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. Tired of W, OH

    Jan, are you for real? Sure, it's all in my head that I'm paying $4 per gallon for gas. I'm just imagining that my grocery bill has gone up about 50%.

    Now, remember voters. The republicans have absolutely no sympathy for the American people. Everything's our fault, OK? Corporate greed and $50 billion per month in Iraq have nothing to do with it, OK? Maybe McCain's economic strategy will be to provide psychiatric help to all Americans, because it's all in our heads, right?

    July 10, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Janey for McCain

    Ist–McCain did not say that–CNN is only making the headline look like he did. I would actually have to agree with the person who DID say it. We all know that a number of democrats are whiners and victims from reading CNN blogs. A lot of us repubs are hurting too, but we do not expect govt to pull us up. we work harder to do it ourselves–"ask not what your country can do for you". go McCain 2008–the only choice

    July 10, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Old Stradlater

    Gramm couldn't be more wrong. Most Americans just want decent wages. They are willing to work hard, but they worry most about feeding their family and getting health insurance for their children.

    Could you imagine wanting those things? Geez, what a bunch of whiners... they just want EVERYTHING, don't they?

    July 10, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Lake Michigan

    Gramm is wrong. We are a nation of VOTERS. And McCain will NOT be getting our votes. Just ask the thousands and thousands of people that lost their jobs this year. Corporate greed is out of control, and people's families are suffering because of it.

    July 10, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. it's true ...

    America is a nation of whiners! It's ridiculous how America has become the "victim nation" where nobody takes personal responsibility. You got into debt, moron, so now deal with it! It's not the government's place to bail you out when you were stupid! ... It's about time somebody spoke the truth instead of fear-mongering like Mr. Obama does. "The sky's falling and I'm going to save us all." Uh, Chicken Little was wrong, but he sure scared a lot of critters along the way ... kind of like fear-mongering Obama.

    July 10, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    Well I hope McDoNothin is able to cover everyone with this particular mental illness. I hear its contageous and most Americans are showing symptoms of this 'mental' recession.

    McCain you have the wrong guy speaking for you... I guess we poor regular Americans are just a 'nation of whiners' as stated by this surrogate.

    Who's elitist again?

    July 10, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Republicans are out of touch

    He is such an out of touch moron, it is pathethic. Do we need any more proof that mccain and the republicans could care less about americans? And they had a nerve to try and call Obama an elitist??? Incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Mary/Michigan

    McCain did not say that, democrats–stop whining and get a job. You will feel much better about yourselves.

    July 10, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. 'whiner'

    WITH ONE OF THOSE GUY'S SUITS,I COULD FEED MY KIDS FOR A MONTH.sorry,didn't mean whine,but,my kids are hungry,today.

    July 10, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Abby

    Why don’t you mentally put some gas in my car, you elitist peice of republican do-do?!

    July 10, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Carl29

    I wonder is this comments will help McCain in the question: Understand the problems of people like me.... I don't know, but let's see what the "whiners" think.

    July 10, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Chris from NY

    How someone in this country can say that this current economic hardship is only in people's head is beyond me. It's either Phil Gramm is living in another country or another planet. I may not have on this planet that long but this is the first time the economic crises has hit globally. The last time I checked America is still on this globe called earth.

    July 10, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. "Whining" & WORKING HARD in Virginia!

    I'm just so sick of my taxes being blow overseas and now that's not even enough. I have to blow more $$ at the pump and in the grocery store! I have two jobs...what else does our government want me to do?

    July 10, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Too funny. They guy freely admits he is incompetent when it comes to economics, and now is 'backing away' from one of his top economic advisors. Not that the economic advisor is right, quite honestly the guy is a moron. But it does showcase how inept at 'leading' John McCaine is. Once again he picks a true mistake.

    McCain, you are a joke with a record of treason, infidelity and incompetence. Please do us all a favor and crawl back into the stone ages.

    July 10, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Wally

    AHHHH, so now the truth comes out. This is how the person who wrote the Enron loophole sleeps at night. This is how a patsy to the oil magnates closes his eyes and breaths peacefully. He is convinced that he is only screwing whiny grandmothers and "mentally recessed" blue collar workers out of their lunch money.....

    July 10, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Unempressed

    – Corporate tax cuts
    – Tax cuts for the rich
    – No energy solutions from the White House
    – Tens of Trillions spent on a war
    – Katrina and flooding lack of support
    – Lessoning education financial aid
    – Lack of addressing mortgage crises by White House
    – Unbalanced budget that will leave our children in increasingly more debt
    – Jobs being shipped overseas and not being protected by the White House
    etc. etc

    We're all whiners? How about you not make six figures and we take your job away Mr. Gramm? Oh yea, you don't qualify for healthcare eaither...

    July 10, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Bij- New York

    i wonder what the media would have done with this if it were an obama adviser...Anything Mcain say's is "a joke" but every thing obama say's is over analyzed...i guess different standards apply in the media as we...

    July 10, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Andrew in OR

    Jan, I hope you end up in the gutter so you may be able to step off your pedestal.

    July 10, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. Chanda-Cincinnati

    iIguess I am just imagining that I am paying double for gas a month and at the grocery store than I was a couple a years...hell a few months ago. This man's entire campaign is out of touch with regular, everyday, hard working, Americans. When you and your cronies are sitting on millions, I guess it does not really matter what hardships the people you are trying to lead are going through!!! I am waiting for someone to catch him off guard with a "hot mic" so we can ovehera him telling Karl Rove "Let them eat cake"!!!!!!! Please people, being a POW and in DC for years does not make you more qualified to run this country!!! WAKE UP AND STOP EATING WHAT THE GOP AND PUMA ARE SHOVELING!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Andrea, DC

    If we are whiners, it's because of weiners like Phil Graham, who walk over the people's trust by writing laws, as a lobbyist, that will be in he and his wife's best interest. Of course John- you-can-buy-me McCain goes along with this.

    Shame on Phil and John, two wealthy men who couldn't care less about the struggles of the average person. That's why I'm supporting Barack Obama to clean up the trash in Washington, D.C.

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. D-uh

    Birds of a feather people...Birds of a feather. If you think that McShame's best friend has these views and he DOESN'T share them you're foolin' yourself...

    July 10, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Johnny

    Over 300,000 foreclosures nationwide,fuel at record prices,the people's confidence in their elected leaders at an all time low: HOW BAD DOES IT HAVE TO GET FOR SOMEONE TO ADMIT THAT WE NEED A NEW DIRECTION? We cannot just "Smile & Wave" and pretend that we as a nation are on top of our game. That some how psysco-symaticaly we think that we are in dire straits therefore we are. Bull, if we dont do something different we will get the same results, its time for a change. Obama 08.

    July 10, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. ANGIE

    i guess the economist are mental why is everything with mccain and camp psychological?????

    July 10, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Brian

    Give me a freakin break... I struggle to pay the bills while McCain and Graham have millions... I've had enough of their BS

    July 10, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Not fooled by distractions

    Hmmm....this sounds distinctly like Obama's clinging to guns and religion remark. Only worse. I hope he gets railed on it because I doubt there's any "regular working folks" that aren't feeling the pinch in some way. I'm sorry mr. gramm, but I am not a whiner – and it's not all in our heads that many have to choose between groceries and gas. It's not a metal recession. Good lord, what planet is this joker living on!!!! After seeing this, if you honestly think that the McCain admin/campaign would truly be looking for the best interests of working folks, you can forget it. He'd just tell us it's all in our heads – everythings great. He reminds me a little too much of GWB on that account. Delusional.

    July 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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