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. H. Charles

    McCain is a fraud. This is becoming more and more apparent as he goes down the line and disagrees with everyone in his camp.

    July 10, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Phil-Little Rock

    Then shut Gramm up, you idiot.

    July 10, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Ken

    Man, this just gets weirder and weirder. McCain claims he is no Bush III, but just add this to the end of McCain's sentence:

    “Phil Gramm does not speak for me,” he said. “I speak for me.” "I am the decider". Sounds sooo natural......

    It would be spooky if it were not already so obvious that McCain is McBush.
    McCain == disater-in-charge III

    July 10, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. workin man

    blah...blah...Ok Dorothy me and Toto won't go behind the curtain to expose the man controlling the all powerful OZ.

    Who has the most smoke and mirrors in their show? With 2008 McBama campaign–it's hard to tell.

    Visit us, donate, help us bring some reason/judgement and respect for the sacrifices and intelligence of the citizens back into the White House.

    July 10, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Oops

    "...his national campaign co-chair Phil Gramm"

    He does speak for you McCain! As does Mr. Black.

    Maybe you should head to the craps table and play some more $1000 hands with some of these people you "feel their pain".

    July 10, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Allan

    If I made a "duplicate comment", then why hasn't it been posted?

    July 10, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. zolesh

    Does McCain want Americans to believe that Phil Gramm does not speak for him?Then why is he his top Economic Advisor?
    Maybe he speaks for him if he says the right stuff but not when he gaffes.

    I truelly belive things don't just happen out of space and todays comments coming in the wake of recent comments from senator McCain that his energy policy would have a psycological effect on oil prices speaks volumes of their thought pricesses .

    And yet they accuse Barack Obama of being out of touch and elitist.Isn't this laughable?Who really is out of touch the sufferings of the American people.

    This perhaps should explain the reason why instead of staying around and visiting the heartland to speak about the harsh economic problems people are dealing with, he decides to embark on a tour of Columbia to talk about Free Trade.

    July 10, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Joe Bloggs, Haiku, HI

    LOL! If your economic advisor doesn't speak for you and you yourself don't understand economics enough to speak for yourself, then how the heck fo we find out waht your economic plan is in reality?!
    Rhetorical question: we know it already George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy!

    July 10, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, no one can speak for McCain but himself. That is fine. But anyone can speak for Obama then. What kind of double standard is that? I guess George Carlin was correct; "Its the great American double standard; say one thing; do something different!" I would hope that McCain doesn't blast Obama for any other things that his surrogates say... Any more since that has happened already.

    July 10, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Clark Shaffer

    It's amazing McCain is still in contention for any political office. His comments continue to hit a sour note among a majority of people here in Texas. Now he says his own national campaign co-chairman doesn't "speak for him". I would think that of ALL the people on his staff, McCain and his campaign chairmen should all be on the same page. The more we listen to McCain one thing becomes more and more apparent. There is a politician more inept than the current president and his name is McCain.

    July 10, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Peter Paul

    Who knows who speak for McCain....???

    July 10, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. An American

    Hey McSame, does this apply to Obama/Wesley Clark as well?

    You old flip-flopper you.

    July 10, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    He has been speaking for him for months and now he wants to say that he doesn't speak for him. I guess he wants him on the Straight Talk Express until this cools down – what will he now be speaking for you on the DL from now on.

    July 10, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Tim

    He is one of your top advisors so he does speak for you McSame. Yoiu are not going to wiggle your way out of this one!!!

    July 10, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Marc PDX

    How about energy? Obama is against drilling in US territories. He's against nuclear energy. Instead the plan is to conserve and develop wind and solar (he forgot to mention wave, which we're working on in Oregon). Wind, solar and wave all have an impact on the ecology. And none of them is at a point technologically where they can begin to offset the enormous consumption of energy that we have. Conserving is good, but it also will only contribute a little. Mandating higher mpg autos is good but will take years to develop (same knock that Obama has on drilling for more oil). We actually need all those things plus drilling for US oil, developing a way to extract oil from shale (we have large reserves domestically in shale that no one has been able to extract so far) and nuclear. NONE of these will fix things in the short run. It is SILLY (SILLY!!!) to only focus on a short term solution. Short term help is great, but the real need is for long self sufficiency. Rejecting drilling because it will take some years to come online is SHORT SITED (and frankly utterly irresponsible!). Rejecting drilling because it won't immediately bring down the price of gas is... (yes, Silly and irresponsibile!). We need to plan for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years at a minimum, not for just the next 4 months.

    NObama N'08

    July 10, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Hey Leiberman has to speak for him...why not Gramm too?

    July 10, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Carl from MI

    Funny... I wonder if McCain will 'cut him loose' for saying something way more offensive than what Gen. Clark said. Come to think of it, so did Charlie Black!! McCain should cut BOTH of them loose.

    What's the matter, McCain... you can dish out the advise but can't swallow your own? He really has become a 'typical' Repuglican!!

    July 10, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Ok So Now What

    John McCain, it seems to me you have completely forgotten what you want for this country or what you need to say to show leadership. You have become a victim to "winning" the election and completely lost sight of who you are and what you stand for or what you are against.

    So if all these people making misstatements weekly don't speak for you, what DO YOU say? I can't seem to hear you John McCain. Take a minute and get yourself together if you can. Time is wasting and the election draws nearer every day.

    July 10, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Brooke

    So, McCain repudiates these comments and the Obamabots are still attacking him. The man can't win and your man can do no wrong.

    July 10, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. MDB

    Come on John grow a set. I'm voting for you (reluctantly) but I happen to think Phill Gramm is right on the money. Taxes are lower than the Clinton administration, income is higher than the Clinton administration and economic growth was huge for the last 7 years. These nitwits on the blogs think of 2 things when it comes to the economy:

    A) Gas DUH, NO BRAINER , when you buy from someone else they set the price not you.

    B) Mortgages (another no brainer) If you were stupid enough to sign a 30 year mortgage with a 4.5% annum with a balloon instead of signing a 6.0% thirty year fixed than you are a moron and I have no sympathy for you.

    My mortgage is 5.9% fixed over 25 and I pay $501.00 a month (usually more to drop my principle) and you people are crying because you wanted to save a $100.00 a month for the first year. SHEEP.

    July 10, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Karen from NY

    McCain believes every word of it! The reason he has no experience in economic policy is because he's not suffering and doesn't understand the plight of the every day American. He doesn't live paycheck-to-paycheck, struggle to pay high gas and food prices. After all, he left his wife for a wealthier woman. But I'm supposed to elect this baffoon to the White House? Wake up, America! We've had enough baffoonery this decade...

    July 10, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. K Mansfield, NY, NY

    This is just too rich! McCain's top economic advisor and co-chair of his campaign does not speak for McCain? Doesn't this show poor judgement on McCain's part? If only McCain had the ability to think back to General Clark's comments and the McCain reaction... and General Clark does not even have an official role with the Obama campaign! McCain has clearly demonstrated that there are two sides to his mouth – he cannot be trusted.

    July 10, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Obama dose the same thing . If a campaign staffer says something then the nominee didn't say it. what is funny to me is that the same people saying Obama didn't say it rev Wright said it are the same people posting in this and other blogs that McCain must agree with this or Gramm would not be on his staff.

    Btw have any of you ever heard the term tough love.

    July 10, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. TONY

    Next thing you know Phil Gramm will want his own show to spew his lousy advice and opinions. One Dr. Phil is more than enough!

    July 10, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Elly

    must be nice to have money like the do nothing congress and MCSame who dont have to worry about paying a morgage
    unfortuantely the average american would like the american dream too!
    Especially MCSame who is bordering on dementia
    Come down to earth where the real people live and struggle

    July 10, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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