February 15th, 2009
11:49 AM ET
12 years ago

Stimulus bill was 'a bad beginning' for Obama, says McCain


CNN's John King sat down with Sen. John McCain in Phoenix, Arizona. Watch Part 1 of McCain's interview.

(CNN) – Arizona Sen. John McCain did not pull any punches in assessing a major milestone in his former rival’s nascent presidency.

Watch: McCain on State of the Union

“It was a bad beginning,” McCain said Sunday of the legislative process that resulted in the $787 billion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress. “It was a bad beginning because it wasn’t what we promised the American people, what President Obama promised the American people – that we would sit down together.”

While McCain said he appreciated the fact that Obama came to Capitol Hill to speak with House Republicans about the stimulus bill. But, “that’s not how you negotiate a result.” Instead, “you sit down in a room with competing proposals” and “almost all of our proposals went down on a party-line vote”

“I hope the next time we will sit down together and conduct truly bipartisan negotiations. This was not a bipartisan bill.”

But the former Republican presidential nominee was also critical of how his own party had conducted itself in the past when it came to bipartisanship.

“Republicans were guilty of this kind of behavior,” McCain said. “I’m not saying that we did things different. But Americans want us to do things differently and they want us to work together.”

The stimulus bill which Obama will sign Tuesday is “incredibly expensive,” McCain also said. “It has hundreds of billions of dollars in projects which will not yield in jobs,” McCain told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “This was supposed to be a package that was going to create jobs.”

McCain also spoke about the potential long-term effects of the stimulus bill.

“We are committing generational theft,” McCain said. “We are laying a huge deficit on future generations of Americans.”

Failure to bring the federal government’s spending back in line with its revenue once the economy improves could lead to inflation and debasement of the dollar down the road, McCain also told King.

McCain, who has represented the border state of Arizona in the Senate for more than two decades, also discussed illegal immigration on State of the Union.

Related video: McCain on immigration, the housing crisis

soundoff (1,743 Responses)
  1. Scott

    This from the man who represents his party's attempt to put politics ahead of the nation.

    February 15, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Sharon

    Wow, John..a little jealous aren't we..MEOW!!!!! You lost and that's the last word so put a period on it and move on!!!!

    February 15, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Obama 08

    Shut up McCain. You ran a terrible campaign, and now you're saying that Obama's having a bad beginning? Arizona, please vote this man out of the senate in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. scdemocrat

    Old man yells at clouds. Go away Gramps.

    February 15, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Bernie Moore-Knowles

    Begging to differ, McCain. Do you really think that Americans think as you do? Your outdated comments are just one of the reasons that you lost the election AND your party is not in the driver's seat.

    Bernie Moore-Knowles
    Independent in Hawai'i

    February 15, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Private Person

    Really, McCain, why don't you just stick a sock in your face. You acted like a complete moron during the election with your "I must suspend my campaign to race to Washington where I'm so urgently needed to help with a problem I have no understanding of and not one single useful idea to offer but which I must pretend to be a part of." So just shut your stupid mouth, you imbecilic blow-hard.

    February 15, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. kelly

    He can't be serious.

    February 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. doc f

    The Republican idea of bipartisanship seems to be for the Democrats to accept a bill that the Republicans would have proposed if they had won. Anything else, they dismiss as totally partisan.

    February 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Lynn

    All through the latter part of the campaign and after the electionall the CNN pundits could talk about is how McCain was losing/lost because of his economic statements and policy. Now you treat him like he is an expert??

    February 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Joyce in Indiana

    Even though I disagreed with almost everything Sen. McCain said, I thought he said it in a fairly respectful manner. His Republican collegues on Capitol Hill could take a page from his book in that respect.

    However, I was very concerned with his demeanor. Did anyone else notice how shaky his voice was and how he had to search for words and correct himself several times? I worry about his health, and it makes me even more glad that he didn't win only to be replaced by his completely unqualified VP a few months into his presidency.

    February 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Educated voter

    Sit back down, John. You lost. We didn't want what you had to sell. We voted for Obama to do it his way–not yours.

    February 15, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. Lee Terry

    My goodness, what a sore loser. How is this helping our country move forward; all indications are Obama did extend a hand to Republicans and was rebuffed because they are more intent in using our economic tailspin for political advantage. I say either get in the room, roll your sleeves up, and help (this has to include compromise – a concept Repulicans don't grasp) or shut the hell up.

    February 15, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. RB

    President Obama could solve every problem in the world including finding a cure for HIV and the republicans and other will still have something negative to say about him. We as the Americans really need to do a reality check on ourselves.

    February 15, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Ken

    What a sore loser!

    February 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Mike, Ontario Canada

    Thank God he lost.

    February 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Philadelphian

    Sounds like someone is a sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Peggy in Ohio

    Go ahead, GOP. This is your strategy to avoid losing any more seats in Congress in 2010....start undermining the President immediately! If he remains popular and is trusted by the people, you have no chance, do you?

    February 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Tammy

    During this whole stimulus process, the one thing I kept thinking was how much less effective Mr. McCain would have been had he won the election. His arrogant criticism seems of little consequence in light of his inability to run an effective campaign. I can only imagine what McCain's learning curve would have been if he had taken office; regardless of the messy process, I think we are still much better off with President Obama leading us through this crisis. Give him time; after all, Rome and this crisis weren't built in a day or even a hundred days!

    February 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. VP

    Who is this guy to talk about economy. We saw him how he handeled himself just a few months ago. He should just keep his mouth shut and retire. AROZONA WAKE UP. It is time to send this guy home.

    February 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. Daniel

    This old fart continues to amaze me. Why do you think it wasn't a bipartisan bill?! Oh, that's right, because you and your cronies didn't vote for it because you were too busy worshipping your own personal idol of Ronald Reagan! And let me guess what the Republicans will say, it's all Pelosi and Reid's fault. Of course. Matthew in Detroit, take a good look, because this is the real clown.

    February 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Kay

    It wasn't what we promised the people the people rejected what he and Palin offered. He lost get over it.

    February 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Greg David

    Sore loser?

    February 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. ed




    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Jerry

    So much for McCain working together with Obama. All he says is a lie!

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. david

    maybe mccain, maybe. but three republicans voted for the stimulous bill knocking it into the win column for democrats, at large, and obama. mccain you could have been potus if you hadn't selected palin as your running mate. you screwed up mccain, big time.

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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