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Gramm Stands by Recession Comments


Former Sen. Phil Gramm, standing by Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in this June, 2007, photo, stood by his some of his controversial comments, too. (Associated Press)

Updated 3:16 p.m.
By Jonathan Weisman and Perry Bacon Jr.
Former senator Phil Gramm -- under fire for saying the United States has "become a nation of whiners" -- said in an interview today that he meant the nation's leaders were whiners, not its citizens.

But the top adviser to Sen. John McCain repeated his assertion that the economy is not in recession, and he declined to retract the comments quoted yesterday in the Washington Times.

"I'm not going to retract any of it. Every word I said was true," Gramm said.

Gramm stirred up controversy when he called the nation's economic malaise a "mental recession," then added, "We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline."

Speaking today from New York, where he was meeting with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on McCain's economic policies, Gramm said the nation's economy was initially thought to have grown by an anemic 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. That was revised up to 0.9 percent, and again to 1.0 percent.

"Look, the economy is bad. It is far below what we Americans have a right to expect, but we are not in a recession," he said. "We may or may not have one in the future, but based on the data we are not in a recession. But that does not mean all this talk does not have a psychological impact."

He said his staff had told him the Washington Times misquoted his "whiners" comment.

"When I said we've become a nation of whiners, I'm talking about our leaders. I'm not talking about our people," he said. "We've got every kind of excuse in the world about oil prices -- we've got speculators, the oil companies to blame -- but too many people don't have a program to get on with a job of producing."

"If you listen to our leaders, we can't compete against Mexico, for God's sake," Gramm continued. "If they don't think we can compete against Mexico who can we compete against?"

Gramm's comments quickly became fodder for political debate. Barack Obama mocked them before a crowd of more than 2,000 at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Va., where he was speaking on economic issues important to women.

"He said we're in a mental recession, I guess what he meant was it's a figment of our imagination, these high gas prices," Obama said. "It's not just a figment of your imagination, it's not all in your heads, when people are struggling with the rising cost of everything from gas to groceries ... this economic downturn is not in your head."

Turning to the GOP nominee himself, Obama said "this comes after Senator McCain recently admitted his energy proposal for the gas tax holiday will have mainly 'psychological benefits.' Now I want all of you to know that America already has one Dr. Phil, we don't need another," he said. "When it comes to the economy, we need somebody who can actually solve the economy."

McCain's campaign was in damage control mode.

"If you have ten advisers, you'll have twenty different opinions between them," one campaign aide said. "Obviously this stands in stark contrast to McCain's views on the current state of the economy, which is why he has spent the week talking with people about how we are going to fix it."

Posted at 1:28 PM ET on Jul 10, 2008  | Category:  John McCain
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Posted by: dzsl8d4pi8 | July 12, 2008 12:59 PM

We are a nation of people educated by sound bites. I've not heard one reporter DEFINE the word "recession."

Whining? That's a bit of an opinion, I guess; however, Gramm's comment on the recession was fact.

The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
These are the facts for the past five quarters:
1Q 2007 = .6
2Q 2007 = 2.8
3Q 2007 = 4.9
4Q 2007 = .6
1Q 2008 = 1.0

Food is up. Gas is definitely up. That makes pessimism go up. That's all Gramm was saying. He's right and McCain's response was cowardly.

How, out of a nation of intelligent people, did we end up with two presidential candidates that are laden with a methodology of appeasement and just swaying in the hot air of public opinion. I want a President with a capital "P."

Here are a couple of links to take us beyond sound bites and our own lives' limited experiences.
http://investment.suite101.com/article.cfm/recession_definition_and_gdp

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/dieckmann/080528

Posted by: M Dickerson | July 11, 2008 7:48 PM

I don't need the right-wing media or the left liberal media to tell me gas has increased 3x in the past 7 years, my groceries are more expensive, my dollar is worth a lot less than it use to when I travel to other countries and my paycheck does not buy as much as it use to. Who the hell needs the media to tell us things are worse?

Posted by: RealityCheck | July 11, 2008 5:30 PM

The news media,the fourth branch of government,is trying to sway this election. Nothing but, doom and gloom, about the economy, about Iraq, about Bush,about our military,about oil, and on and on. They are nothing short of despicable, liberal, socialist,SOB's. They are pushing Hussein Obama down everyone's throat.They lie, they cheat and they even stab each other in the back. If this is what freedon of speech, or the press is all about, then I do not want any part of it.The media is almost to the point of being treasonous, with all their news about our secret information. If this phony Obama gets elected, I wonder what they will say when he destroys this country or turns it into a socialist, communist, third world piece of crap.Obama and the media are more of a threat then the worst terrorists. God help the USA.I am a 6yr. vet. and McCain supporter.

Posted by: frank v. | July 11, 2008 4:41 PM

People like to cite Kinsley about gaffes saying that a gaffe is when people state their true feelings, but which turn out to be irresonant with political expediency. That's fine. But there is worse. In this case, the gaffe displayed not political bluntness or tone-deafedness, but rather insensitivity and indifference to other's plights. Phil Gramm is a millionaire. That he finds that people who are not happy with the economy are only whiners just shows his callousness. For him and the wealthy supports on FoxNews (agreeing with him)it shows that they don't recognize what happens to the non-wealthy when the economy goes bad. It shows they don't care.

Posted by: babar1 | July 11, 2008 4:09 PM

We are NOT a nation of whiners. We are a proud nation of hard working people trying to support our families, and we are pissed off with the way our country is being governed. Anybody who thinks we are lazy or complainers should find another place to live!

Posted by: Believer | July 11, 2008 3:52 PM

Barack Hussein Obama has received massive amounts of money for his campaign...he refused public election money and is refusing to abide by the spending limits every presidential candidate has agreed to since Watergate...ISP have trace monies from Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, and other Middle Eastern Countries...sources of his mountains of cash need to be investigated & audited by the legislature and perhaps new laws to insure it complies with the letter of the law and the spirit as well. To buy our office of President is unacceptable.

Posted by: ltk01 | July 11, 2008 2:58 PM

THIS BOONDOOGLE OF FREE MARKET CAPITALISM THAT BEGAN WITH WINGNUT REAGAN HAS CONTINUED TO FRUITION WITH WINGNUT BUSH, TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS OF SHREDDING ANY ECONOMIC OVERSIGHT & REGULATION BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES; AND, CLINTON IS AS GUILTY AS THE OTHER G.O.P. MALEFACTORS, BECAUSE HE IS SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER, BUT WAS DELUDED BY HIS OWN SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT!
THE NEW TEAM OF WINGNUTS WHO KOWTOW TO THE SHRINE OF ADAM SMITH & AYN RAND ARE McNUTT, GRAMM, FIORINA. WHAT A TROIKA TO SEND US FURTHER INTO THE HOLE. IN THE 1920'S IT ONLY TOOK THREE G.O.P. ADMINISTRATIONS TO SERVE AMERICA THE "GREAT DEPRESSION", HAVING NEVER LEARNED, WE BELIEVED THE SNAKE OIL SALESMEN BEGINNING WITH REAGAN, BUSH, CLINTON, AND BUSH II. A PATHETIC JOKE IF ONLY IT IS NOT SO TRAGIC!
THE ONLY AMEROLIATIVE QUALITY IS THAT "WE THE PEOPLE" GET THE GOVERNMENT WE DESERVE!

Posted by: tom tyskiewicz | July 11, 2008 12:29 PM

I don't know why there is so much fuss about Phil Gramm's statement. These are the people who McCain has surrounded himself with, and they will be a part of his Administration. These are the ones that support the existing Administration of George W. Bush. And Don't forget that one of his other Economic Advisors, (Figirinio)(sp) the X female head of HP who said that Americans don't have a card Blanch on American Jobs, and proceeded to off-shore many of HP's Jobs before she was forced out. So I guess she will end up being McCain's Trade Advisor if he's elected. If the American Public think they have it bad now, wait until they witness their situation if McCain is elected in November.

leart

Posted by: leart2 | July 11, 2008 11:44 AM

The world's largest economy will slow to a 0.5 percent annualized growth rate from October to December, down from a 1 percent estimate last month, according to the median forecast of 63 economists surveyed from June 30 to July 9.

The survey indicates the U.S. unemployment rate will rise to 5.8 percent by the end of 2008, from 5.5 percent currently. The economy in June lost jobs for a sixth month, for a total of 438,000 job cuts so far this year.

The Labor Department reported today that the number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits climbed 91,000 in the week ended June 28 to 3.202 million, the highest level since December 2003.

Pier 1 Imports Inc., the biggest U.S. retailer of imported furniture, clothing-store chain Men's Wearhouse Inc. and Office Depot Inc. are among companies this week reporting weaker sales or plans to close stores.

Consumer prices will rise 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year before. That's up from projections of 3.4 percent in the June survey.

Consumer price gains have been led by the surge in fuel and other commodity costs. Crude oil reached a record of $145.85 on July 3. Regular unleaded gasoline prices touched a high of $4.11 a gallon last week, according to AAA.

Rising costs contributed to a slump in consumer confidence to a 28-year low in June, according to the University of Michigan/Reuters survey. Sentiment also deteriorated after home values in 20 major metropolitan areas fell for 16 straight months through April.

Source: Bloomberg News (U.S. Economy to Stall as `Perfect Storm Returns')
--------
Right Phil, it's a "mental recession" ...from your ivory tower.

Posted by: Charlie G | July 11, 2008 11:31 AM

Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000
look it up.
Phil's trying to sustain his own political legacy in the face of the failure his efforts have created.
A lot of folks have computers, but not everyone with a computer has a house to plug it into.
So many people lost their life savings in Texas and elsewhere during the Enron debacle.
Now many many more people will lose their life savings in REIT trusts (packaged mortgage buyers) and in the loss of their homes (subprime/predatory lenders).
When was the last time you looked at your retirement income statement? Are you really doing as well as YOU THINK you're doing?

Posted by: MisterO | July 11, 2008 11:14 AM

"Mccain is afraid to say the truth! Gramm is right! I'm sick of hearing everybody say how bad the economy is. This is all from the liberal media. President Bush has done a great job, so everybody quit your damn whining and enjoy the benefits. And if you really think you are behind, its probably because you are slacking off and not working your ass off like the rest of us. Dam lazy liberals."

You're delusional. What world are you living in? Gas is above $4 a gallon. We have record job losses, record trade deficits, record foreclosures, record drops in housing prices, stock market is on a continuous downward trend, energy prices continue to climb with no end in sight, high food prices, wild speculation and severe lack regulation in the markets. People are actually working their asses off harder than ever and still cannot keep up with inflation. Does a 2 or 3% raise cover 6 or 7% rise in the cost of living? So tell us, how are you reaping all the benefits of this wonderful economy?

Let Phil Gramm keep saying what he said. Its just more ammunition for Obama.

Posted by: Yankee | July 11, 2008 10:55 AM

Mccain is afraid to say the truth! Gramm is right! I'm sick of hearing everybody say how bad the economy is. This is all from the liberal media. President Bush has done a great job, so everybody quit your damn whining and enjoy the benefits. And if you really think you are behind, its probably because you are slacking off and not working your ass off like the rest of us. Dam lazy liberals.

Posted by: Texas John | July 11, 2008 6:46 AM

Actually this might not turn out so bad for John McCain. I had not known that Phil Gramm was working for McCain until this happened. McCain is weak with conservatives and they might be encouraged by the fact that Gramm is working for McCain. Phil Gramm was popular with conservatives in his day.

Since this will probably be forgotten in the fall by the general public this could even be a small net plus for McCain.

This is not as beneficial as Jesse Jackson's remarks into the mike are to Barack Obama but it might not be that bad for McCain. Gramm will probably take a less public role after this but conservaties now know he is there and it might make McCain more palatable to them.

Posted by: danielhancock | July 11, 2008 1:21 AM

The statement by the former senator who helped pass the enron loophole and subprime de-regulation's quote made me wonder what elite glasses he looks at the world. Now McCain's economic plan makes more sense given that Mr. Graham helped draft it. The economy isn't bad, the high gas, grocery, and other costs are just part of our mental recession. Actually, the line about us being in a mental recession reminded me of that scene in Animal House where Kevin Bacon gets mowed down, " " Remain calm. All is well!"

Posted by: Brian J | July 10, 2008 11:58 PM

Dictionary: "A recession occurs when real growth is negative for two or more successive quarters of a year.

Not happening."

That's only because the government puts out phony inflation numbers. GDP minus inflation equals growth. Do you really believe that we only have 4% inflation now? If so, your servants must be buying your groceries. Other countries with stronger currencies than ours are reporting inflation rates of around 10%, so our inflation must be at least that. If the government put out an honest inflation number, the numbers would have shown us to be in a recession for at least the last two quarters. It's really sad that it's gotten to the point where average people really can't trust American government stats, as if we lived in a third world country.

Posted by: Sara R | July 10, 2008 11:56 PM

Republicans don't understand that although things are well for the wealthy (who view a downturn in the market as an opportunity to invest), the rest of us are suffering.

Posted by: Mike | July 10, 2008 10:31 PM

Representative Rangel Rents 4 Apartments at Bargain Rates

While aggressive evictions are making rent-stabilized
apartments increasingly scarce in New York, Representative
Charles B. Rangel is enjoying four of them, including three
adjacent apartments in a sprawling penthouse overlooking
Upper Manhattan, courtesy of one of New York's premier real
estate developers.

Mr. Rangel, the powerful Democrat who is chairman of the
House Ways and Means Committee, uses his fourth apartment,
six floors below, as a campaign office, despite state and
city regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to
be used as a primary residence.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/?emc=na


throw the bums out


The WORLD is watching


Patiotism is impeaching Bush and the gang who cant shoot straight. Impeach Nancy Pelosi (her husband Paul is getting some of spoils in Iraq) for not putting impeachment back on the table.

Posted by: Seedyrum | July 10, 2008 10:28 PM

The World is Watching

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" John F. Kennedy.


What I can do for my country??

Get a rally, a march, a sitin and demand that Congress do its job and impeach Bush today.

Demand all my fellow citizens vote out all incumbents, yes all. They are the ones who caused this fiasco. aLL OF THESE FIASCO

Bush illegal war, the Afganistan war that should be fought but isnt, capturing Osama,
mortgage mess, credit fiasco, trashing the Constitution, politicizing all departments of the Government, commiting USA to third world status, trashing USA image and reputation around the world, decifict spending, outsourcing of Americans jobs, allowing Employers to hire illegal immigrants to dummy down Americans wages, increasing the size of National debt, not paying for his Illegal war in his lifetime, borrowing money from any country who will loan Bush money, allowing poisone foods in the country and the list goes on.

Throw all the incumbents bums out of both party.

Impeach Bush now this week this day this hour.

To do anything less is UNPATRIOTIC.

Posted by: Seedyrum | July 10, 2008 9:38 PM

Zzzz Wake me up when something happens.

Posted by: D.R.Hunter | July 10, 2008 9:34 PM

Gramm is largely responsible for the ARM mortgage mess America is in. He 'worked' with banking lobbyists in 2000 to have the capitations removed from exotic mortgage schemes. Now Gramm works for a Swiss bank.Mc"needs a"Cain seems to have every lobbyists or former lobbyist working in his campaign. I guess his 8 homes and Wendy's $750,000 a month expense for them has removed the old man from reality.

Posted by: tanaS | July 10, 2008 7:56 PM

So McCain says, "Phil Gramm doesn't speak for me. I speak for me" but yet Gramm was, "Speaking today from New York, where he was meeting with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on McCain's economic policies". Okaaaaay.

McCain might as well be looking into the camera, wagging his finger...

Posted by: LizG | July 10, 2008 7:45 PM

So sez "OP":
"I am no fan of Phil Gramm, but he's right on this one.
'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.' John F. Kennedy"
Posted by: OP | July 10, 2008 1:33 PM
==
I voted for Kennedy.
I am certain Kennedy didn't mean shut down Social Security and abandon the elderly to mopping floors at McDonald's or crippling themselves with plantus fasciatus on the raw concrete floors of Lowe's or Home Depot.
The descriptions above are what some middle-income Americans in their mid to late 50s are left with, when the company they work for bankrupts and they are thrown out on the street with a tight job market in a recession.
That is what they have to look forward to, if they don't want to see what savings they were able to set away for retirement siphoned off while they are unemployed for months on end.
But Phil Gramm isn't Kennedy and he could care less.
His investments, unlike most Americans, are salted away in the Caymans or Dubai.
McCain is listening to Phil Gramm -- not to you.
The American economy and infrastructure can't tolerate 4 more years of McCain/McBush.
OP is one of those people to whom POGO was referring.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 7:44 PM

It's good that the McCain team is coordinating their talking points, as John McCain's been talking about how the problems with the economy, gas prices, energy, et al, and his proposals to solve them, are 'mostly psychological', for months now.

Alternative energy? McCain will harness the power of the subconscious, store it in a science-contest-prize battery, and use it to power your new 'horseless carriage'.

Go McCain!

http://www.womenforjohnmccain.com/

Posted by: Christina West | July 10, 2008 7:34 PM

And I am SO certain the 'liberal' media will pounce all over McCain for Gramm's comments, right? Like how they pounce all over Obama for Wes Clarks comments, right, because the media is SO liberal, especially when they are all invited over to one of McCain's 8 homes to enjoy BBQ on a Sunday. The liberal AP Liz whatsherface who loves to bring McCain coffee just the way he likes it, gush gush fawn fawn.

No, this comment will die in the news cycle quickly because the media is so biased...towards their 'maverick' they spent so much time building up. They have such a crush on McCain, they let him slide on everything he says. Now, if Obama said he would balance the budget without offering specifics, the 'liberal' press would never let him live it down. But McCain can do it, and they don't say a word.

Posted by: Johnny | July 10, 2008 6:53 PM

You guys do not have any idea, how to live in other countries, like India, China, philippines, Brazil or the likes of these countries. You already have a college degree, still you can not find a job with a minimum wage in these countries.
I know this, because I was born & raise there.
American people are bunch of babies. Give me, Give me, I am hungry.
Come on get up and work, so that you can feed yourself.

Posted by: Abe | July 10, 2008 6:52 PM

This is the same Phil Gramm that slipped in the 'Enron loophole' that allowed hedgefunds and investment banks to get into the oil commodities market thereby contributing to the high cost of oil? And he is an economic advisor for McCain? I'm not whining; I'm mad as hell. Won't be voting for McCain, that's for sure.

Posted by: SallyB | July 10, 2008 6:50 PM

OK-McCain has the title for Flip-Flop-no one can take that way from him- But Gramm just totally flipped out!

If America is a bunch of people who whine, than why are the McCain supporters on this Blog still whining to the world about Obama and his people said this and Obama changed that...you're right about that whine and see-here comes more of it.

And By the Way your loud mouth leader Mr. Gramm, (not McCain because he is a puppet and he has all these idiots telling him what to say) actually had a huge helping hand in the mortgage crisis that millions of these people are psychologically feeling right now. He regulated all the bank policies...ha ha...

These are the people, the crooks that you want watching your back while they rob you blind at night...kind of like the gas pump-one day it is $2.97 and overnight we are at $4.35...makes you wonder-did the economy get a boost all of a sudden or did you get a raise? I don't think-so ...Bush-McCain is helping these oil companies rip you off and McCain-GRAMM who is also part of the Enron-loophole is making you guys take it up the A$$... does any one else want cheese with that whine? Have a nice day :)

Posted by: shiloh | July 10, 2008 6:46 PM

OK-McCain has the title for Flip-Flop-no one can take that way from him- But Gramm just totally flipped out!

If America is a bunch of people who whine, than why are the McCain supporters on this Blog still whining to the world about Obama and his people said this and Obama changed that...you're right about that whine and see-here comes more of it.

And By the Way your loud mouth leader Mr. Gramm, (not McCain because he is a puppet and he has all these idiots telling him what to say) actually had a huge helping hand in the mortgage crisis that millions of these people are psychologically feeling right now. He regulated all the bank policies...ha ha...

These are the people, the crooks that you want watching your back while they rob you blind at night...kind of like the gas pump-one day it is $2.97 and overnight we are at $4.35...makes you wonder-did the economy get a boost all of a sudden or did you get a raise? I don't think-so ...Bush-McCain is helping these oil companies rip you off and McCain-GRAMM who is also part of the Enron-loophole is making you guys take it up the A$$... does any one else want cheese with that whine? Have a nice day :)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 6:45 PM

Gee, who is the elitist now?

Thank you so much Phil Gramm for your comments, they will be used against your buddy Johnny Mac in the future time and time again.

Thank you so much John McCain for running a completely inept campaign so far, free of message discipline. Bout time to hire another manager, eh?

Posted by: Johnny | July 10, 2008 6:41 PM

John McCain would rely on his economic advisers to determine the next four years of our lives. We are going to elect a President who will appoint someone to guide our economy through some tough times. Like those of Bush, McCain's appointees will work behind the scenes and out of the direct glare of the media...Maybe we should be seriously looking at who this guy is surrounding himself with.

Lobbyists and investment bankers have a way different agenda on the economy than you and I.

Posted by: Brian Iwakiri | July 10, 2008 6:20 PM

Actually, we are a nation of whiners. The comments posted here are a good example. The American people get way too much credit than they deserve. In general they're irresponsible, can't manage their finances, complain about almost everything, and are largely ignorant about how their own government and free market system works. I hope Obama gets elected because the people of this country deserve what they have coming to them. My family is fine and the gas prices don't bother me because I've had my financial act together for years. In fact, I'm cheering for $8/gal gasoline so the American people get a taste of what real economic hardship is like. It's time to unleash Obama to give this country a heavy dose of reality and perspective.

Posted by: Steve | July 10, 2008 6:09 PM

Gramm looks even more like Mister Magoo than McLame does.

Gramm is the idiot who CAUSED this mess in the first place. He railroaded through the bill that deregulated the financial industry and caused the subprime fiasco.

McLame says we are not in a recession. Of course, that's because Chimpy's thugs are fudging the numbers to show a 0.6% GDP growth rate when the actual rate is negative and has been for two quarters.

Chimpy's thugs are also lying about unemployment and inflation rates and are refusing to report the M3 rate because it proves they are fudging all the other numbers.

We need a change.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 10, 2008 5:18 PM

"So you tell me, what part of that is not bad?"

Just tell me what part is human error and what is the fault of the economy. What we see is the result of a criminal conspiracy against the people of the USA.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 10, 2008 5:08 PM

McCain is a tool. He is yet another heartless, clueless, brain-dead, selfish, ignorant, lying, stealing, cheating Republican prick. He needs to crawl back to one of his many mansions and get back to berating his shopaholic heiress, plastic surgery-addicted wife and let this country get back to the Constitution.

Posted by: PaulJ | July 10, 2008 5:06 PM

"Thanks, Dr. Phil!! "

Why thank someone you ignore when they tell you the truth? Just wait and see.

You make political points, but have no contact with reality. I see a great future for you in politics. Perhaps later on you can pay someone to explain it all to you.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 10, 2008 5:04 PM

Who do you believe? The man with the PhD in economics or the political person who wants to win? Senator Obama lost a lot of stature in my eyes when he mocked Senator Gramm for being right. His rhetoric was wonderful but wrong. McCain gets no credit for refusing to support the truth - even if it were a Democratic trick to say how bad the economy and they expected McCain to dispute them. He did not fall into that trap. But I have no truck with those who play with the truth for political games and ignore the facts of the matter.

A pox on all of them.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 10, 2008 5:00 PM

Phil Gramm, another old man shaking his fist at the clouds...let me guess, McCain's Head of Commerce? Treasury? What will be his plan - close your eyes, clear your thoughts, and count to three - $2.00 gas will appear? A new job? A house with equity? Hell, maybe we can meditate our way out of a deficit. Thanks, Dr. Phil!!

Posted by: 2008 | July 10, 2008 4:59 PM

All those kool-aid drinkers who woke up and had to face two realities. Everything Bush and the Republicans told them was a lie and that the (more than) half of America that voted for Gore was right. I'd be depressed if I were them. Reality bites!

It almost sounds like Gramm is bitter.

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 10, 2008 4:58 PM

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Posted by: jzl6mertvv | July 10, 2008 4:42 PM

McShame has the most ham-fisted campaign and I lay the blame squarely on McShame himself.

If this is how McShame runs a campaign FOR President, imagine how McShame runs the government AS President.

We'll fondly look back on GWB's administration as a well-oiled machine.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | July 10, 2008 4:32 PM

Phil Gramm is right to some extent when he suggests that there is a psychological component to a recession. If people feel that the economy is going to be slow in the future, they will postpone major purchases and business will postpone investments. General uncertainty about the future also feeds the recession psychology. Even the uncertainty over which candidate will win and what will they do contributes to this.

That being said, there is current tangible economic evidence that we are in a recession now such as the housing glut, high energy prices, and the decline in stock market indexes. This recession may be caused by the factors listed above or may be part of the normal business cycle.

But Gramm's mental recession argument takes awhile to explain and is not sound bite material to say the least. If it takes longer than twenty seconds to explain something in a campaign then you are probably going to lose the argument.

Gramm also violated another rule. Advisors or staff should never make public statements that create problems for their candidate They should stay in the background and let their candidate get the attention.

John McCain has to keep this campaign on the issues to win. If people are talking about what Gramm said, what Jesse Jackson said into the mike, Michelle Obama, Reverend Wright, and other non-relevant topics, it allows Barack Obama to avoid specifics on the issues.

To his credit: former Senator Gramm was one of the last persons to make a serious stab at controlling federal spending.

Posted by: danielhancock | July 10, 2008 4:24 PM

What's with all the Republican trolls?

Now I don't mind intellectually honest responses but you guys are trying to blame high gas on Congressional Dems??? Please. If you read WaPo you should know MUCH of why we have high gas is from our dollar that GW Bush has weakened to the point of a recession.

Phil Gramm represents McCain's true views of Americans. McCain's campaign tried to pin Wes Clark's comments on Obama when Clark is loosely affiliated with the campaign. Now McCain says his TOP adviser on the economy doesn't speak for him. Nice try.

Plus McCain has already made similar comments about how US economic problems are "psychological." Who knew McCain was such an expert?

Posted by: Lolis | July 10, 2008 4:16 PM

dictionary:

When your neighbors loose their jobs, it a recession, When you loose your job, it's a depression. The definition not withstanding.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 3:54 PM

I hope Phil Gramm keeps on spewing his ill-tempered and inaccurate bile. As long as he remains the closest thing McCain has to an economic brain, Obama will continue to look like a genius.

Gramm and McCain are thoroughly out of touch with the experiences of ordinary Americans, who buy gas, run small businesses, struggle to pay mortgages, chose between paying for medicine and buying food, and who fight an insane war on Iraq.

Enough with these heartless and brainless Republicans. They have driven our nation into the ditch and are now blaming the passengers for the disaster.

Posted by: dee | July 10, 2008 3:46 PM

clinging and bitter. You misrepresent the democrats control of congress. The president has said that he will veto any legislation he does not agree with. You need a 60 percent vote to prevent the presdents veto. With a majority of one or two democrat seats, nothings going to happen. For the very first time in six years the President has begun to veto legislation. Don't blame congtrss.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 3:45 PM

Re: Update for Graham

Again honesty is the best policy especially when you are involved in "a war of words" with someone who lies.

Posted by: Premier | July 10, 2008 3:35 PM

Re: Senator McCain

I've watched Senator McCain campaigning in Belleville, MI. I am very glad that he finally has his own voice and style. Voters see that.

Senator McCain does not need a "script" or a "transcript." Governing is not an act or a drama. It is a serious job.

Senator McCain's past experiences are his real transcripts with which he has to play. His advisors have to let him speak what he thinks correct and right. Please do not "paint" or try to "portray" him as someone different from whom & what we know.

Senator McCain also needs a cordless microphone for his town-hall meeting style speeches.

I also appreciate the fact that McCain and his Campaign did read all of our comments. That means Senator McCain listens. I like that.

His speech was great showing us how genuine he is. Please keep the John McCain Brand--as it is.

"Branding" is not about "selling images" as Obama's Campaign is doing: You have to let voters see through "the" substance. You can't paint your soul, either.

You were a no-Black yesterday and today you are suddenly-a-black? You have eliminated all trails of "blackness," and now you are suddenly-a-son-of-a-black-Dad-from-Kenya? You disowned your pastor and Church, and now you are suddenly-going-to-Black-Church? You disowned your God, now you are suddenly-a-Catholic fighting for the Faith Initiative that President Bush initiated?

Give me a break.

Posted by: Premier | July 10, 2008 3:31 PM

I hear whiners! No one likes to be called whiners. But let's face it, we are! Europeans had lived with $5 gas for years. Why can't we? And we call them sissies.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"

By stop driving your stupid SUVs. I hear people say, "it is my right to drive what I want." Yes, it is your right. But when it backfired on you, DON'T whine about it!

WHINERS~!

Posted by: Whiner | July 10, 2008 3:29 PM

Yep, Europe is so great they had to band together just to compete. I think I'd rather not have a national HMO that like Oregon pays for assisted suicide but won't pay for some cancer treatments.

Posted by: Kurt C. | July 10, 2008 3:28 PM

The Democrats when they took over Congress in 2006 promised us a plan to reduce gas prices. Instead it has only increased.

We're still waiting for that non-existent plan.

Posted by: Kurt C. | July 10, 2008 3:26 PM

Looks like a bunch of whiners hit this thread, too.

You want hurt? Go back to the Great Depression. Ever see a picture of people in those days? You never saw overweight people then or very, very rarely.

People talking about oil company record profits need to educate themselves on financial statements. I don't see you whining about Google's profit margin.

Posted by: Kurt C. | July 10, 2008 3:24 PM

I want answers, and not whining. As a registered, disillusioned Democrat, I think I may vote Republican this one (economists are supporting McCain, and at least he is providing solutions rather than playing the blame game) or I may just sit this one out.
---------------------------------
Go ahead Benedict Lieberman. Who needs your vote anyway. Just go running to the party who lied to the American people to go to War that's costing us trillions of dollars per month. Go ahead when you have people like Dick Cheney and Haliburton profitting from the War itself which is why they are in no hurry to end it. Go ahead and vote for the party that took a surplus in 2000 only to have us indebted for eons to China. Vote for a party that has gas at 4.15 a gallon and hasn't thought of coming up with any kind of energy plan since taking over. Go ahead and vote for a party that's on the verge on sapping away our Social Security. Vote for a party that has had no platform in 20 years to run on except for race baiting and swiftboat johnny ads. See ya. Tell how me how it feels the next time you fill your tank up from "E" or go to the grocery store where a gallon of milk is almost as much as gas is at 4.29.

Posted by: 2pacolypse Now | July 10, 2008 3:17 PM

Again....What part of whining by all of us "downtrodden" is useful? None of it. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and ride! That's what generations before us have done. It's what the US is built upon....personal diligence and responsbility....not NANNY STATE government programs and policies.

Gramm is right.

Who is crying? Babies are crying. Necessity is the mother of invention...tired of gas prices...start thinking. Don't wait for someone else to develop something better. I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 10, 2008 3:17 PM

Thank you mr. gramm. Obama - hang these comments around mccains neck like a cheap wh*re.

Maybe then we'll actually see Mr. Gramms involvement with UBS and the mortgage mess brought to light.

Posted by: Not fooled | July 10, 2008 3:13 PM

This is a clear example of the failures of capitalism. In Europe people have universal healthcare, and no one goes poor or hungry. The rich people in America want to keep poor people poor. We need to stop being so afraid of socialism. The Cold War is over. If rich people were willing to share someone of their wealth that they made off poor people, then there wouldn't be poor people and everyone could have healthcare and adequate housing and clothing. Poverty is ridiculous in America especially with people driving mercedes and lexuses. In America, we are all about the mantra capitalism and ignore the side-effects, which are gross income inequality and a system where the rich get fat and the poor are left without healthcare, food, or shelter. It's time to change the system.

Posted by: Gobama | July 10, 2008 3:09 PM

I'm assuming people who say this isn't so bad are either well off or blind. Millions of houses are/will be foreclosed on. The Dow and S&P are in a bear market, meaning they've lost over 20% of their value. Banks and Investment groups are losing billions due to bad loans, and their investment woes do come back to hurt us all. Unemployment is rising, and the lower 25% of the country hasnt seen a decent rise in real wages in decades. Even the Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, believes these economic woes will continue into next year. Oh, and then there are the gas prices hurting everybody.

So you tell me, what part of that is not bad?

Posted by: Andrew | July 10, 2008 3:04 PM

The Democratic controlled Congress has done absolutely nothing. I am pissed off that I voted for them in the mid-terms. They have accomplished squat. If they disagree with Bush so much why are they passing a wire-tap bill (that yes the Democratic nominee Obama has flip-flopped on and is now supporting).

The Democrats run on blaming the Bush administration for everything.

I want answers, and not whining. As a registered, disillusioned Democrat, I think I may vote Republican this one (economists are supporting McCain, and at least he is providing solutions rather than playing the blame game) or I may just sit this one out.

Posted by: Answers | July 10, 2008 3:04 PM

A recession occurs when real growth is negative for two or more successive quarters of a year.

Not happening.

Posted by: Dictionary | July 10, 2008 3:00 PM

So, what's worse - telling a group of liberal elites that Americans are bitter and CLING to guns and religion or telling Americans that our leaders are whiners?

Our leaders are whiners. The Demoracts ran in 2006 by blaming everything on Bush, foreigners, and outsourcing. They got elected and took a decent majority of both houses of Congress. Two years later, things are exactly the same - probably even worse. They are not taking accountability for their actions (or lack thereof) and are whining.

Gramm is right on. Our leaders are whiners, and whining and blaming other people is not going to fix anything. Frankly, whining is un-American and contradicts our can-do attitude. In the meanwhile, I'm not a gunowner, but I am bitter that our leaders in Congress are whiners. I will also CLING to my religion and have faith that this nation will elect better leaders in Congress and the White House. I may not agree with every policy position John McCain holds, but I do know that he has the personal courage to stand up to his own party and popular opinion to do what he sincerely believes is the best for America. Meanwhile Obama continues to pander to the middle in his selfish bid for power. Obama is the classic whiner, and hopefully bitter Americans can see past his machinations.

Posted by: Clinging and bitter | July 10, 2008 2:57 PM

Oh, for crying out loud! Graham is absolutely right that the hand-wringing and over-emphasis on the negatives in the current economic climate are exacerbating the staggering loss of consumer confidence. The FACTS aren't half as bad as the Democrats and their media megaphones make them out to be. Times are certainly tough, but they come on the heels of one of the longest post-war expansions in history. A sense of perspective would be welcome, rather than pandering for votes by fanning the flames of class warfare.

Posted by: Jim | July 10, 2008 2:56 PM

Phil Gramm was never the brightest bulb on the block.

I suppose he is somewhat correct in that the definition of recession depends upon who you are talking to. Mostly, the "R" word is defined on Wall Street. They can't seem to agree (although they are closer than they were two months ago). The government won't use the same definition because it makes them look bad. The talking heads on the financial channels argue every day about whether we are in a recession.They just use up air time. I guess we have to look at our own situation and define whether we are in a recession. If you just got fired from GM, we probably are in a recession. If you are lucky enough to be employed by Google., well, thinks look pretty good!

Posted by: leonard | July 10, 2008 2:54 PM

I'm sure Phil Gramm got into his gas-guzzling Hummer as he finished his interview with the WSJ, and had to stop for gas twice on his way to JFK to FLY home in a jet-fueled airplane. He probably used more gas on the day of spewing this nonsense than the average American can afford to buy in a week!

Stop your whining people, McCain's going to make your bosses richer and eventually you'll get *something* trickling down.

Good Lord, the entire GOP worldview would be truly pathetic if it wasn't such a painful farce for our good nation and especially the families sacrificing loved ones for a LIE of a war.

Posted by: Doug in Mount Vernon | July 10, 2008 2:48 PM

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

And the Republicans wonder why they struggle with average working people?

I sure hope all those rural folks down South (and in Appalachia) are hearing this! YOU lousy lazy non-innovative whiners with lack of educational opportunity and little capital to work with are just WHINING!!!! You have no legitimate reason to complain about this economy! Screw you if your job has been moved to India, Mexico, or Indonesia! You OBVIOUSLY were too busy complaining about the lack of pay raises instead of working, and how dare you try to say we're in a receission!

What a fantastic and winning campaign for the GOP!

Posted by: Doug in Mount Vernon | July 10, 2008 2:44 PM

I can't believe that the Post is only covering this in a small link on the Election 2008 page, while there's lots of "ink" devoted to Jesse Jackson on the home page. The Post is becoming, like CNN, a glorified National Enquirer.

Posted by: brian | July 10, 2008 2:39 PM

OMG. How in the heck can an elected official say something so utterly dumb, senseless, and non caring during this time where the middle class on down is hurting beyond belief. The pain is real and apparently Mr. Gramm's pockets don't allow him to see the hurt this economy has put on us. I guess him and McFlip Flop figure they are okay financially so who cares about the rest of us. Sounds like a typical Republican statement and a typical Republican way of doing business. Question is, would you vote somebody who thinks like that or employs staff in top level cabinet positions who think like that? I won't. Hell couldn't freeze over hard enough more McLame to even think he could get my vote. No 26 year Senator who knows nothing about how our economy works is worthy of anybody's vote.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 2:22 PM

If Obama doesn't use Gramm's quotes in a commercial, I'm going to be really pissed off.

Posted by: Patrick | July 10, 2008 2:15 PM

As an Obama supporter this comment by Gramm is a wonderful gift! Obama should use this incident to keep attacking McCain on the issue of the economic recession. He can now easily pin McCain as a candidate that is out of touch with the American people (which he is). If things keep going at this rate, Obama will definately win in November.

Posted by: Alan | July 10, 2008 2:12 PM

the man who sold out the Senate and gave us Enron... makes sense he would be advising a clueless, doddering moron like McCain. Maybe bring back Dickky!

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 10, 2008 1:56 PM

Thank you Phil Gramm! That's right America, McCain's top economic adviser (a guy who McCain himself mentioned as someone he trusts about economic matters) has said 'America is a nation of WHINERS!' and 'Americans suffer from MENTAL RECESSION!'

Obama and his campaign should be all over these mis-statements which truly show McCain and his campaign are out-of-touch with economic issues surrounding the average American.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 10, 2008 1:49 PM

You're all low down egg sucking dogs; vote mccain.

just a reminder that $4 gallon gas doesn't elicit sympathy from rich folks

Posted by: Timmy | July 10, 2008 1:48 PM

You guys are NUTS! You're what's wrong with this country, you voted for Bush TWICE, bet you all you have in the bank, probably $28.00.
You're candidate McSame, according to George Will, is going to start WORLD WAR 3, so here it comes, YOU'LL BE DRAFTED. You, your kids and grandkids, females too!
Impossible NOT TO START THE DRAFT! George Will, the conservatives conservative said this is a fact.
So, don't vote for O, but shut your mouths for the next 8 years, like we've had to BECAUSE OF YOUR RACIST BANAL LACK OF BRAINS.
You'll vote for the guy who wound up 896th out of a class of 900, what a brain. If he had a little smarts, he wouldn't have wound up shot down! How much did that plane cost Americans? He also made anti-American movies in that prison camp. I probably would have done the same thing myself, but he's no hero. Have fun in the sun in Saudi Arabia!

Posted by: AndreaD | July 10, 2008 1:48 PM


WOW!

McMaverick and his never-had-a-real-job, his 8 houses, his heiress wife and his Enron advisor doesn't think real people are struggling in this very real bad economy.

I'm SHOCKED!

Posted by: Marlo | July 10, 2008 1:48 PM

Well...Mr. Gramm, if I ask why I'm paying $4.15 at the pump while oil companies make record profits, and if that makes me a whiner in your book, than I'll gladly be a whiner. It's called democracy, you stupid pompous @$$.

Posted by: Playa | July 10, 2008 1:47 PM


...aaaaaand Obama just won the election.

Posted by: dAVE | July 10, 2008 1:41 PM

You are welcome to defend it but it is one more thing that will help defeat your candidate. By the way, Kennedy stole that quote.

++++
I am no fan of Phil Gramm, but he's right on this one.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" John F. Kennedy

Posted by: OP | July 10, 2008 1:33 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 1:40 PM

JakeD in the place, tryin' to check your face
Throwin' down some rhymin' 'bout the presidential race
No no Nobama, ain't no way
that me an' my girl Sherry Kay
are gonna vote for you
And though you might get through
And be inspected, selected, elected,
(rejected by me and by Sherry Kay,
but ain't nobody listen to us anyway)
Though you might be elected, damn you might even be
The best president that I will ever see, even so
I ain' gon' be wid it, that's for sure
Look at the situation, examine the fact
I will not support Obama because he is

Posted by: JakeD | July 10, 2008 1:36 PM

I am no fan of Phil Gramm, but he's right on this one.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" John F. Kennedy

Posted by: OP | July 10, 2008 1:33 PM

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