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. Mark

    I wouldnt call it a mental depression but a hard fact depression period. I dont think Graham is hurting in the pocket one bit and if McCain is elected he wont worry about hurting for at least another four years. The simple fact the rich dont live of the poor they feed off of us, look at the numbers of poor verse rich big diffrence. So the economy should be the number 1 fact because if we stop buying and start to look at what we need not what we want and what we can do with out, then the rich will start to look at the economy as fact 1 because there style of living will start to demenish and the the rich will start to panic like us poor

    July 10, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. brice, greenville, south carolina

    i'm sure teflon john will get pounded on for one day about this and friday everyone will have forgoten about it. then saturday will roll around and teflon john will accuse obama of being out of touch. it's easy to be fooled if you only half way pay attention and just listen to the sound bites once a week, but if you actually pay attention you can't be lied to and manipulated like the republicans are trying to do. the internet and youtube are keeping them honest. finally.

    July 10, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. hojo

    The Republicans are trying to smear Obama with the "elitist and snobbish" label. Gramm's comments reveal so much about the Republicans and reflect who the real elitist in this country are. This is the same guy that is advising McCain on the economy. His comments are far worse and demeaning than anything Barack Obama intended by his "clining to guns and religion" comment.

    July 10, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. Bill from Woodstock

    What an idiot. And this from the man who helped bring us Enron. The fact that McCain actually continues to use Phil Gramm as an economic advisor is beyond me. With the very serious concerns all Americans have regarding the economy, this is the leadership we get from the McCain camp! Good grief. Unless McCain at least tries to understand the economy, and the real hard financial issues real Americans face day in and day out, there is no way he will become the next President of the United States. Talk about elitist and out of touch!

    Have a nice day.

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. alone in VT

    But to those who expect the government to give / provide / handout everything, its not hard to see that this economic cycle (like many before) could be the end of the wrold. Look at France, the government provides plenty and they are doing great....(wink)

    This is an economic cycle people, people do need help its true, but this is still the greatest nation on earth and we will get through this and be better than ever, with or without the right political leaders. Its the FREE ECONOMY, STUPID!!!!

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. larry buchas

    Not everyone is in the same income bracket as Phil Gramm.

    Perhaps he's an out of touch elitist?

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Kasha

    While not a supporter of McCain, I do agree somewhat with Mr. Gramm. We Americans are a spoiled lot, used to having all of the wasteful, fuel-guzzling toys that we want. That cannot go on. I think we will be better off in the long-run, with a cleaner environment and a better quality of life. In the meantime things might be tough and there will be a lot of whining.

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |

    There's your candidate pumas. Congrats.

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. gina

    I guess thats why McCain offers "psychological" solutions for our "mental" problems
    Meanwhile he is the only one with a "mental" problem

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Eli from Ohio

    John McCain's campaign thinks that the American People are a bunch of whiners?

    We're a bunch of whiners when we fork out $4.50 a gallon for Gasoline for our commute to work?

    We're a bunch of whiners when milk costs $4 a gallon at the grocery store?

    We're a bunch of whiners when electricity and natural gas costs have doubled or even trippled?

    We're a bunch of whiners, when we lose our jobs when they are shipped to China or India?

    We're a bunch of whiners when the stock market is in constant turmoil?

    We're a bunch of whiners when small businesses like the one I work for are struggling to survive in this "mental recession" as McCain's top advisor put it?

    Give me a break!

    Here's a new slogan....

    John McCain: Change You Can Never Save Because You Are Forced To Use It All on Gas, Food, and Energy Bills!

    July 10, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Of course! Thanks to the likes of George W. Bush!!!

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

    And they tried to call Obama an elitist? Phil Gramm has made a fortune working the system and peddling influence. He owes everything to our system that allows corrupt politicians to prosper. I'm sure he has nothing to "whine' about.. McCain may say that Gramm does not represent him, but the guy is his campaign co-chair and one of the people who put words in Mccains mouth on subjects like the economy. No wonder the government doesn't do anything for us. They don't think we exist. "If the peasants have no bread, let them eat cake" These guys have got to be kicked to the curb.

    July 10, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. jds

    Well when you're rich as all get out, I'm sure the problems of all us pleebs sound alot like whining. (sarcasm)

    July 10, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Keith

    Senator Gramm, go crawl back in the hole from where you came from. Republican dirtbag.

    July 10, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. what

    is mcwar ok.

    July 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Richard, Oakland, CA

    This another reason why, thankfully, McCain is not going to be president.

    July 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. dan

    let them eat cake. its not that bad i am leaving for the hamptons tomorrow....

    July 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Brian

    He is going to distance himself from the comments his adviser said..... but he will not distance himself from his adviser and his adviser will not apologize because that is how he feels. A next Dick Cheney???

    July 10, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Biff, hussein Biffington

    Jan from Boca....

    you are obviously a millionaire.....

    (or an idiot)...

    July 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Marcus Allen

    Barrack says that "hope" will fix everything.
    How is that different from saying "stop whining"?

    July 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Joe

    This is very significant and needs more coverage than it's being given. John McCains TOP ECONOMIC ADVISER thinks Americans are "whinners" and have "mental recession" for complaining about the economy and the media is subdued in its coverage; this is outrageous and goes to show that the media are McCains sychophants. How can someone with such a mindset advice the GOP nominiee on economic issues and propose any effective strategy to fix the economy when he sees no problem, and equates peoples' legitimate concerns to whinning? America, this is a wake up call that McCain won't do anything to help revive the economy because our economic woes are psychological, it is all in our heads!

    July 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Z

    And this is Uncle Fester's Top Eco Advisor...Great...

    USA a third world country here we come...but we will have our guns to help feed us because all the good jobs will be gone and we will be killing wildlife to stay alive.

    July 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. BV

    Gee wiz , JAN FROM BOCA RATON, FL., how do you support that? Are you saying that there are not economic problems facing Americans today? I'm sure in Senator McCains world there aren't but in the real world you simply can't deny it.
    For Senator McCain to even hint that economic problems facing Americans are psychological is a slap in the face to those who are finding it extremely difficult to provide for their families.
    If you truly believe this you are as out of touch and as uncaring as Senator McCain apparently is. Maybe you don't have to worry but could you please put yourself in the shoes of others who are worrying. I absolutely gringe when I think of the lack of knowledge that some people display when making a decission as important as electing a President with out taking the time to realize the issues at stake.
    Jan, start reading the news and listening to what is going on. YES, THERE ARE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS FACING AMERICANS TODAY.
    You must be lucky to not be one of them.

    July 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse NY

    well i guess it is easy to forget that we are on hard times when you have hundreds of millions of dollars to get you through those hard times.

    July 10, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Chris

    He just called America "a nation of whiners" and this is McCain's top economic advisor, who McCain gives questions to that he doesn't understand and he expects us to say nothing?

    July 10, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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