are not in a recession and America's GDP is growing. American's start believing it because of the increase in price of certain items such as gas and food, we tend to act like the country is falling apart. The economy has historically been a wave pattern and this is natural. Nobody was complaining when the housing market was booming and people were making money hand over fist...as a matter of fact, the media refused to report how good the economy was doing then!

    American's are resilient people and like we always do, we need to suck it up and drive on until things pick back up again. Now to follow, a bunch of ignorant immature name calling...proceed.

    July 10, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. captain

    Republicans out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans?

    I'm shocked.

    The 2000 John McCain wouldn't vote for the 2008 John McCain.

    July 10, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. mitchell hussein martin

    I agree! Graham is right!! I may support Obama, but sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself and realize that it is the media who is telling you how to feel. It is the media who is telling you that everything is so bad because they know that as Americans, all we want to hear is bad news.

    July 10, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Angi's mom

    Well, this whiner is voting Democrat.

    July 10, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. jonny

    Just because Gramm has lots of money and is doing well, does not mean the rest of the country is in the same situation. What a snob!

    July 10, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    he is right . the economy is not doing great but it is not in the dumper. we have not even seen a recession yet. The people are reacting to the media not to economic problems. Aside from gas the Economy is not that bad. The housing market will recover. most people that lost a home to foreclosure did so due to the Clinton sub prime rate deal. They got a house with a low adjustable rate and could not afford any higher rate. so in reality we all knew that this was coming. personally i have no problem with the market . I have got 3 houses in the last 4 years and i am renting them out. So no mater what the market/ economy dose it can be good for the individual.

    July 10, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Mike

    Ooops Freudian slip time again. The truth will out. Not only does McBush not understand the economy. He does not care. He and his multi Millionaire Buddies think that people who cannot afford gas to drive to work, Are Whinners! Can't wait for Cindy to be overheard laughing and saying 'let them eat cake'.

    July 10, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. ET from OMAHA

    This people in this old veteran campaign are nut. Because they have lot of money to the point they don't know what to do with it does not give them the right to insult us trying to make it DAY BY DAY, PAY CHECK per PAY CHECK.
    What a shamefull this country bill be if this buch of idiots win in november.

    July 10, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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