July 10th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain: 'Phil Gramm does not speak for me'

BELLEVILLE, Michigan (CNN) –- John McCain forcefully repudiated comments by his national campaign co-chair Phil Gramm Thursday, telling reporters, “Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me.”

Gramm had said in a newspaper interview that the country is merely in a “mental recession,” and called America a “nation of whiners” when it comes to the slumping economy.

Campaigning in the economically lagging state of Michigan – which suffers from has the highest unemployment rate in the nation – McCain held a press conference and quickly disavowed Gramm’s remarks.

“I don’t agree with Sen. Gramm,” McCain said. “I believe that the person here in Michigan that just lost his job isn’t suffering a mental recession. I believe the mother here in Michigan and around America who is trying to get enough money to educate their children isn’t whining.”

“Phil Gramm does not speak for me,” he said. “I speak for me.”

Democrats immediately seized on Gramm’s comments. Barack Obama, attacked both McCain and Gramm at a campaign event in Virginia, saying: “America already has one Dr. Phil. We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy.”

McCain responded to those comments with another pop culture reference which has become one of his favorite lines on the stump.

“He is Dr. No,” McCain said of Obama, before listing a series of energy policy proposals, such as expanding nuclear energy and offshore drilling, that the Illinois senator has opposed.

Filed under: John McCain • Phil Gramm
soundoff (384 Responses)
  1. Chris from NY

    Phil Gramm doesn't speak for you but he is your campaign's economic advisor. Go figure. There is nothing hidden that shall not be made public. I will remeber this come November.

    July 10, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. not important

    So why is he your economic advisor?

    July 10, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Marcus B

    GREAT WORK CNN!!! Post a million stories about how McCain doesn't agree. Had Obama said this, you would have jumped down his throat. Gramm meant every word, and when you consider he is writing the policies that McCain has been regurgitating lately, McCain believes it too. They are out of touch like 95% of the GOP elected officials. Obama knows what it's like to struggle!


    July 10, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. steve Marshall, MN

    Oh yea! I just hope you didn't have an alzheimer moment because you should remember that you said yourself that you dont have a clue about economy. You are specialized in BOOM BOOM iran, right. He is your top advicer for the love of america.Should he then resign like you claimed Gen. Clark should. Didn't think so. I just think this is something that McCain must believe in.

    July 10, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. T GUY


    July 10, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. obamacrat

    Sorry McCain but when you have already admitted to not knowing much about the economy and your top economic advisor make commits related to the economy, he DOES speak for you. Remember McCain, you brought Phil on because he knows more than you do when it comes to the economy.

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. gluv

    "that's not the phil graham i knew"

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Mike

    Sorry McBush. Gramm is Your chief economic advisor. He does in fact speak for you or else he would not occupy that position. Liar !

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. JIM...TX

    Do we really believe McBush doesn't think the same thing as Gramm??? I think so.

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Chris

    Phil Gramm doesn't speak for you McCain?

    What about Wesley Clark's comments last week and sticking them to Obama? OR any of his other supporters whom you've stuck comments to Obama with??


    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Hey old elitists, shut up! And let America speak!

    Hey elitists McSame and Phil and Bushes, shut up and let America speak! Watch as america takes back America, crazy old mentally recessed elitists! How many people will you say dont speak for you when they actually speak for and to you? 1st Black, now Phil, and the train goes on and on. Make sure you fire this one for sure, McShame!

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. saga4obama

    "i speak for me"-John McCain.
    well Johnny you have not said anything we want to hear, don't forget John, you also said that this is psychological. i would love for someone at one of his town meetings to ask 1) what really happened aboard the USS Forrestal July 29, 1967.
    2) why wont he release his military records?
    3) how many lobbyist are actually running his campaign and what favors will they be getting under a McCain regime?

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Pam, WI

    Of course he is not speaking for you, he is just expressing how he feels. Which is probably how you feel.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. John, Brooklyn, New York

    So...just to clarify....John McCain doesn't agree with Phil Gramm because he thinks we're not whiners...or that the economic hard times are all in our heads...or both. C'mon McCain campaign...first, get your advisors in line and second, be clear about what it is you are refuting.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. captain

    So John McCain's chief economic adviser doesn't speak for him?

    I think he speaks loud and clear.

    Perhaps what he meant to say was that no one at the Country Club whines.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. JESSIE

    IF Phil Graham doesn't speak for Mccain than why is he his economic advisor and is refered to when speaking of the economy. Besides I think both Mccain and Graham have the same message. Mccain said a couple of weeks ago the problems were having with the economy and energy plan was psychological. Today Graham makes a simular comment that were a nation of whinners and our failing economy is mental. I guess if your rich and fly around in your wifes private jet who by the way spends $ 750,000. a month would think Americans struggling in a failing economy is psychological. The truth is Mccain isn't interested in solving economic crisis just staying at war for 100 years.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Lisa in Ga.

    McCain please, we all know that next week..... you won't remember saying this!

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Hit man

    Ho yes he does. He speaks for you alright!!

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Obama 08

    What does this say for McCain when Gramm is his economic advisor? This is the person who's giving MCain advice on the economy and he thinks the Americans being hit financially are whiners?

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. prairieguy

    He is your TOP Economic Advisor...not just a surragate or plain supporter.

    He helped you come up with your do nothing economic plan.

    Duh...you both seem to have had a mental recession in regards to what is happening in America!!!

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. ANGIE

    liar liar john we all know deep down you feel the same way he does with your filthy millonaire wife and your 5 houses and your 700000 dollars credit spending

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Brad

    He works for you, does he not? Did you fire him Johnny? If you are THAT out of step with your own team, how can you possibly lead a whole country? If a simple birth control question flusters you, how in the hell can you manage a war? You can't.

    The depth of McCain's incompetence becomes more apparent each day. Gramm is right about one thing though. We need some real leadership. Unfortunately, he knows not where to find it.

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. mitchell martin

    yes he does and we wont forget it! whiners unite! take these thieves to the cleaners.you just lost the vote of 95% of the people of the usa!a lot of that 5% wealthiest americans dont like you either.

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Greg, NY

    Well guess what Senator. General Clark doesn't speak for Obama either. So what's your point?

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Jan

    I much prefer Dr Phil to Dr No...even if he is as old as JM–last I heard, the Young-uns like him too! With age comes intelligence and wisdom.

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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