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

Obama mocks Gramm comments: No more Dr. Phils

ALT TEXT

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. Justine

    Belle, please do your research – both McCain and Obama plan on helping the economy from a war that is waged on BORROWED money!

    McCain can promise all he wants. There is no way we can stay in Iraq and Afghanistan, keep the tax cuts and balance the budget in 4 years... Who's hoping now? Talk about false hope!

    July 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Dr. Phil

    Actually former senator Phil Gramm was referring to whining leaders.
    It appears that Sen. Obama has proven his point.

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Ken

    go to Calirfornia, Michigan, Indiana and tell blue collar workers lack of jobs or that lay-offs is all in your head. What a FREAKIN Idiot. Unemployment might be low but if 75% of people are working at McDonald's to make ends meet because the factory was shut down doesn't compensate to the same standard, Hillary Supporters you guys are either racist, lack the political knowledge or... God know what; if you think that McCain stands for the same things as Hillary. Or Maybe just nuts,
    I support Obama and donated to Hillary\ thanks America

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Doris Whiner Hussman

    I'm whining my way through November when I can vote for someone I can believe in–Barack Obama.

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Obama

    Awesome!! We love you Obama and McCain is going bye bye....

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Isaac

    To a man who earns like Gramm does, all people who cannot afford to pay their bills are whinning.

    How dare people feel the troubles set by the GOPs for past eight years, how dare people feel the pain. Gramm is angry, he wants people to suffer in silence

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Bob

    Tell them Obama. As a kid whose mother was on food stamps for a time, you can empathize with people in the US that are struggling.

    July 10, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. John, Brooklyn, New York

    So...apparently the McCain campaign believes we're "whiners" becasue of the mortgage crisis, gas prices, and the cost of our groceries. Certainly sounds like they're calling us "bitter", eh? Better yet, if we're whiners...are we also not being sufficiently patriotic? Republicans are SO out of touch!

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. James

    Belle who do you think those economists are? What gives you any inkling that a Republican can fix the economy. The last three have run it into the ground. Clinton was really the only one to spend what money was taken in. There is no way in HELL McCain will be able to balance the budget by the end of his first term (which barring a fixed vote won't even happen). He will keep sinking money into IRAQ and further sell our countries future up the river.

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Sissy2004

    Belle

    I know it must be humble pie to the McSame camp supporters who hear that when you go to the pump and pay $4.50 a gallon is not real, it's just an illusion.. LOL

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. CAPTAIN CAPSLOCK

    300 Economists were duped into signing a short statement of "support" which was then attached to the15 page plan. In interviews with more than a dozen of the signatories, Politico found that, far from embracing McCain’s economic plan, many were unfamiliar with — or downright opposed to — key details.

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. PG

    Belle my dear the "300 economists" were lied to. It seems that those who see McSame as the great savior of America have also been blindsided. McSame states Gramm does not speak for him then why in the heck is that guy part of his campaign.

    Obama 2008!

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Tom

    America is FULL of Whiners... every day I here people complain about gas prices when America has had cheap gas and drive huge cars for years! They complain because they lost there house that they could not afford in the first place...

    America has been used to WAY to high of a standard of living go live in another country in Europe... Its in your head people... I can not afford to fill my tank of gas but I can still get my $5 cup of joe and oh im in a SUV or Mini Van...

    Obama sucks

    Nader 08'

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. T GUY

    MCCAIN THE PUPPET AND PHILL GRAMM THE MASTER........

    July 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. NC Dem Voter

    I will be SO glad when this is over and McCain is President. We will not have to listen to this drivel anymore!

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. jack

    Belle comment: July 10th, 2008 3:17 pm ET
    "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…."

    Obama comment:
    "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,"

    Bella, How will McSame balance the buget if we are stay in IRAQ for 100 years????

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Dr. No strikes again. Shoot at McCain's plan when you heve none of your own.

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Ms. D

    The republicans really think the economy is strong!! They just spend money they don't have and we are in a trillion dollar deficit but the economy is great!!

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. PEOPLE WAKE UP

    At least he's talking about it.....and as for why 300 economists signed on to McCain's Econ Plan is because he needs ALL the help he can get. They both need it actually...they are inheriting a mess. To clean this up may be a 4 year job.

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Hispanic For McCain

    Both of you BOZO just admit that John McCain is better than your BOZO Obama. Just suck it up that the Hispanic people will pull through for John McCain. That is why the Liberals Dem ARE MORONS. I happen to be a Dem but OBAMA is not ready to be the Commander of Chief, he Flip Flop, is words are not to be trusted, and frankly OBAMA Suck. Just ask Jesse Jackson he want to cuts his Nuts off!!!!!!

    Hispanic for McCain

    July 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. IA Voter

    His plan to balance the budget by the end of his term just proves he's suffering from alzheimers. Thank's to GW's policies, our great grandchildren will suffer the burden of our fiscal incompetence. I don't want to pay taxes for irresponsible spending. If times get tough, then so be it. Extend the tax break? My a–.

    July 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Jody Monroe

    Obama and McCain, I would like you to each make your economic plans available online so I can compare them, side-by-side, to make an informed decision. Thank you.

    July 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Myron

    Once again, an Obama opponent caught flat-floated and leveled with the the Democratic nominee's jujitsu style.

    Gramm's comments were laughable. People know if they're broke or not, whether they can pay the bills or not. The economy is one thing the GOP cannot lie about, which is why they are getting creamed on the issue.

    July 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Susan

    Don't knock Dr. Phil 🙂

    Obama/Hillary 08!! A Super Team:)

    July 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Ariana

    Virginia loves Obama.

    July 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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