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. Tired of W, OH

    Hold on a second....Gramm said “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day." But I just saw a McCain commercial that says "The economy is in shambles." Which is it, McSame? You can't have it both ways! Why is the media not jumping at this?!?

    July 10, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Joe

    Well I believe McCain himself recently said something about the economic perils we are facing now are just our imaginations. I am going to vote for Obama and urge everyone else in America to do the same. The cost of food doubling and utilities and everything else are very real down here in rural Texas.

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Pick me!! Pick me!!

    "With age comes intelligence and wisdom."

    So does Alzheimer’s.

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. caliguy55

    This is very reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's remark before the 1980 elections that the nation's economy was gripped by a "malaise", which many people believe ultimately led to his failure to win a second term as President of the United States. When Carter made this remark, the GOP jumped all over him. Well, the shoe is now on the other foot, and it'll be amusing to watch McSame's attempts to wiggle out of this one. Malaise is defined as: "a general feeling of worry, discontent, or dissatisfaction, often resulting in lethargy." To me, there is no difference between what Carter said and Phil Gramm is now saying as part of McSame's campaign.

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Amarissa

    How como we are not discussing more on issues such as FISA and Obama voting in favor of it? Can't find any discussion on the biggest and most important news of the past two days! Bias anyone?

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Whiner in PA

    John McCain HANDPICKED Gramm as a co-chair of his campaign specifically to advise him on the economy.

    When Gramm says something about the economy, how can McCain suddenly claim his personally chosen representative on the economy does not speak for him?

    The only words that come to mind to describe McCain's "statement" start with Bull and end with Something Unprintable.

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. eva

    Mr.Mooney, you have forgotten to write an article about Senator Obama's vote (YEA) on FISA, yesterday. Coincident or another media biased? Huummmmmm!

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Wow...

    These comments come from McCain's economic advisor after McCain himself has said that he doesn't know much about the economy... Yeah the economy isn't that bad to Gramm because he's raking in six figures or more sitting on top of McCain's campaign. The economy doesn't mean anything to him because he can afford what he wants. That's EXACTLY what we need running the country right? C'mon America...WAKE UP!!!!!

    Obama/ (I don't care if it is or isn't) Hillary '08

    July 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Samuel

    Hello John MacCain: Your trusted advisors are handing over the presidency to Barack Obama on a silver plata. Wake up John, wake up. I will advice you bring in more sharp brain young energetic guys on board. Do it now or it will be too late. The US economy is really bad so do not allow these guys downplay it in America.

    Proverb to you, Mr. McCain as follows: A word to a wise is enough.

    July 10, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Former Dem

    Senator Gramm is so right...this is a nation of Whiners especially from the Democratic party. That's all I see from the Obama supporters anytime anyone says anything negative about their candidate..they cry racism! They nor their candidate have the backbone to take it! Yea, let Obama raise your taxes or let Iran completely take over the Middle East and lets hear you really whine and cry then!

    July 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. chas alabama

    It seems like the more McCain lies the more the GOP likes him, he's proving he IS one of them.

    July 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Andre' of Maryland

    why are my comments being posted? I post comments daily but they never show......why the sensorship?

    July 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Steve

    He doesn't agree with him. Then why did he hire him? This is just a bit too bizarre.

    What a idiot and/or liar. Come to think of it that sounds familiar; Bush and Cheney.

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Charles

    Connect the dots...Phil Gramm...ENRON...

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Saad from NJ

    Gramm does not speak for McCain in most of the counties in Michigan. Now if were talking about the rich counties in CA, FL, PA, TX or Bergen County in NJ, that's a whole different story. Very funny my dear Senator. I love you!

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Chanda-Cincinnati

    Okay...so its okay for McCain to make this statment, but it was a lie when Obama said he did not agree with Rev. Wright?!? I don't get it.

    Is Gramm not McCain's economic advisor?? Working closely with the candidate to form the economic policies he that he says will re-shape America? O McCain...McCain.. Somehow I think he said in public, what you are smart enough to only speak about in close, private, millionaire circles!!!

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Terrance Miller in Atlanta

    How is this economic downturn in my head?In my head. Since 2001 I watched gas go from 1.50 to $4.10 ? is that not inflation? The first hour at work I owe to exxon for getting me there. Secondly I see Fannie and Freddie are Insolvent. That means the American Government cannot pay the bonds that they are selling. we have record forclosures and everything cost more just to live. This is not in my Head its in my wallet.

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. urbantexan

    So Mr. McStupid when the comments were made by Mr. Clark you said that the Obama camp felt that way and they should fire Clark from the campaign. What are you donna do about McPhill? Oh that's right nobody speaks for you, but everybody speak for Mr. Obama.


    Had someone from the Obama camp said something like that there would be countless soud -bites and a new commercial for the Republican's to air.

    thank you McPhill for telling us how you Rethuglicans REALLY feel.
    All of you belong in jail for robbing this country blind !!!!!

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Steve J61

    oh and while we're throwing women's rights around, tell me, if obama gets in and muslum is the religious tone for the week, do all women have to wear scarfs, cover their heads, become uneducated, and so on? what rights go under the bus for women when obama gets in? all of them? wow, do we have a choice this round. a guy who can't remember what happened three days ago or a guy who will just add misdirection and wipe out more rights. total mess. iacocca for president. arnold for president. mr. spock for president. speed racer for president!!!! ARCHIE BUNKER FOR PRESIDENT!!!!

    July 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Rick FL

    Lobbyist Phil Gramm is McCain's top economic advisor.

    Straight talk?

    July 10, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Ryan, Denver

    Imagin if one of Obama's people had been this boneheaded? It would be headlines splashed across everywhere!! First the cigarette joke in regards to killing Iranian citizens, then the whole Social Security is a disgrace comment, now this! The mainstream media is glowing with bias today.

    July 10, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. norb

    You go John. When he came to Michigan as the Republican running for president. He told the crowd that those automotive jobs are never coming back. Now we see the more gental side of McCain. This quote is for you. McCain/Lieberman/Keating 08! You're so clever John you're killing me. I know you meant the Iranian's!

    July 10, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. MMN - Milwaukee WI

    Sad to say that Phil Gramm doesn't speak for you but yet he's an advisor in your campaign. What does that tell us? I like Obama's comments on Dr Phil. At least Dr Phil McGraw is a true "clinical psychology" and Phil Gramm is trying to tell us its all in our heads and nothing is wrong with the US ecomony. This is sad, do these people live in the same US of A I am in?

    July 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. James Hussein, SC

    When are you stupid Americans going to learn?!

    The republicans have always been, 'Do as we say not as we do,' people.

    Yup, keep voting for them.

    July 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Terrance Miller in Atlanta

    By the way This old Fart has no Idea how to fix this economy remember he was tied to the Savings and Loan Scandal of the 80's

    I know he knows how to steal.

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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