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. EMJ

    No Country for Old Men!
    He's a 'fake' conservative and we know it.

    He so delusional he thinks everyone is 'my friends...'

    McCainiacs are mad because there's a black man stealing their show.

    July 10, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Angry in Va

    Let me tell you about mental recession. For the first time in my life of 57 years, I'm a single parent, without a job, with a great fixed 5.5 mortgage, UNEMPLOYED

    July 10, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. georgia

    That would be fine if you could remember your "script"

    July 10, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Michelle

    Mr. Teleprompter Obama, we know all about your

    We know how your wife got an almost $200,000 raise after
    you took office.

    We know how you helped the slumlords get rich while the poor in your own community suffered.

    Obama, you are a phony.

    July 10, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |


    July 10, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. aware

    McCain 08 – forget the guy whose only value is to win!

    The great pretender, Obama, mocks everyone. He thinks all Americans are stupid. He doesn't just pick on Blacks or Hispanics. He picks on those bitter...Whites too! 🙁

    After all, no one should have the audacity to question the great one with his wealth of experience at obfuscation and manipulation.

    Obama has absolutely no moral center or core principles!

    July 10, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Kyle

    He actually does speak for you. You gave him a title and a position so that he could speak for you.

    July 10, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. toni vierra

    Everytime someone says or does something the people don't like, they don't speak for you, or you don,t agree with them but the next thing we turn our backs your seen doing something with them again.(LIKE BUSH)

    July 10, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    He used the phrase "Nation of whiners." Doesn't that mean everybody?

    July 10, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Phil in KC

    His national campaign co-chair does not speak for him? That is a campaign in disarray. They should be completely sync'ed up and the co-chair should be able to speak on his behalf. Of course, picking Gramm, in the first place, was a move of political expediency.

    July 10, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    McCain is smart to do this..........not so smart to hire him in the first place though.

    July 10, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Chris, Denver CO

    This is the guy who is supposed to lend Senator McCain an air of credibility on the economy. He most certainly does speak for the senator, until he is "cut loose."

    July 10, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Belle2

    And so, Obama mocks Gramm-he is always mocking someone. We do not need apologies nor denouncing; candidates say stupid things sometimes but they should not be judged by what others say. The media needs to be objective and just let the voters decide; the candidates need to stop apologizing, denouncing, and expecting others to apologize.

    July 10, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Maya wants to see a DEM IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!

    this is SOOOOOOO much worse than the "bitter" comment.


    July 10, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. ProundToBeDemocrat

    Look who is talking the double talk express if you do not agree with him why is he your adviser then, why don't you reject and fire him. Old man at your age you should be at church praying for all of us not lying just to be a president. MCshame, McLie,Mcwarmonger it you can not do it time to quit.

    July 10, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Lesley

    Aware, which article are you responding to, because your comments don't belong here. And if this doesn't show that McCain will say anything to get elected, even if it means dissing his own economic adviser, nothing will.

    July 10, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Bigbubba

    Phil Graham is just like Karl Rove. They think the rest of the country is just mistaken about the economy. Phil thinks, and I am using this in the loosest of possible interpretations, that a family getting a house repossesed and not able to pay for both medication and food is just a bunch of whiners. Rove, in turn, says that he is above both the rule of law and the mandates of the congress.
    These people are Republican leaders. They are the kind of people who have led us from a budget surplus to downward spilaling economy. And now they want to put a candidate in office who knows even less about the economy than the current idiot. I am having trouble see an up side to this.

    July 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Bibek

    Clerk said something and it is on McCain's website as if Obama himself said those words.. and now McBush's own adviser insults us Americans and "Phil doesnt speak for me!!"

    What is BIG Hypocrit


    July 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. The Surly Scholar

    You appointed him your chief economic adviser, John. He speaks for you. Stop trying to sidestep his remarks.

    July 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. My Friend

    Hmmn, If Gramm is the McCain campaign economic adviser he does speak for him...

    July 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    repudiate schemudiate, this is pure Rovian Republican Tactics 101-let someone else say the nasty stuff, then you can just repudiate it and the dumbdumb whiners will just let it slide.

    every week mccain gets more and more out of touch with reality, this week he wants to kill the iranians with cigarettes and doesnt know enough about viagra and birth control to answer a VERY simple question?!?!

    he CHOSE to have Pig Gramm as his economic advisor, and it's YET ANOTHER exptremely poor decision made by a guy who wants to run MY country--I DONT THINK SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i think something VERY sinister is up with the neoCONs, they hate mcCON and havent gotten near as nasty as we all KNOW they will--they either have some kind of extremely nasty october surprise planned (that WILL kill americans, and most likely on our own soil), or they are busy bribing and blackmailing their best choice for VP to either take over after mcCON croaks or steamrolls right over his presidency.

    something very UGLY is going to happen b/c of the vile neoCONs. people thought we were paranoid and crazy when we talked about the war being about oil and cheney's connection to haliburton, and those things are now common knowledge!

    and one more thing, WHY ISNT CARL ROVE IN JAIL YET?!?!?!?!?!!?!!?

    talk about arrogant and ELITIST, the neoCONs have cornered the market on that one!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. stuart_zechman

    What he should have said is that Democrats and Obamabots are the nation of whiners because that is all Democrats and Obamaacolytes have done since 2000.

    You are a bunch of whiny whiner crybabies!!!!!

    Go McCain!

    July 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. A Hillary Supporter For McCain

    You go McCain...just remember your stance in 2000 and 2004...you were a Maverick and we all want the old McCain back. It is time for you to speak your own mind and do not let any one else do it for you. You are "OUR BEST HOPE" to turn this country around and we believe in you. Please speak your own mind like you did in 2000 and 2004 and you will wrap up this election. One suggestion... how about Hillary for Vice President!!! Good Luck John and I love your wife Cindy..she is great.... from a Democratic Latino voting for McCain.....

    July 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Judy from TX

    Don't forget – Phil Gramm's wife sat on the board of Enron when Enron folded. When all the Enron stuff went down, Phil decided not to run for re-election of his Senate Seat. He was given a seat on the Board of Regents of Texas A&M instead. In fact, Phil Gramm's wife was a member of the Board of Director's Audit Committee, so she knew all about how Enron cooked the books and did nothing.

    Phil Gramm received millions in donations from Enron. If Phil Gramm is advising McCain on economics, it's only a matter of time before the 'so called media' ties the Enron failure to Gramm, and then it'll tie to McCain too.l

    July 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. sparkes

    Funny how HYPOCRITICAL McCain and the rest of the republic are. when Barak Obama makes comments that are taken out of context, or when other people "close" to Obama says thing, they jump down thier throat, attempting to wipe the floor with them. However Phil can stand there and say the fact that I have lost over $6,000 in my 401k is all in my head, and it is OK. What is wrong with these people? And further more what is wrong with these IDIOTS who cannot see that McCain is really just an older george Bush. He might be new to the game, but Obama is what America really needs to turn this country around, not George Bush x3. Stop the madness people, how much longer can the regular guy suffer? Cindy MCCain is worth billions, you think she care about the price of gas or a loaf of bread? I don't think so!

    July 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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