July 10th, 2008
11:48 AM ET

McCain's economic hangover

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Dana Bash | BIO
CNN Political Correspondent

The McCain campaign is dealing with an economic hangover this morning.

Former Senator Phil Gramm, a top McCain economic adviser and campaign co-chairman, called Americans who have named the economy as a top concern this campaign cycle were “a nation of whiners.”

Here's more of what he said:

"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," he said, noting that growth has held up at about one percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. "We may have a recession; we haven't had one yet."

I'm told McCain will address Gramm's comments on the plane later today.

As you may expect, they are trying to move as far as fast from what Gramm said as possible.

On background, a senior aide sighed heavily and said "that's the problem with surrogates. They can get a lot of attention, but they're not always saying what you're saying."

On the record from another spokesman, Brian Rogers:

"Phil Gramm's comments are not representative of John McCain's views. John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they'll pay their mortgage. That's why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work."

Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    There seems to be a lot of foot in mouth disease in this political campaign on both sides of the aisle. Maybe its not more than it was in the past but we just hear so much more about it because of the increased coverage and the blogs on the internet. I'm sure both candidates would like some time when a surrogate doesn't give them something to disavow or apologize for.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 10, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  2. CaseyJPS

    "John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they’ll pay their mortgage. That’s why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”

    Bla, bla, bla...whose playbook did Brian Rogers get this from? At least TRY to be original, Brian! We've heard it all before. Until ANY politician can convince me they've ever lived from paycheck to paycheck, it's all bull–McCain will never know or understand the struggle consumers are experiencing right now, today.

    Phil Gramm is out-of-touch and pompous. I would think he would try to be less visible after the UBS scandal.

    July 10, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  3. Sandi AZ

    Cindy---I would like to know who those people are John McCain has helped????????????????

    July 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Marc

    So this is McCain's advisor? Sure sounds like the Bush GOP line of blame everyone else for their mismanagement – let's blame the media and the general public. Guess that the higher prices for food, gas and energy are only problems in our heads. And of course, the foreclosures are the public's own fault and really just in their heads anyway. Sounds to me that not only is McCain's strengths NOT in the economy but NOT in picking economic advisors either. Does no one care about the American public – is it only about power and money for the elite? Seems so...sorry Mr McCain...we needs new thinking and a new direction. I can't stand the thought of another 4 or 8 years of the same old stuff that is leading us nowhere. And frankly, I don't buy that it is all in our heads or that it is the media's fault. Take a look at your at your own party that has lead us down a dreadful path.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  5. Tom

    Sen. Gramm,

    Please come spend some of your cash in my store, in my town, in my state. Buy some American mad goods (if you can find them.) We are not whining, we need to economy stimulated ($600.00 doesn't cut it) Or better yet, work in a filthy factory for minimum wage and not be able to buy groceries for your family or gas for your 15 year old car to get to that job. Then you will see where most of us are today. Get over yourself. Things are bad, and you need to know that.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  6. JC- Los Angeles

    Another politician who fails to relate to ethical, hard working Americans, surprise surprise. McCain married into money but needs to remember where he came from. This country needs a top down audit and the removal of countless leaders regardless of tenure, senority or golden parachutes.

    If I were Carly Fiorina, I would be putting together a strategic plan for turning this country around and provide it to McCain immediately to share with the general public.

    The plan should include firing non-productive public servants and bills similar to Sarbanes Oxley that make a lack of oversight a felony. Our leaders need to stop practicing on the American people and be held accountable, period.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Bonnie

    Remember the old saying about the company you keep. He is after all an economic advisor to McCain, I do not believe for one minute that McCain's opinion is very far from Gramm's.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  8. mark hoffman

    Just the fact that that Texas blowhard is even associated with McSame is reason enuff for me to vote for Obama. McSame can backpedal all he wants, the truth is, a lot of the people he surrounds himself with believe that garbage, but most of them aren't dumb enough to say it.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Mai Zandi

    Funny that he would call people whiners when they can clearly recall when the economy was not a top concern. Afterall, the wording was 'top concern' and not 'top complaint'. Why would one be whining when buying food has become a painful ordeal that it never was before? If we are whining then maybe Gramm ought to but us some cheese to go with our 'whine'... I have been having to take the luxury of cheese off my grocery list of late... Gramm obviously has more cash than we do! –

    Oh, he is an economic advisor to McCain... is this the kind of advice we should rely on?

    July 10, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  10. Cynthia

    Why are they trying to move away from what Gramm said? I believe that Senator McCain thinks the same way but of course would never say it because he wants to be President. He's been married to Cindy for a numbers of years and either has forgotten or never knew what your everyday average citizen is confronted with.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  11. Sharon

    Easy to call people whiners when you've got paid health care, a huge salary not to mention all the perks (like lobbyists favors, etc.) He's on a very, very lucrative government dole. Perhaps Mr. Gramm should spend a week with the rest of us in the "real" world. You know, the world where gas is $4.50 a gallon and it takes $65.00 to fill up a Cavalier!!

    Unfortunately, Mr. Gramm is indicative of the Republicans in this country of ours. I've got mine so the h....with the rest of you "whiners."

    We have to remember, that no matter how horrible the economy is, the rich will never suffer.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  12. Susan


    It looks at if another surrogate has stuck his foot in his mouth again.

    Senator McCain will continue to tour the country and talk to the American people about the issues that concern them. Former Sen. Phil Gramm does not speak to us nor does he reflect the attitudes of Senator McCain.

    Another distraction to be ignored.


    Dana keep up the good work. You do good work Thanks !!!!

    July 10, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  13. Dennis ... TX

    Yep, that's the thing about 'surrogates". Sometimes they forget they're supposed to say what their candidate has determined the people want to hear, and instead say what their party really thinks. Who in this country doesn't know in their hearts which of the two major political parties is "elitist".

    July 10, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  14. Saad, Ramsey, NJ

    Duh… of course we are…. but it didn't just pop up in our heads. It is because of bad economic policy for 8 years now and has resulted in factors where people are having a tough time making ends meet.

    Take his extra millions away, put him in a state of an average American and then see him going through the same mental recession…. seriously!

    July 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm |
  15. Michelle

    Boy is is something in the water when it comes to stupid
    comments in this political season. Jesse Jackson thanks
    you very much Phil Gramm.

    July 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm |
  16. Cindy

    Yeah Gramm can call people whiners because he isn't one of us! He is sitting up in that big house on the hill collecting a big check that we pay him and doesn't have to worry about how he will pay his next bill or where will his next meal come from. He needs to get a life and keep his mouth shut.

    I don't believe for a second that McCain goes along with anything that Gramm said. He has always been about helping people. Not once has he shown an elitist side and tried to down anyone that wasn't in the same income bracket as him.


    July 10, 2008 at 11:58 am |