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. Dan

    Of course, Gramm is 100% correct–if you're a millionaire. Proves out completely out-of-touch and uncaring the Republicans are to anyone who's not pulling in at least a million a year. Real people are struggling out there and they just don't care.


    July 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Independent-Minded American

    Graham doesn't speak for me...
    Black doesn't speak for me...
    And yet, they are both top advisors and Graham is even the national co-chair of the campaign...

    Amazing how unscrupulous these guys have...

    July 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    I told you McSane was senial, Mr. Gramm might not speak for him but does McSane remember when he said the economy was Pyscological not Mr. Gramm, Mr. Gramm followed up by saying we were whinners, his memory is bad and they want to put him in the White House now that is unreal thats who they need to be afraid off.

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. McSame !!!!

    Phil Gramm doesn't speak for you but he is your campaign's Economic Advisor...........OH yea he speak to you give advice......
    What are you going to do throw him under bus ........ By the way you are DR OUT TO LUNCH !

    July 10, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Doris,Memphis,TN


    "The Republican Equation"

    July 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. scrambler

    Now McBush is starting to make me angry. He just insulted all Americans, especially those who work hard everyday. He won't run away from this one...Gramm speaks for him because we all remember when McBush himself said that the economic crisis being faced by Americans is psychological.

    CNN...you should give this a lot more air. It is unacceptable, and a real reflection of how the GOP thinks.

    July 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Sal

    what ever McCain, you're a right wing puppet now

    July 10, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. flavoter

    The true elitests show there hand once again.

    I see Obama humble beginning and up bringing, something I can respect.

    McCain / Bush and the silver spoon types have ruined this once great country. Our enemies know and are exploiting or weakness it's called GREED.... Greedy Americans are selling us all out for there own selfish gain, we must have change.

    July 10, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Real Americans Vote Issues

    So hey "Give BO Right Guard"? Um, Gramm said we are a "nation" of whiners. He didn't say anything about Obama whining... where did you come up with that? I think there should be a "can you count to this many" test before people can come on here and blog... you know people who talk about facts... not the "Still for Hill" people who keep forgetting the the primary's been over for a month now.

    July 10, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Paulette, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Again for those who can't read McCain did NOT say this. Obama is an idiot with a lot to learn. Vote McCain. America will be able to sleep without Obama as President.

    July 10, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. tim in carroll

    Very Funny, McCain. So you speak for yourself, do you? Then we can take you at your word when you said earlier this year that you think the economy is doing well – even when gas was going up, forclosures were going up, groceries were going up, and people were losing their jobs!

    Maybe your out-of-touch household can make ends meet, but REAL Americans are struggling under the economy (and war) that George W Bush created and YOU voted for – and continue to support!

    How dare you even suggest that you understand what REAL Americans are feeling!

    July 10, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Justmyopinion2008

    OH Yeah Dr. "Panderer" "Flip Flopper" McCain for sure he is speaking for you! Do not try to get off the hook whenever is inconvienent! You don't understand economy and you took him in to speak for you. You should tell women voters what you voted regarding Vigra and contraception bills, I cannot understand how you did not remember how you voted? Or you are just looking for a way to Flip Flop to a popular and safe position? Votes are now getting all those tricks of yours! Payback time is November!

    July 10, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. loren- miami, fl

    he doesn't speak for you he's one of your top advisors if he doesn't speak for you then FIRE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Stu from Canada

    So if McCain says he speaks for himself, and he says he doesn't know much about the economy, and brings Gramm on as his finacial advisor, what does that speak for?

    July 10, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Ted

    I do agree with Phil Gramm.

    It's all relative. Gas prices are higher... but so are the opportunities for people to increase their income.

    Stop complaining and blaming others and start taking action to improve your life.

    Oh... but that's too much work... go back to complaining it's easier.

    July 10, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. bill for barack

    Isn't it odd how McSame sends sacrificial goats out to bleat his TRUE message only so he can quickly 'disavow' them and play the Republican maverick ?
    McSame probably scripted every word out of Gramm's mouth.

    July 10, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Alice in Florida

    I'll take Phil Gramm over Reverend Wright any day


    July 10, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Kharl, Youthful & Political

    I'm a 24yr, and McCain & his whole campaign is scary. How can we trust a Canidate and Campaign whose message isn't in sync. Does McCain think we're gonna stand on the sidelines and watch him take office & run an Administration that isn't in sync with the nation & itself. C'mon McCain and his whole camp should give up & go relax at one of his Many Ritzy Estates....the nerve of these people!! They dare call Obama an Elitist, many young voters see right through the games the RIGHT is playing & we will show up in record numbers to Refute McCain

    July 10, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. White/female/age 55/Texan

    But, he is your economic advisor, is he not? He is supposed to advise you on the economy, right? You supposedly trust his advise – but he doesn't speak for you? There's something just not right with this picture.

    July 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Franky

    Asked whether he understood beforehand the kind of political impact his statements might have, he said this outraged reactions his remarks had drawn were just part of the “game” — anytime anyone says something, said Gramm, it can be “taken out of context.”

    I don't kow if taken out of context means that America is ignorant, incoherent, anxious, lazy, etc. I mean, that's what you basically said. And remember, you are a Rep, not a Dem. Just think about that...

    July 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. INDY




    July 10, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Southern view

    But whose idea is it to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? If our troubles are mental, why is their's real? They must be delusional. Send them Cymbalta, or better yet, Aricept. If their brains were sharper, their lending practices would have been wiser. Send us back our Moolah.

    July 10, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Mike

    Funny how McCain surrounds himself with people that don't speak for him.

    July 10, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. The truth hurts!

    Well, let's see if you'll post this in this forum?! Obviously, the "moderator" only likes far left viewpoints on your comments.

    Love how 99% of these comments are all one-sided, clearly very "balanced" people. Obama and the Democrats have been screaming the economy is tanking all year! The Congressional "Do Nothing about Anything" Democrats chirp constantly that everything is Bush's fault (so why is their approval rating at 9%?). Get over it people! The credit crisis was caused by banks lending to people they had no business lending to and the gas "crisis" is caused by 20+ years of the environmental lobbies blocking every kind of affordable solutions to our energy usage. If the Republican Congress had been true to their principles and effective legislators we wouldn't be in this mess of having complete incompetents running the government! The American people got fed up and threw the baby out with the dirty bath water and now all we have left are the bath toys! We need real leaders not mealy-mouthed whiners!

    July 10, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Susan

    He does speak for you, like the rest of your Swift Boaters. The reality is you just don't have the guts to say things yourself because you are too busy pandering for votes, you old warmonger!!!

    July 10, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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