March 13th, 2008
11:21 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain: Obama and Clinton wasted hundreds of millions


Watch McCain's comments Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – John McCain left the campaign trail Thursday to return to the Senate to vote for a bill that would place a one-year moratorium on earmarks, money that is tacked onto bills by legislators for pet projects.

“I believe we must end this process, which has diverted billions in taxpayer dollars to needless projects, once and for all. If voters give me the pen, I will veto every single pork-barrel bill Congress sends me,” McCain said in a statement.

The Arizona senator blasts excess spending every step of the way on the campaign trail and though Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will join him in voting for the measure, McCain criticized their past use of earmarks.

“They have used earmarks and some of them in a manner I don’t that think taxpayers would at all approve of,” McCain told CNN. “It’s hundreds of millions of dollars, taxpayers’ dollars, that are absolutely outrageously wasted.”

McCain urged Obama and Clinton to be more transparent and reveal the earmarks they’ve asked for, saying it’s likely much of that money hasn’t been spent yet and can be recuperated.

“I call on them to say ‘hey, don’t spend that money,’ because they’re earmarks, they didn’t go through a proper process and taxpayers can’t afford it.”

All three senators running for president are back in their day jobs on Capitol Hill Thursday for the first time in about a month.

- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Patty

    I think the senate needs to do their job and go to work and earn the money we have to pay them for a life time.
    McCain knows what he is talking about why don't you check the voting records of your democratic nominees? I have. They are available online for all to see. See if your people are voting for what you pay them for????

    March 13, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Dom from Philly

    For a candidate that intends to continue a war that has destroyed our economy and to continue tax cuts for people who don't need them, it's certainly ironic that he has such a problem with money being wasted. People like McCain and Bush make taxes a dirty word, but give me a break... a study by the JEC showed that the Iraq war has cost the average American family of 4 almost $21,000 since 2002. More importantly it has cost us lives, drained our military (which is arguably a bigger national security risk than the Muslim extremist boogeymen in another part of the world), and fueled politically instability that will haunt us for a long time. Some of you have commented on this point being irrelevant, but it's not. There are bigger things going on here than earmarks. I hate to perpetuate partisanship, but Republicans want you to focus on how high your taxes are so much that you overlook the good things that the sacrifice can get us. There are Western nations out there that are able to get their people better health care and better access to education. People in their sheltered worlds might not understand that not everyone has access to what they have access too, but it's time you open your eyes and learn. It's not as black and white as "he's just unemployed because he's lazy". McCain will do nothing for the health care issue in this country. He wants intelligent design to be taught in our schools. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is not who we need as a leader and the fact that polls have shown this would not be a landslide victory for either Clinton or Obama after the Bush administration makes me extremely disappointed in both the American people and the Democratic party. On a side note, if the Republican party really supported the troops they would see to it that they were paid as much as Blackwater.

    March 13, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. John

    Absolutely. How dare Congress spend money in the US? We should be sending that money to the European Union's subsidized defense contractor, instead!

    March 13, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Go Johnny Go

    Go Johnny Go! Show the people what both Clinton and Obama really are...TAX AND SPEND DEMOCRATS!!! McCain will expose each of them for what they've done, because he has the experience and the knowledge to back the fight!

    Hillary will kill this already struggling economy and Obama has NO IDEA WHATSOEVER about what to do with this country! Use your heads, not your skin color, gender, or your bleeding liberal hearts - VOTE MCCAIN!

    March 13, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. woogie

    Hey Carl,

    Boeing lost against Northrup Grumman an American company.

    March 13, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. king from toronto

    hillary supporters needs to get a grip!are u guys demorcrats?? or hillarycrats???support the party.not individuals.

    March 13, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Ted

    so suddenly earmarks are the Democrats doings? After two Bush terms, most of which were with a Republican Congress?? Won't McCaim p.o. a whole bunch of his fellow Republicans when he won't allow earmarks?

    This from the guy who was Second runner up in 2000! Now he's the saviour? If he wasn't good enough then, he's not good enough now.

    March 13, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Squid Shark

    Obama support in Iowa March 13th, 2008 12:57 pm ET

    Charlotte –

    I'm sorry you feel that Obama's record in the Senate "stinks". I believe his work in sponsoring bills for campaign reform and transparency in government are changing the was our government is run which means he has made more change in 3 years than many have in 35 years. I'm sorry you've lost hope that change can happen. I think being cynical kind of defines your group.


    OOOOO look at me, I was a big boy and attatched my name to an ethics reform bill after stabbing John McCain in the back on the version I promised to support.

    Obama had about as much to do with that bill as Hillary had to do with Bills Presidency.

    March 13, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. AMP

    This is hilarious! The article is about McCain but the Obama kids blast Hillary! Boy, the RNC is taking you guys to the cleaners! The greatest trick of the devil is convincing you clowns he doesn't exist! Beware what you ask for!!!

    March 13, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Kim

    Earmarks nearly always put money into local economies.

    When money goes outside of the US, they call it the budget.

    Yes, that's what we need. Stop putting money into local projects and local economies.

    Save it for Haliburton.

    March 13, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. MickyD10

    Bk, Obama has released all his earmarks, and he has called on Hillary to do the same. No response from her yet.

    Keep up with current events.

    March 13, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Independent-Latina-voter, Salt Lake City, UT

    Of course, McCain should add that it was HIS & HILLARY'S vote for the war that has us in DEBT! And is costing the US, $400 million a day!

    McCain can you excuse yourself from that costly mistake?!

    THE REAL NATIONAL SECURITY PROBLEM THAT PEOPLE DO NOT SPEAK ABOUT IS OUR DEBT, 10 TRILLION AND COUNTING, AND MOST OF IT OWED TO....... CHINA! Americans need to inform themselves on what would happen if China called in the debt!

    March 13, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Frank in Missouri

    Not every earmark is 'waste'. Create a different avenue to allocate (and review) something one may call 'directed spending'.

    I think it's positive that McCain did not use earmarks – although the situation and need is different in every state. He can't get too much milage out of this though ... especially as a Republican.

    March 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. David, Gilbert Arizona

    All these posts about waisted money in Iraq...and yet I seem to remember a grand speech on the Senate floor by...who was that again? Oh yeah! Hillary.

    Here's a reality check. Money for the war is appropriated by Congress. Congress is voting to spend money on the war in Iraq. Last I checked the Congress is being run by the Democrats.

    March 13, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Raquel

    I don't think you were going too far out on that limb guisseng who voted for Barr! Low taxes and defence of civil liberties. What's not to like?

    February 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Wyatt

    It crntaiely seems like that's the direction he's taking. I heard an announcement this morning that he plans on creating a special technology task force to manage new media communications for the White House.

    February 19, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
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