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. Dinah, OK

    Oh yes he does speak for your John, because you don't know much about the economy.

    Don't worry, after November Graham will be a non-factor.

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Really?

    If you don't agree with your economic advisor, why should I trust your economic policies? Considering you've admitted that you don't really understand the economy, I should hope you agree with your economic advisor. So which one is it?

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Esther

    CNN is definitely working for McShame. I can see that. I have tried to post over 20 comments on these blogs to no avail!

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Ex-Republican for Obama

    There's another one thrown under the bus.

    Yet another example that McCain has NO loyalty to Friends, Country (treason as a POW), Family (Infidelity to first wife and verbal abuse to current wife), Veterans (has voted against pretty much EVERY bill that would benefit GI/Vets).

    Do us all a favor McCain, crawl back into the stoneage where you came from.

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. krissy

    Right, Mr. McCain. He doesn't speak for you, he just writes your economic policies!

    McCain's camp doesn't want to admit how bad the economy is right now, because they know that Republican policies are responsible for it.

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. SJ

    Nice try McSame! He's your SENIOR ADVISER!! Of course he speaks for you!!! Try to dig yourself out of this one.

    And this whole Dr No b.s. is just that. Better to say no to a dumb idea than to implement it and have it fail.

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Chris, just like Rev Wright didn't speak for Obama, but was his spiritual advisor, and Weasley Clark didn't speak for Obama but was his military advisor. Sometimes surrogates do speak for themselves, so get a grip.

    July 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Hillary Rocks

    If one of Obama's campaign co-chairs were to say anything like that, McBush would have been screaming about it and asking for their dismissal!

    What hypocrisy from John McShame!

    America deserves better.

    July 10, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Norma

    Two grumpy old men thinking alike.

    July 10, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |

    I'm so sick and tired of everyone saying things, then someone "forcefully repudiates," then they say "you didn't "denounce" it etc., etc., etc. This is just too rediculous for words!

    There seems to be a lot of under the table deals going on! If you say this, then I will forcefully repudiate it and then throw you under the bus. After a few days, you'll be able to get back on the bus again.

    It's too crazy. However, I do like Obama saying that we don't need any more Dr. Phils! That was a good one.

    July 10, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Lim

    Phil Gramm's statement sinks to the level of the statements such
    as "small-town Americans cling to guns and religion", or "proud of
    America for the first time in my adult life"

    It goes to show that no ones, especially politicians and their cronies,
    have a monopoly on ignorance and arrogance.

    July 10, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. july 10th

    Dear mcBush,

    ====leave our country alone, you are not wanted===

    July 10, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Ron

    If this is a sample of McCaine"s top economic advisor – and McCain has already confessed to not know much about the economy – how can anyone vote in this gang that basically got us into this economic mess??

    July 10, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Linda K.

    If he is your economic advisor, he speaks for you. Unless you plan to fire him.

    I'm tired of the hypocrisy.

    July 10, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Dusacre

    Come on grandpa McCain! You throw under the bus anyone who is with you as soon as he makes one mistake. You should go under the bus as well since you are not perfect!

    July 10, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Daren, NC

    Stop whining John !

    July 10, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    He Does Speak For Mccain! He Is Your Advisor . . . Or Do You Need Lieberman To Remind You!

    July 10, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Otanes - Atlanta

    Yes he does. When he is your top economic adviser and you have said it yourself that you have no clue about the economy.

    July 10, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Andrea E- Atlanta

    If Mr. Gramm doesn't speak for you then why is he your advisor? Why does he even work for your campagin? John McCain must really think the American people are stupid. Well, I know that he and his buddies think that we are mental and whinners. Gramm says we need more leadership and less whining. How is it leading when you are calling that people you are suppose to lead mental whinners? Obvisously, these aren't the people that should be following you or anyone that thinks like you. It is not a mental recession, this is not some fairytale Mr. Gramm. More than 400,000 people have lost their homes in the last 6 months. That's almost 70,000 families in a month. Over 4,000 soliders have died in Irag that's not mental, gas and milk are both $5 a gallon that is not mental. This is truth and if you can't see that, you are the one that is in a mental recession.

    July 10, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. HA

    QUICK GET UNDER THE BUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |


    July 10, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Mb


    July 10, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Jann, Denver CO

    Oh, but Phil Gramm DOES speak for you Mr. McCain! He echos your sentiments, values and beliefs otherwise he would not be the Co-Chair of your campaign.

    I'll be interested to see if CNN gives McCain as hard of a time over this as they would Obama.

    July 10, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Arin

    Imagine if Phil Gramm did speak for John McCain.... it'd be a foul-mouthed, bad joking telling, but slow talking looney tune character.
    Both could star in a movie called "Old and Older".

    July 10, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Amit

    Wow simply unbelievable. The Republican's have no shame calling American's whiners'. Way to go John McCain. Enjoy your wife's million $$$ private jet.

    July 10, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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