July 10th, 2008
08:55 PM ET

Evening Buzz: "Whiner" Nation?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/10/mccain.gramm/art.gramm.gi.jpg caption="Phil Gramm, left, is an economic adviser for Sen. John McCain."]Maureen Miller
360° Writer

Did a McCain adviser go too far?  Former Texas senator Phil Gramm is under fire for some comments he made to the Washington Times.  Here's what got people fired up: "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitveness, America is in decline." He went on to say, "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession." Why is he talking up economic issues? Gramm is an economic adviser to McCain. But the GOP presidential candidate isn't too happy with Gramm's comments. McCain says, "Phil Gramm does not speak for me." Now Gramm is trying to clarify his message. He says he was trying to say the nation's leaders, not its people, were "whiners." But he says he stands by his comment the country is in a "mental recession." As you might imagine, Brack Obama didn't let all this slip by him. He seized on the uproar at a campaign stop in Virginia, saying: "America already has one Dr. Phil. We don't need another one when it comes to the economy." Ouch! We'll have all the angles on this tonight on 360. In the meantime, do you think Gramm made a big mistake? Or were his comments taken out of context? Tell us what you think. Blog away.

Also tonight, is Obama talking down to blacks?

That's what Jesse Jackson said when he didn't realize his microphone was on at a TV station.  Jackson has apologized. But many are asking if Jackson's comments are linked to his bruised ego.  After all, too many Barack Obama represents a new generation of black leaders in America.  Is the old guard (Jesse Jackson) feeling left out?

Plus, up close, the JonBenet Ramsey investigation. A 360° follow on the new efforts to solve her murder.  Tonight, see how investigators cleared her family of the crime.  Many people are wondering if the new technique could help solve other cold cases.  CSI fans – you'll love this!

All that and more tonight on 360° at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. sam, Michigan

    I wonder if Gramm would classify Katrina victims sitting in a formaldehyde-laced FEMA trailor because their insurance company would not cover their loss and gov't aid meant for Katrina vicitims is being used to deepen canals so cruise ships can reach casinos, as "whiners"?

    July 11, 2008 at 9:29 am |
  2. |N'R| Beall

    let's see, Christian soldiers, creationism museums, reverends wanting to do castrations, the only black guy with change is holding a cup??? say what???, 343,000 homes foreclosed on this year so far and they're bailing out the lenders???, years for New Orleans to recover...

    I hate to say this, but maybe it is the lead from China?

    I sure do feel for those who are suffering, thats for sure, my heart goes out to them and hope for a prosperous future. Personally, I believe Obama will be good for the US, A visual change I hope people will grab onto and run with it.

    July 11, 2008 at 9:01 am |
  3. Jim

    Mental Recession??????? MENTAL RECESSION????????????
    Let Him be unemployed since Feb 2007, let him Have No Credit,
    No Money ,No Home ,Let him have only a 1974 pick up truck & have to pay $ 200.00 that he doesn't have to fill both Gas tanks. another $300 a year for minimun Auto Insurance,$1200 a year to keep what little he has in a storage unit. Let him try & sell personal items just to try to stay afloat.
    Let him have to stay with a friend in a shack just to keep a roof over his head, Help that friend out around the house in exchange for food, let him have no health insurance & need to go to a Dentist & Doctor & put up with all the hoops one must jump through. Let Him walk a mile in many americans shoes who's homes have been forclosed, or job lost because it is cheaper over seas, Let Him then say it is a MENTAL RECESSION.

    July 11, 2008 at 8:43 am |
  4. Peter

    Gramm has a point.
    I don't think he was talking about the American people "whining" – He was talking about the liberals, the Democrats and their friends in the media. For the last seven, almost eight years they have done almost NOTHING but whine. Hopefully the end of the Bush presidency will put an end to their cacaphonous din.

    July 11, 2008 at 8:37 am |
  5. Isaac Acosta

    For the life of me I cannot understand how these "highly educated "leaders always seem to be caught saying these outrageous comments and never remember saying them or they were taken out of context. Its only when they make Positive comments they remember every word.

    July 11, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  6. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Obama apologised for the 'bitter' comment like a man. Gramm acted like a 7 year old and says he was not talking about the people but the leaders. What a whiner.
    How can Gramm think people would believe such a lie?

    July 11, 2008 at 3:57 am |
  7. suzanne

    P.S. so as to leave no doubt in your mind that I'm a Canadian, I do apoligise if I offended you. Bigger Hugs, the same Canadian.

    July 11, 2008 at 3:41 am |
  8. suzanne

    I am not shocked, nor am I surprised at this nonsense. It is all political spinning. Because Sen. Obama mentioned dead beat dads, he did so because he's black and that's a "black" thing? Dead beat dads are rampant ( talk to single mothers of all races). I recognize that this is a debate where race will not, and can not be ignored. If nothing else, this election will be a wake up call. Watching some of the short films ( redneck in the bleachers), shocked me. Truly. The political twists I expected. The "southern boy" that I encountered in the 70's who still existed stunned me. I am a Canadian and my job is selling books to American schools and libraries. I spend my days discussing books and children with educators. (lucky me)! My personal "spin" is that Americans are some of the kindest, most compassionate and generous people on the face of this earth. It's a shame that the majority of the worlds' population watch television and judge by programmes that portray you as shallow, spoiled and arrogant or poor and trod upon. You could also pick ruthless, cruel and greedy. Or obsessed with fame. Take your pick. That's what comes across through the media. There's Jon Stewart, but that's another story........( thank God, Buddha, Allah, or Pick One for him). Anyway......we, as your neighbours know and love you, but you've really got to clean up the Ugly American image. We all want comfort and success for ourselves and our children. We all are watching out for bullies. To succeed at anothers failure is to fail miserably. Hugs, Canada

    July 11, 2008 at 3:10 am |
  9. Marlie:

    America is a nation of whiners. It use to be a country of doers. Think about it.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:23 am |
  10. Evelyn

    Yes. I'm a whiner, and tired of rich people acting like everything is honky-dory. I am a middle-class wife and mother and want to scream everytime I go to the grocery store and have to pay higher prices for my family's basic needs. Bread, eggs and milk have all jumped tremendously in price. I also want to scream when I fill up the tank of my vehicle. My husband and I now have to carry some of the balance of our credit card, that we use for gas purchases, over to the next month, because our income has not kept up with inflation. So, Yes I am Whining, and No those high gas prices, those high food prices, and my inability to pay for all my monthly expenditure is not Mental Recession. It is a Economic Reality. And, McCain's economic advisor, Phil Gramm, is out of touch with reality. You can't fix a problem if you are in denial that there is a problem.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:04 am |
  11. Michael Maddox

    According to most Anti-Obama individuals and organizations, the person is defined by his affiliates. If this is indeed the case, then John McCain is the most out of touch, sexist, conservative, bird-killing, ocean polluting, forest destroying candidate we've seen in a decades.

    July 11, 2008 at 12:58 am |
  12. EJ (USA)

    Jake, I should've studied economics and not psychology. I would have a lot more money right now. Although I think economics is dull & boring I'd rather have a job.

    July 11, 2008 at 12:53 am |
  13. Bob M

    Lets be honest : nothing that either candidate says will change our bias toward one candidate or the other. Obama people are going to vote Obama even if he says he'll paint the White House purple, and McCain people will vote McCain no matter out-of-fashion being white and male has become.

    July 10, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  14. Sharon

    I read/heard TX is doing well with growing pop, business and Oil, TX TEA....well folks we are getting our butts kicked right along with y'alls at the pumps. We have oil jacks silent all over TX and we are trying to figure out what's wrong. Oil companies who were given the tax breaks to build refineries (and let me tell you, these in Houston are a wreck watiting to happen.) and research alternative fuel...notice has the fat cats got fatter and it took a private investor to get the wind power going. Oils not going to. Corn etc. has jumped up good prices on food right along with the price of diesel. Oh yes, someone on another blog said, "ride a bycycle". Has anyone been driving in TX. There are miles and miles of TX with nobody in sight. Bycycle won't cut the closest large town being 80 miles away. Okay, I'm through griping now! Thanks

    July 10, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  15. Sharon

    Jackson was wrong. Obama did right by addressing and accepting the issue quickly thereby taking the "high road". It has served him well in the past. John McCain and Phil? With friends like John who needs enemies. All that being said it still comes down to the ""It's the economy stupid" and somebody better get it right this time between these two. Me? I don't think McCain can.

    July 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  16. Bill, WV

    I don't think that I would use the phrase "mental recession", but I do agree, to a point, that we are becoming a nation of whiners. We've become to accustomed to "having our way" as individuals. We are losing cohesion as a country; no one is "just an American" anymore, we find reasons to create divisions based on differences. Face it we are whiners... I'm going to stop now, before I start whining about it.

    July 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  17. Jake

    I thought the Dr. Phil comment from Sen. Obama was hilarious. Gramm's degree is in economics and not psychology.
    Gramm obviously knows money, he has lots of money, and changes in the economy doesn't influence or effect him. Will McCain cut him loose from his group?

    July 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  18. JC- Los Angeles

    Take away our politicians sweetheart loans; their second, third or fourth homes paid for by taxpayers; their inflated incomes; their stock option grants for giving speeches (McAuliffe); their expense accounts; their book advances; the family money that many come from; the family money that many marry into and I bet many would start to better understand how Americans feel today.

    Our leaders and executives are complete failures and are out of touch in every conceivable way. With a governmental bailout of Bear Stearns, a possible bailout of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, a most likely governmental bailout of Countrywide, an ever declining dollar, massive foreclosures, a sinking stock market and skyrocketing unemployment, figureheads like Gramm have lost any right to voice their opinions.

    July 10, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  19. carl

    Gramm's comments, Jackson's comments, and Michele Obama's comments (about $600 earrings) just shows how out of touch they are with the average American!

    July 10, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  20. Jolene

    Maureen: I think McCain made the right call by announcing that Gramm doesn't speak for him. Whether Gramm was speaking about our nation's leaders or its people, it was nothing but an insult. I would have much rather hear him show facts as to why he thinks we are not in a recession. For someone who is an expert at the economy, I was not impressed.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    July 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  21. Laura from Boardman, Ohio

    Gramm's comments just proves just how out of touch many Republicans are with the realities of working families. A "mental recession?" – what planet is this guy from? American families are hurting and the doctor (Washington) is on vacation.

    July 10, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  22. Ray, Atlanta

    I find it totally self centered or more self interest on his part that Phil Gram would call us a nation of whiner’s. After all he is the Republican senator from Texas, the only state with a growing economy, “oil that is, Texas tea” It seems Texas is experiencing job growth, very little foreclosure activity and home appreciation while the other 49 state are suffering. Texas also surpassed New York with 58 Fortune 500 companies headquartered there. Oil is making Texans rich while the rest of us pay record prices for daily commodities, are experiencing home depreciation and are hopeful to have a job tomorrow. Of course this has been George Bush’s plan all along; make his buddies and himself rich, after all he is an oil man himself.

    July 10, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  23. Wendy Ontario, Canada

    Another remark from McCain's insiders which proves he is not fit to be the President. McCain himself has made two insulting "jokes" about Iran then wants everyone to believe he "hates War". This just proves once again that he has no intention of helping Americans with the economy, oil prices, health care, he only wants to be President to start a 3rd war in the Middle East. If this keeps up Obama should win by a landslide!

    July 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  24. Arachnae

    This 'gaffe du jour' political coverage is not doing the electorate any favors. Who CARES if a grumpy old white guy thinks young kids today are whiners? Or if a grumpy old black guy is hostile to the new kid on the scene? How does this have any effect on the price of eggs or on informing us which candidate has the more well thought out positions?

    July 10, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  25. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    I personally would like less time to be spent on this and every other crazy remark. What does a day in day out analysis of the brouhaha of the moment, really do for this country. Does it help whiners, does it help people who are really hurting, bring the world peace or solve a single thing that needs solving? No. It's politics as usual. Guess we Republicans, Democrats and Independents aren't ready for all the hard work, that real change requires. Same old, same old political games. When are we going to CHANGE that! Just my opinion.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    July 10, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  26. Kim in NY

    We can not dismiss Jackson's comment to a bruised ego. If his feelings are hurt, too bad. He showed his true colors when he said those vicious remarks. If a white man would have said the same exact words it would have been called a "verbal lynching." Sen. Obama really should have let Jackson stew for a while before accepting his apology. (And was the apology for what he said, or was it because he was caught?) If he said it once, he probably said it to others a dozen times.

    July 10, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    Mental recession? I think not – I have watched my budget increasingly be stretched by rising gas and food costs. There isn't anything mental about it – my money buys less now than it did last year and that hurts.

    Looking forward to the Ramsey story – I hope that this is one cold case that will eventually be closed by tracking down the real killer.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 10, 2008 at 9:02 pm |