July 10th, 2008
02:01 PM ET

McCain's Economic Hangover Part II

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Dana Bash | BIO
CNN Political Correspondent

I just spoke to Phil Gramm by phone (who is about to get on a plane and says he's not available or willing to do TV).

He told me he wanted to try to clarify his comments in the Washington Times.

First of all, he insisted that he was invited to the Washington Times to speak to reporters who used to cover him, and was speaking for himself and not the McCain campaign. "I didn't claim to be representing anyone except myself," he said.

In terms of the substance of what he said:

Gramm told me that what was trying to say was that LEADERS in the country are a bunch of whiners, not the people.

"The whiners are the leaders, hell the American people are victims, but it didn't quite come out that way in the story," Gramm said.

Gramm said he was trying to say the problem is leaders who "blame speculators and oil companies for our problems, instead of presenting concrete programs for using energy more efficiently, or leaders who don't think we can compete with Mexico."

"What we need is more leadership and less whining," Gramm said.

When I asked which leaders he was referring to, he said "there are all kinds of them, congress is full of them, and we have plenty on the national scene."

Gramm stood by his comments on the country being in a "mental recession,"

"I said we are in a mental recession. We keep getting the steady drum beat of bad news...it's become a mental recession. We don't have measured negative growth. That's a fact, that's not a commentary."

I asked Gramm... given the terms he used, given the position he has on the McCain campaign, didn't he realize the kind of political impact what he said could have?

He said this is just part of the "game" where anytime anyone says something, it could be "taken out of context."

Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Seems like Phil Gramm made more news with this remark than he ever has before – I had not heard of him in any significant context before this. If Congress is whining about the economy at least they realize there is something wrong to whine about – I just wish they would do something about it and do it fast – there's too many of us drowning out here and help is needed now.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 10, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  2. Lisa

    Since Phil Gramm helped get us into this mess, I presume he is one of the "whining leaders" on Capitol Hill he is referring to? Or is it only Dems that whine while Reps do nothing?

    July 10, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  3. Jim

    Please tell Mr. Gramm-
    1. I've been unemployed since Feb 2007 I get no unemployment or government aid of any kind & I'm surviving legally. Thanks to a friend that is a retired Viet Nam Vet who spent 20 years serving His Country
    2. Because I made less than $3,000.00 in 2007 I never got ANY
    STIMULAS Check yet I was told I'd get $600.00 Perhaps he would like to trade incomes for 1 month- He gets nothing & I get his pay check & with it I'd be able to pay off ALL my debts .
    3. Gas here is $4.65-9/10 a gallon
    BOTH PARTIES need to QUIT playing games & get the job they were elected & PAID to do DONE!!!!!!! or Come November we the Voters
    may repeat the Boston Tea Party & Throw useless politicians in Washington out of office. We The People are getting tired of ALL TALK & NO ACTION.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  4. Saad, Ramsey, NJ

    As much I want to say we seize all his bank accounts except the one which has about $15 K cash in it, take away all but one of his cars, take away all of his paid-up properties and leave him with one that has a mortgage on it, take away all credit cards but one and forget about him for 2 years – then meet him after 2 years and see what he has to say. But I will not say that because after 2 years, he may not be alive.

    Leave the poor guy alone, he is so old. He made a mistake, we all do. But he should just stay put and disappear in the Bahamas somewhere. He can afford it.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  5. Shirley

    He had to mean it , he said it I get sick and tired of all these people saying things and then when they get caught they apolige That doesn't mean he didn't mean it he just got caught

    July 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  6. mark hoffman

    Way to weasel out of that one. As a former "leader", I don't recall him having much luck in changing this country for the better. I think he would be doing a greater service to the nation if he just retired and kept his public pronoucements to a minimum.

    July 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Karen - Missouri

    It's well-known that neither McCain nor Gramm know anything about the American people, economics, nor how to get this nation into the 21st century.

    We know from how McCain and Gramm talk that there is no way McCain would do ANYTHING to help our economy if he were in office.

    It's time to get new blood in the White House for sure or our nation is at risk for more than just terrorism.

    July 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  8. Lesley

    Exactly why we need new, and I mean new, leaders. I'm glad that he agrees with Obama supporters. Meanwhile, nice try, but I think he is showing true colors.

    July 10, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  9. Cindy

    If Gramm meant the leaders are whiners then why didn't he say that too begin with? Seems like another backtracker to me! LOL

    But I do agree that our supposed leaders in congress moan and whine too much and do nothing to solve our problems. They just try to lay the blame on others instead of where it truly belongs...on themselves.

    I've said all along that we are in the mess that we are in now because of congress and our other leaders. They are too afraid to actually do anything for fear of peeing people off and losing their high profile jobs.


    July 10, 2008 at 2:18 pm |