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. chris

    What a sad, bitter, old man.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Joe

    Bitter old man. Plain and simple.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Michael Newman

    McCain, the Bush Administration and all the Republican's in congress during the past eight years took a budget surplus and turned it into a huge defecit for our children to pay off. How dare Senator McCain criticize Prresident Obama. When the Republicans controlled Congress there was no bi-partisan efforts and PORK was king! The hypocracy from Senator McCain is a disgrace.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Tamar

    Unbelievable. How can any sane human use the term generational theft to describe a bailout plan. Gee John, what generational theft have you presided over in your political career? What we are seeing in the GOP is a crying game over how they will be taken out of the bate and switch thievery of the last 50 years of business as usual in Washington.
    Hope your conservatives enjoy my savings. Maybe hair plugs and a few more vacation homes will make you feel better.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Vinny

    McCain, you lost. Shut up.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Terri Ashby

    Thank You Senator McCain....the man who brought his campaign to a halt to rush back to D.C. to sign TARP...the same man who supported the invasion of Iraq, and the daily spending of millions to stay in Iraq.
    The same man who was running for President, and who said he had no expertise in Economics. You just don't get it McCain. Don't know what has happened to this man over the past 8-9 years, but he is not the same McCain that ran against Bush. He seems to want to continue down the same road that we have been down this past 8 yrs. We already know that does not work. At this point I could care less what this man has to say. He along with many others from both parties need to retire from the Senate and the House. I am really bored with the "Old Thinking". There is to much of "My Way or the Highway" thinking in Washington.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. john

    Is McCain the new analyst for all things political? Do we have to get the losers take on everything the Obama administration does? John McCain's own party didn't even want to vote for him. Why should I think that anything he says is valid or worthwhile? The democrats are thankfully in control now. I'm sorry to the wealthy (or ignorant) white people who are frightened by this, but it's time we think of our country first and ourselves last.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Jamie from Philly

    In the past few decades, history has shown us that Republicans will do whatever they can to disrupt a Democratic president, often at the expense of the American people. This is not generally true of Democrats when a Republican is in charge. Other than the few moderates who actually care about their constituents, Republicans are all about forcing a win for their team, rather than safeguarding the rights of the American people.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. FixAmerica

    McCain Is a Grouchy Old and Sour Loser! How can Obama achieve bipartisanship when McCain didn't cooperate with him? John McCain, wait till 2010 election for another loss, then, you will be gone forever from American Politics.

    Go Away, old man!

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Paul

    So when Obama and the Democrat congress spends hundreds of billions of dollars on the people of our own country it's called 'general theft', but when Bush and the Republican Congress spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the people of Iraq it's called 'spreading freedom'.

    Maybe the freedom we need is freedom from old, worn out, idea-starved conservatives. If Obama ultimately fails in his efforts to affect a bipartisanship approach to governing, it won't be for his lack of trying. The fault clearly lies with the GOP.

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Pauline

    Dude, your opinion doesn't matter. In fact, you should retire and start enjoying your pension and leave the job to others. You Lost! Got it?

    February 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. not surprised

    is anyone surprised that he calls it generational theft? Obama said during his campaign he wanted to 'spread the wealth around,' and that is exactly what he is doing...Giving 'tax breaks' to people who DON'T PAY taxes, enriching the welfare and entitlement programs, and putting people like myself who aren't in personal debt into a 'collective debt.'

    Who is John Galt?

    February 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Antonio

    John McCain is way out touch with the American People that's why he lost, while he has his packet full of money and can hold on as much as he likes, us the American that are down on earth don't have that chance, we need help and we need it now. He doesn't have to worry about how he is going to get the money to make a house payment, but we do, he doesn't have to worry about how to bring food to the table, but we the regular people do. That's why i personally pray to god and thanks god that john is no the president. And i think that he should be out of senate to we need senator that care about this country and the regular people no just for the rich people.

    February 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Mark

    Generational theft? From the Iraq War supporter?

    February 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. R Jackson

    This cant be the same john mccain that said the nation is not in a recession...Although, we were DEEP in it by months. Where was he then? ......What a sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. john

    I forgot the last time anything McCain said actually mattered, and he probably has too. If it were up to republicans, they would all sit around a politicians table and discuss the meaning of life while we're all starving on the streets. I don't think so McCain. Your dog and pony show has been going on for 8 years. See ya!

    February 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Jen

    What a sore loser! Republicans created this mess in the first place, so they should just go away and let the new government fix it.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Dawn

    Now John McCain what would you have done differently. Oh yeah Tax Cuts for you wealthy friends and of course you millionaire wife.

    You had your chance, I live in a State that has almost nothing, we had alot until we imported steel that was cheaply made and our steel workers had pride in their work. We have coal, iron ore, oil and natual gas. Our roads are really bad, missing one pot hole and hit another. Infrastructure is welcome in Pennsylvania and people who drive our roads knows this especially truck drivers.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Bob

    John... you're out of touch; time to pack it in. Why don't you just retire to one of your seven houses.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Just Happy

    Is he serious?? The repubs got alot of what they wanted! Sounds just like a sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Matt T

    and you would have done better?? you would have sank this country further into the ground before even realizing this is a recession and your vp would be too busy posted up on her front porch watching for the russians. get over yourself.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. jasom

    loser, literally.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. wol-1

    And what about Obamas proposal ,that the Military must now pledge an Oathe to him personally. Did Hitler not demand the same thing from his Military?

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. alan

    Sounds like sour grapes. It is amazing (and hypocritical) how the same Republicans who excluded Democrats from the legislative process when they were the majority party now complain when they are out voted.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Chas f

    Thank God McCain did not become president.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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