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)
  1. Lisa in Ga.

    Belle, give it a break.... McCain and his party is out of touche ( Maybe you can afford to eat now... but by the time McCain gets into office... a gallon a milk will be twenty dollars..... you will be just ashateful as you are now......McCain plans such.... he can't even spell ECONOMY!

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Larry

    Gee, isn't that Obama's role? he's the one who continually complains and tries to position himself as the ONLY one with all of the answers.

    Hey Barack...shouldn't you be teaching your kids Spanish or French?

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Whiner in PA

    How exactly could Gramm's comments have been misinterpreted?

    Just who's the elitist, out of touch, arrogant loser?

    McCain needs his campaign bus back so he can throw this joker under it.

    July 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. JB

    mental recession = GOP

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Brian

    Belle..... Where did you get the facts that said that McCain will balance the budget? His website says he is for more tax cuts and continuation of the war..... How will that balance the budget????? Get Real!

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Tjaye in LA

    Well, I am angry that Sen. Obama says it's not all in our minds, because I was going to spend the day telling myself all my bills are paid and my salary has been doubled...but now my plans to be in a better financial state are shot.

    July 10, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Tim,Seattle

    Dr Phil...thats a good one!! I love how quick the Obama campaign jumped on this. Gramm's remarks are not going to help with the blue collar vote. I am sure we will be hearing more from this has-been moron
    No country for Old Men

    Obama 08'

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. jean HUISSEIN




    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Freida, NYC

    Obama, please stop "whining."

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Victoria, NH

    LOL, this is funny. Keep talking Graham, I'd love to hear what millionaires think about the whiners of the country. I guess he says "Let them eat cake".

    Oh yes, I'll be whining all the way to the ballot poll to vote for Barack Obama.

    Obama 08

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Maxine

    Mccain's top economy advisior SLAM the American people saying that the american people are A"Nation Of Whiners" and high gas prices and high food prices and people losing thier homes and the working people struggling trying to feed thier families are mental and this is in our minds!!! How DARE Mccain's top economy advisior said or think such a thing and how could any one vote for Mccain because Mccain don'nt understand the economy and what the american people are going through

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. John in Binghamton NY

    Belle – you are a bold faced liar. No one signed on to McCain's economic plan and economist said he it was total garbage and would not work. You can't cut taxes and pay down debt. DUHHH!!!! Don't tell us how he will save a few pennies by cutting ear marks.

    Sure save a few million then waste a few trillion with war and tax cuts. Its basic math and easy to understand.

    +millions – trillions will always === -TRILLIONS

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Sissy2004


    , I don't know if you heard the lastest news but the story about the economists signing on to mccains plan is a lie and the economist said that. Better do your research before you go telling the story.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Jeff

    And this clown thinks he can solve things. Please. If we could bottle Obama's ego and put it the gas tank we could solve our economic problems, but alas, it's just so much hot air.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Michael

    Actually, Belle, if you did any reading, you would know that most of the economists aren't on board, and many listed have openly disagreed with many of McCain's economic plans.

    Good try though.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Puffin

    Have faith, Dr. Phill – when he becomes the Secy of Treasury – will fix the economy.

    And Mr. McCain will balance the budget $10 trillion in debt+reduce taxes+ pay for Iraq war.

    Oops the Iraq war is not included in the budget.

    July 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Megan

    Economists signed onto McCain's plan? Are those the same economists he disregarded to give the people what they want with his gas tax repeal? How do you spell pandering?!
    Carly, Phil, Conrad and most of McCains top advisors seem a bit out of step with the old guy-or do they speak the truth of his views? Bit more shuffling of McCains leadership team will be happening. What a joke.

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. sky

    The republicans drive a bus over our feet and now they are upset because we cant walk straight. "Quit whinning about it...atleast you still have your arms" thats what abusers do....they hit you where it hurts and then make you look small for being upset over it. they want to abuse us and get away with it....they dont want to be held accountable for the great depression we are facing

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Obama / Clinton 2008

    McNugget should be grilled the same way Obama was last week over Wesley Clark's comments.

    To be fair, McCain should accept full responsibility for the remark and then rebuke himself.

    Today McFlip...Tomorrow McFlop!

    I wonder if McCain is still against the McCain-Kennedy bill today?

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. LNJ , Houston

    The other day while shopping for groceries at wal-Mart, I saw a woman pick up an apple, weighed it on a scale...she frowned, and literally tossed it back in the bin. I'm with Gramm...these folks need to stop this un-american whining, shucks!!!

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. calif

    just imagine what the mcbush believe, that we are a nation of whiniers. pls god make this election to be tomorrow lets go to the polls and see if we are whiniers.

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Alex Badme, Albuquerque, NM

    Phil's right. yes gas prices are higher, but in line with inflation. Yes food is up as well but thats also because our Democratic Congress continues to pay farmers to sit on their arse and not grow. Their are plenty of jobs if you take the time to go to school and work hard. We expect to be paid to sit and complain. Why are so many people successful and others so jealous. Refinancing your house an taking out tens of thousans of dollars to buy new cars then complaining you can't pay the higher house payment. Get real their is no free lunch and housing was going up unrealistically fast. Your house is not an ATM

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. psittacines

    Those 300 economists signed on to John McWar's plan because he promised them cushy jobs in his government if he gets elected. That's how the republicans increased the size of government by 60% over Bush's eight years and will keep on doing it while yelling : "Oh gosh, oh gee, tax and spend..." 🙂

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. obamacrat

    Now we get to hear all of the McCain supporters bash Obama for jumping all over Phil's stupid comment. Even though McCain and the rest of the GOP still try to revive Obama's "bitter" statement. How does it feel now that the shoe is on the other foot?

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. BrokerDealer

    I was elected last month to lead the "Deport Phill Gramm from Texas" program this summer. Ross Perot would be better at it since he was the only that understood that the giant sucking sound was partly our old baffoon Phill.

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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