At what he’s calling a "Women’s Economic Security Town Hall" in Fairfax, Virginia, today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, hammered the recent controversial remarks by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his top economic adviser former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, in which McCain discussed the country’s "psychological" problems regarding the economy, and Gramm referred to a "mental recession" caused by the U.S. "sort of" being "a nation of whiners."
McCain, Obama said — per ABC News’ Sunlen Miller — "will not bring change and I will. That starts with acknowledging the economic difficulties that so many families and so many women are experiencing right now. If you can’t see the problem you’re not gonna solve it. Now Senator McCain, unfortunately doesn’t seem to see the problem."
Boooo! went the crowd.
"Today one of his top economic advisors, former senator Phil Gramm said that we’re merely in a ‘a mental recession,’" Obama said, laughing. "That’s what he said. He said we’re in a mental recession. …I guess what he meant was that it’s a figment of your imagination, these high gas prices. Senator Gramm then deemed the United States – and I quote – ‘a nation of whiners.’"
The crowd jeered.
"Ho!" said Obama. "’A nation of whiners.’ This comes after Senator McCain recently admitted that his energy proposals for the gas tax holiday and the drilling will have mainly quote psychological benefits."
The crowd laughed.
"I want all of you to know that America already has one Dr. Phil. We don’t need another one when it comes to the economy – we need somebody to actually solve the economy. It’s not just a figment of your imagination, it’s not all in your head! Let’s be clear, when people are struggling with the rising costs of everything from gas to groceries, when we’ve lost 438,000 jobs over the past six months, when the typical family has lost a $1,000 of income in real terms since George Bush took office – this was even when the economy was growing – this economic downturn is not in your head. When people are out there losing their homes and property values are declining, that’s not a figment of your imagination and it isn’t whining to ask government to step in and give families some relief!"
Said Obama, "I think it’s time we had a President who doesn’t deny our problems – or blame the American people for them – but takes responsibility and provides the leadership to solve them. And that’s the kind of President I intend to be. "
NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect the remarks as Obama made them, not just as they were in his prepared remarks.