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. Jane-Des Moines

    If Graham was to lose his home by flood, fire or foreclosure, or his job and his health insurance, or all of his retirement savings due to a catastrophe in the family, do you think he would "whine?" Thousands of Americans are experiencing some sort of loss. Where's the sensitivity?

    July 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Deb

    Yeah, excuse us for whining about $4.00 plus gas, higher food prices, etc.

    July 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Jozee

    Anyone that can vote for McCain in good conscience should have their "mental recession" examined. Talk about out of touch!

    The stock market continuously spirals downward, the dollar is at an all time low, the housing sector is plummeting, and this is the best that McCain's economic adviser can do?

    Can McCain say "President Obama?"

    July 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. JimS.

    Any mental recession in American now is centered squarely at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    You want to see a REAL mental recession? Elect McCain and you'll get to listen to the likes of Phil Gramm spouting his mentally bankrupt words of wit.

    Start making plans to go back to Texas with your boy W, Phil. I think America has heard plenty enough from Texas for awhile, thankyouverymuch.

    July 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    It's not mental when I go to the pump and pay $4.59 for a gallon of gas. The people who lost their homes in the mortgage crisis that Phil Gramm helped start with his lobbying for UBS don't think it's mental. The people who won't be able to afford heating oil this winter (thanks in part to Gramm's wife's work in creating the so-called "Enron Loophole") won't think it's mental. This isn't whining, Mr. Gramm. This is what happens when the things people come to depend on start failing them.

    July 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Brent

    Who is the idiot that wrote this blurb. A few typos plus immature comments such as calling Graham McCain's BFF cause me to lose all respect for the opinion behind this entry.

    July 10, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Deena

    This was a terrible thing for McCain's aid to say. But did Brad Woodhouse really use the phrase, "BFF?" That's hilarious. lol!!

    July 10, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Danman

    Ah yes. The standard rich Republican response to the nations problems. "Let them eat cake".

    July 10, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Manuel TX

    Graham is correct to a large extent.

    The media is very much about generating headlines that sensationalize, exaggerate and distort to secure either page views or the sale of printed material.

    Why do you think that they have editors who's job it is to develop headlines. The people who actually author articles do not control the headline for their own articles.

    Anyone in media who is directly involved in the process can confirm this. And I can also confirm this from my own personal experience working with the media.

    I wonder if this comment will get deleted.


    July 10, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Jen

    ..."Phil Gramm’s comments are not representative of John McCain’s views."

    BULL. Phil Gramm's economic ideals are indeed John McCain's views. He's his *chief* economic advisor !

    The rising cost of food and energy is NOT all in my head.

    Weathervain McCain......his ideas change with whichever way the wind blows!!!

    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. wake up people....

    Yet the solution is so simple! All we need to do is find a Beer Heir/Heiress to marry!

    Saying McCain and his ilk are out of touch is kind. I think he's in a mental regression.

    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Kevin, Rochester, NY


    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. McViagra 3 times removed G. Pa

    Chryssa /That comment hit the nail on the head .

    For McSane's town hall meetings they go to near-by rest homes and recruit people so they will have a few people in attendance.

    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Peter

    Hahahahahaha... wow... I know McCain would never say that to the public himself, but to have his top economic advisor say that... phenomenal. The DNC couldn't buy sound bites like that. Just keep talking like that...

    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. James Hussein, SC

    There have been several occasions when either McCain or one of his close supporters has said something negative about the American people.

    The interesting thing is that the public has easily accepted everything that McCain has said about these harsh remarks with ease.

    There have been several occasions when Obama or one of his close supporters has said something negative about his opposition candidate.

    The strange American response has been to attack Obama.

    Hum. McCain bad-mouths the people, no problem.
    Obama bad-mouths the candidates, major problem.

    And the voters wonder why they are getting skewed.

    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. CJV

    This should be getting more press. I hope Obama's camp is as diligent at reminding the voters how McBush's team really feels about the economy as McBush is at attempting to portray Obama as a flip-flopper on the war.

    July 10, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. P. Morrison

    Why would a candidate feel compelled to "distance" himself from one of his "top advisors"? Wonder where Gramm gets his info.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-12

    July 10, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Elizabeth, VA

    I agree, people are whining about buying houses they can't afford, about the price of gas (still some of the lowest in the world) about health care which there is absolutely no constitutional or legal right to. People want everyone else to take care of them so that they can have what they want and when they want it. They should get off their butts and help themselves. There are a FEW in this country who can't, but most can. There are jobs, they might be low pay, but they are better then nothing, but people don't want them because the bunch of babies feel they deserve better! Grow up! Be men! Take care of yourselves and your families and don't buy things you can't afford!

    July 10, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. karl

    i think he is right i went to fill up my car and i thought the gas price was $4.59 a gallon that cant be right it must be just in my head what idiots the mcshame clan

    go obama

    July 10, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. Connie

    Yes, there is a mental recession of people who vote for John McSame.

    Also, I don't like what the Dems just did to booster GW FISA bill. I hate the fact that Barack voted for it.

    July 10, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Frank Draper

    Three comments for this story??

    The McCain campaign is saying that us hard-working Americans are WHINERS. McCain should try working a real job for a while. The gas prices are killing us out here and our jobs are all being shipped to China. My family can hardly even afford to buy groceries anymore!! And now the McCain campaign throws salt on the wound.

    McCain and his wife spend $750,000 a month on credit cards. This is true, look it up. He can't relate to average Americans.

    July 10, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Ms. Sims

    And who is out of touch and an elitist. American people dont need CNN or Faux New or any other news station to tell them the economy is in a rut! They see it when they look at their investments, bank accounts, at gas pumps, grocery stores, electric bill, jobs, houses and on and on. But of course who would expect the ultra rich to understand the problems of the "average" person.

    July 10, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Susan

    And people will vote for this MORON?????!!! We are in a recession because of the George Bush policies, which will be continued by McCain. Don't tell me I am mental when I see the prices are outrageous, and my income is smaller. How dare they insult our intelligence with kind of Republican "fell good" nonsense that they like to sppon feed us! How immoral are these people???

    July 10, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Nate

    It seems to me he's suggesting that the recession is in our heads, and it's not real. More than 75% of Americans and most economist believe we are in a recession. Furthermore people ARE struggling. Now Graham and McCain might have more than enough money so they aren't going hungry or have to forgoe things in life, but I'd say most Americans have had to make sacrifices. Some more than others. It's pretty absurd for Graham to belittle those sacrifices, because those struggles aren't real for him. This guy's an economist for McCain?? He doesn't have a clue.

    July 10, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Matt from NYC

    wow. American's are whiners eh? So lets suck it up and just take the hard times?

    No thank you McSame. I'll take an order of change from Chef Obama.

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