Many Americans are concerned about the shaky U.S.
economy, and some economists say it may already be in a recession. The presumed
Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, has been traveling in
the US and talking to people about their economic problems. During an interview Thursday, a top advisor
to McCain, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, called the U.S. a "nation of
whiners," criticizing Americans who complain about the economy. Deborah Block has more.
Many in the United States are concerned about the
high prices of food and gasoline and the loss of almost a half million jobs.
Senator McCain met with voters in parts of the Midwest. The region has been hit hard by the
"People are hurting,” McCain said. “People are
But one of McCain's top advisors, former Senator Phil
Gramm, expressed a different point of view. "You've heard of mental
depression? This is mental recession,"
The former senator holds a doctorate in
economics. He suggested to the
Washington Times newspaper that hard economic times are a figment of people's
Gramm added,"You just hear this constant
whining, complaining. We sort of became
of nation of whiners," he said.
Senator McCain considered Gramm one of his top
"No one is more respected on the issue of
economics than Phil Gramm,” McCain said.
But now he is distancing himself from Gramm. "Phil
Gramm does not speak for me. I speak
for me," McCain said.
The presumed Democratic presidential candidate,
Barack Obama struck back at Gramm.
"We need someone to actually solve the economy,”
Obama said. “It's not just a figment of your imagination."
Voters agreed. One voter says, "I think it's way
more than just our imagination. It's in
our face. We need help."
Another voter says, "What do I whine about? High grocery prices, the price of milk and
It's not mental," a third voter said in agreement with others.
Senator McCain had mentioned Gramm as a possible
treasury secretary in a McCain administration.
But now he says..."I think that Senator Gramm would be in serious
consideration for Ambassador to Belarus, although I'm not sure the citizens of
Minsk would welcome that," McCain said.