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. Tim

    Open foot and insert foot McSame!!!! The bigger question is why would McSame get advice from and economic advisor to fix the ecomony for a bunch of whiners who are in a mental recession any way? Now we know just how your campaign It was a slap in the face of every hardworking American and is insulting.

    July 10, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Is this a "for real" election?
    I can't believe McCain's campaign is this out of touch.

    July 10, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Tanner

    Exactly, why is he your advisor. This is a guy who needs to stay out of the White House.

    July 10, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Glenn

    Typical, McCain! Again, showing poor judgement on his part. Probably has mostly to do with his age and senility.

    July 10, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. TonyNJHC

    Might be time to look around for a different economic advisor. It is better to change horses in mid stream, then to drown.

    July 10, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. bridgette

    WOW. That is amazing. You economic advisor does not speak for you.

    July 10, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Soba, Clifton, NJ

    If you are wondering how we got into the housing mess, I have a name for you...Phil Gramm. He is the guy that lobbied for all the loopholes in the mortgage regulation. And now he works for McCain.

    July 10, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Rodney

    Mr. McCain stop being a hypocrite by saying Mr. Gramm doesn't speak for m, I've worked on campaign before and each camp will have an advisor whose job is to say outrageous comments and the candidate to say I don't agree with this person views. If you don't agree with what they say kick them out of your campaign. That will teach the surrogate to shut the hell up and be more careful of what they say in American politics I’ve heard so many apologies at this point it doesn’t mean anything anymore. I wonder whose cam is an Elitist “ American are whiners” if in a short period of time the price of food , food and gas have gone up but yet your pay doesn’t go up at the same rate you would start whining to. When you don’t leave pay check to pay check I can see why you wouldn’t whine, sorry to have disappointed you Mr. Gramm

    July 10, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Ms. GA

    How does he not speak for McCain when he is one of his top advisors?????

    July 10, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. RGiles

    Phil doesn't but George W does, or at least sets the agenda for you.

    July 10, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. seanm

    McCain is out of control. How out of touch is this guy and his team?

    July 10, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Doris,Memphis,TN

    So, this the new and improved McCain campaign.
    Carly come on.

    July 10, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Justmyopinion2008

    Yeah I got it he does not speak for you, so voters should note that all your economical proposal is FAKE because he helped you put it together!



    Thank You Sen. "Flip Flopper" "Panderer" McCain We now Got It!

    July 10, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Ken


    If this had been Obama, we won't have heard the end of it from people like you. Stop lying.

    July 10, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. E

    Is McCain Stupid?

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. ED FL

    Mccain already has one weasel as his mouthpiece [Lie-berman ] what would two big mouth weasels do for you . Gramm [ The Texan with brown eyes] . I think all those past and presnt GOP and independent senators need a week in the minneapolis airport as guests of Larry Craig to try and STRAIGHTEN things out before they make there usual fools of themselves. Gramm needs to be tried and put in jail. He has been a crook most of his life.

    July 10, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Donna

    Brooke..why WOULDN'T McCain repudiate his comments? He is running for President of a country with a weak economy...wouldn't you repudiate the comments too?


    July 10, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Enough Already!

    I put out the bat symbol.......We need a super hero. Where is Alan Greenspan? Maybe he can come out of retirement to help out the economy.

    July 10, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Mitchell Martin

    CNN, why are you not letting comments on to defend Gramm?

    “First, American is NOT in a recession, and any who thinks we are, doesn’t know what he is talking about. A recession is defined and 3 quarters of economic decline. In the last quarter, the economy grew by a half of percent, I do blieve. So, technically, we are not in a recession.”

    Right on principle, wrong on facts.

    The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters with negative real growth (GDP typically), not three; although you are correct in that we are not in a technical recession.

    Last quarter growth was a modest 1% which was revised up from May’s 0.9% and the original figure was 0.5%.

    July 10, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Dani, Seattle

    I hope the people from ENRON come out in droves against Phil GREED. How dare he say such a thing. Does he think nobody remembers that he was involved in the Enron scandal? McCain is really losing it. Americans please use your brain this time around. Lord, I think I might have to seriously start researching living in Canada, and I love my country, but I'm not going to let these greedy robots take away my life.

    July 10, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    BYE BYE GERIATRIC ELITISTS! Go home and have Momma buy you another jet...

    July 10, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Mitchell Martin

    For once some one has hit the nail on the head. I hear so much whining about every subject there is. If people would use the energy that it takes to whine to take some possitive action they would see a world of difference. Politicans are a leading factor in the whining business followed by the news media. OB (stinkey) is one of the bigest whiners carring his message ? to thousand of people who whine along with him. By the way did you hear OB (stinkey) suggest we learn Spanish? He has something up his sleeve besides his arm. OB (stinkey) also voted along with HC against making the English language the American language. Well like the guy who states that English is spoken here, don’t get me started.

    July 10, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Angel Long

    Phil Gramm is absolutely correct when calling this “a nation of whiners.” It holds true for the people of this great nation, its elected officials, and the media who fuels socialist thought. We have become a country of entitlement where it is expected that the government will solve all our ills and provide for our quality of life. This nation deserves what it gets when it elects an Obama who will raise taxes, increase debt by enlarging existing entitlement programs and creating even more than Bush has, and will weaken our foreign diplomacy. But at least the media will see the “real change” it keeps hyping.

    July 10, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Rusty, Portland

    Jesse Jackson told it like it is--Obama is now in favor of the same handguns that are killing blacks every day-over 500 gunned down since the beginning of the year in Chicago--

    Obama is in favor of anything that he thinks will get him the white vote-but guess what? It's not happening and the polls show it-

    July 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Matt, Chicago

    I was better off two years ago when I received a raise every year because business was good.

    Now, all I see is higher prices across the board. More unemployment and I, unlike the others are taking into consideration all those that have RUN OUT OF BENEFITS and are no longer counted as, "unemployed" for the monthly stat figures.

    Heating costs are going to be rising shortly and forget about health care.


    A bitter whiner

    July 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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