July 10th, 2008
06:35 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama mocks Gramm comments: No more Dr. Phils


Watch Obama mock McCain's top economic adviser and former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm Thursday (Getty Images)

(CNN) - Barack Obama mocked a top economic adviser to John McCain Thursday for suggesting Americans are whining over to the country's economic woes, telling a Virginia crowd the nation doesn't need another Dr. Phil.

"I want all of you to know that America already has one Dr. Phil," Obama said, laughing as the crowd cheered. "We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy. We need somebody to actually solve the economy. It’s not just a figment of your imagination, it's not all in your head.”

Earlier: McCain adviser criticized for comments

Obama was responding to comments from Phil Gramm, a former Texas senator and a co-chair of McCain's presidential campaign who told the Washington Times that America has "become a nation of whiners" and the country is in the midst of a "mental recession."

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," he said. “You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession."

Related: Gramm says comments misinterpreted

Gramm also said the media was responsible for fostering unnecessary anxiety over the state of the economy. "Misery sells newspapers,” he said. “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

Recognizing Gramm's comments may not sit well with many working class voters, a key voting bloc this election cycle, Obama said his administration would deliver more than 'psychological' relief.

"Let's be clear, when people are struggling with the rising costs of everything from gas to groceries, when we've lost 438,000 jobs over the past six months, when the typical family has lost a $1,000 of income in real terms since George Bush took office…this economic downturn is not in your head," he said. "When people are out there losing their homes and property values are declining, that's not a figment of your imagination and it isn't whining to ask government to step in and give families some relief."

Meanwhile, McCain quickly attempted to distance himself from the controversial comments, telling reporters that the former Texas senator does not speak for him.

“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.”

Related: McCain repudiates Gramm comments

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (203 Responses)

    Way to go Barack... tell em'

    July 10, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. 51% is actually the Majority

    I have one thing to say. You PUMA/Hillary or McCain people had better get prepared to lose again in the fall

    Common Sense Will Win in 2008.

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

    Obama has never had a real job, never been a boss, never owned
    a company basically he just shakes down suckers for cash. How
    would he know anything about the economy. The guy is a phony

    July 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Belle

    Oh yes Senator Obama...do your mocking thing again....why don't you actually explain WHY 300 economists signed on to McCain's Economic Plan...why he can vow to balance the budget by the end of his first term....

    AND HOW you plan to pay for your programs when they are funded from saving money from a war that is waged on BORROWED money!

    July 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Even as a GOP'er, I cracked up when I heard Obama's "Dr. Phil" comment. That was hilarious because they even sound alike too, listen to them!!

    One thing about him, he's got a good sense of humor!!

    July 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. not important

    Tell them about Phil Gramm and UBS and Enro`n? To think that Phil Gramm is McCains economic advisor?

    July 10, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Tanya

    Go get him Barack!

    Yes we can!

    All the way to the White House!

    July 10, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. RickytheGriff

    Okay, I know you'll never post this... but here I go anyway....

    When CNN buries stories like Gramm's comments to the ticker section, is that because they've gotten so comfortable over the past 7 years being nothing more than paid cheerleaders for the Republican party that they just want to keep it that way, no matter how bad the GOP is messing up this nation?

    July 10, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. NickNas

    C'MON CNN be the first to call this MUCH bigger than "Bittergate"

    July 10, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Saad from NJ

    Obama is DA MAN!!!! Just his mention of Dr. Phil was awesome. We do have one idiot in our country, don't need another one. Go Obama. You are funny.

    July 10, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Jan

    I see he is back to his smart-aleck attitude which I think is his real self–mocking McCain for something he did not say and was not responsible for. I am starting to have a lot of respect for McCain–he has not smeared Obama, but is trying to stay on message. Obama spends a lot of time posturizing, apologizing, and, generally trying to cover his gaffes in the form of this "sarcastic, mocking " attitude. I guess he has to keep his "young " base, who find this lack of respect hilarious and endearing.

    July 10, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Concerned INDEPENDENT CT voter

    He's right... & he made a clever refference to Dr. Phil... isn't this guy's name "Phil"? Who cares? Dr. Phil is well-known & considered down-to-Earth.. maybe they should take it as a compliment


    July 10, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. California Gold

    What a simple concept: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Thank you Barack Obama.

    Time for McCain to throw Gramm under that Straight Talk Express bus.

    July 10, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Marcus B

    Great job Obama. It's good to know I'm not crazy!!!


    July 10, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Lorna, NY

    Obama is a smart man. Can't wait for him to be president!

    July 10, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Martin Agnew

    Well certainly one thing Gramm said is true, the media panders to bad news, problems, and superficial thinking. In Eugene Oregon, I am fed minor crime stories from the east coast in order to keep up the perception of threat from crime. I read on school shootings in the media and suddenly its the fad and copy cats are everywhere. The media bandwagon, whether for Obama, global warming, or whatever is about a shallow as shallow can be.

    July 10, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Jack

    Ironically, Obama has poo-pooed every idea put out there by either party while failing to come up with even a whisper of an idea of his own. This is the worst kind of politics – the politics of 'No'. Kind of a contrast to 'Yes, we can', isn't it?

    July 10, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Beverly

    I saw Obama in Georgia this week and he was great. We need a President who can make you laugh when you want to cry and not another President who only makes you laugh because of something stupid he's said.

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    The Republicans are so out of touch... with America.... its really a shame that this is still a race....

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Troy

    It's smart of Barack to comment, but I wouldn't trivialize it. This is very serious–McCain's finance manager just said that the dismal economy is in our heads. Don't make light of it.

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Sean

    give them hell Obama. This Repub party is one BIG joke. It is not in my head when I have to pay over $250 in gas for two cars every single week. If it in my head or I am dreaming, please slap me and wake me up!

    July 10, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. FL Dem

    McCain and his folks really have no idea how bad people are struggling. They are sitting in D.C. with their expensive cars, big houses, maids that clean for them and cook anything they wish to eat. Real America is not like that and we need someone that understands how badly we are suffering. Obama certainly understands that more than McBush.

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. ryan

    McCain will never balance the budget in his first term. Stop drinking the Right Wing Kool Aid. Are those same 300 economists that think his Gas Tax Relief is a joke as well? And you can't balance a budget when you are already 400 billion in the hole and climbing from the borrowed war! Nice try though

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Ced

    This is worse then "bitter" gate, clearly McBush is the one out of touch.

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Brendan, Warwick, RI

    Humor that makes an excellent point is a deadly weapon.

    July 10, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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