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. Tim

    His comments are yet another validation that the American people were wise not to elect someone who keeps trying to divide our country in very difficult times.

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. READY99

    Funny for MCCAIN to comment when a couple of months ago , he stated the economy was in good shape. [PLEASE} OBAMA bent over backwards trying to appease the conservative REPUBLICANS. Where was MCCAIN and these other REPUBLICANS at 8 years ago when BUSH was blowing money?????????????????

    February 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Ed Barczak

    John McCain and the Republicans, one word "OBSTRUCTIONIST(S)"

    February 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Bill Missett

    McCain, the loser, is off to a bad start.

    February 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    And spending trillions of dollars in Iraq was not generational theft

    February 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Mark

    Mccain and the republican party see no interest in helping President Obama. After all, his success would simply highlight the catastrophic failures of the past 8 years. How ironic, that the party who first used the term "unamerican" would end up fitting that very portrait to the T.
    They would prefer to see America suffer, in order to save their party.

    February 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. g in WA

    God. will these guys never stop. They have presided over creating the largest deficit in the history of the world and didn't say a thing. In fact, democrats were saying that these hyprocrites were burdening our grandchildren, years ago! No wonder why they lost big in the last 2 elections. People are tired of their BS and can see right through it. The republicans are great at doing something, and then saying the other team is doing it.

    February 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Stan Munslow

    So, McCain, the man who lost the election thinks that the man who won the election is off to a bad start in fixing the economy that was destroyed by McCain's party. Thanks, John, for yet another laugh.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. John

    "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." And now your an expert on the economy? You need to take your head out of your a%#@ Mr. McCain and just ride off into the sunset. Americans didn't vote for your idea's or your GOP ideas which got your country into this mess its in now. And as for your party being involved with this bill. Try bringing something more to the table than just tax cuts for you and all yoru rich friends. You tried that remember, and it didn't work. The GOP is in real trouble Mr McCain and come the next election, America is going to show you and your party of hate just how much trouble you are in.All the GOP is good for is what is good for them. They care less for the American people and more for corporate greed. A lot of your friends have gotten rich of the backs of every day Americans and it is now over. Get use to it.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Andrew Smith

    It is such a shame that Jane Napolitano is in the cabinet. If she hadn't become head of the Department of Homeland Security, she could have relieved is of John McCain's simple-minded pontification come January 2011. McCain, the Dubya-kissing genius, and his irresponsible fellow GOPers created almost insuperable barriers to a successful future for America. McCain and his fellow travelers offer no solutions to the crisis facing the nation, just talking point criticisms. What a president McCain would have made!

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. silverglade

    The hypocrisy in John McCain's statements shows just how out of touch the Republican party is with the American people.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. sick of mccain

    McCain should remember that he lost the election, by a lot. He lost because he is out of touch with what the majority of Americans want and need. He lost my respect during his very negative campaign partially because of his ridiculous, numerous "must suspend my campaign for some crisis that demands my singular attention because I can't focus on more than one thing at a time or figure out how to delegate so that others who I trust can work with me to help figure this stuff out while I campaign" stunts. I suggest he try to regain some grace and do what he said he would do which is work with his new president instead of attack him. I'm personally sick of hearing from him.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Richard

    The generational theft already has taken place and it primarily occurred during the last administration. Now we must pay for it.
    John McCain was part of that. The attitude and comments of the Republican party are increasingly making them irrelevant.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Michael

    Shut up and go away, old man.

    Looks like it's going to be 4 years of Republican obstructionist policies... back to the future, people.

    Remember these days when unemployment hits double digits nationwide, and think fondly of the thieves that ran the nation the past 8 years.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Of course McCain will say the economic stimulus bill is a bad beginning for Obama. With several houses and a wife with Million dollars, He (McCain) doesn't understand the situation we are in. Plus, who created this mess? The republican! Now that the Democratic Party is trying the mess the Republican Party got the country in and they worry that the public will finally see who can better lead this country between the two parties.

    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. The Cheerleader of Divide

    You know, it's pretty obvious McCain is salty about losing, who wouldn't be? This man has no right to comment on any economic situation, he himself has said he hasn't the first clue about it. So, again, why is he relevant?

    I like how his attack is millions of dollars that will be spent not creating jobs. Why don't you shut your mouth until some of the results come in. You sound like a conspiracy theorist, who "KNOWS," the truth.


    February 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. dmoinauburn

    How nice: President Obama comes to speak with Republicans to explain how the stimulus package will generate jobs, the Republicans try to block anything from happening, and its President Obama's fault. The delay in any economic stimulus is because of the House Republicans, who are nothing but scoundrels.

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

    Oh John, really.

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Kebred

    Why some of my Americans brothers do not realize this is a rare time in our lifetime that we are in the mess that we are in. The president and the American people that really hurting do not have time for the government to discuss this for 12 months and still nothing is done. The bill is needed now!

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Jeanine

    The last eight years have been generational theft and what do we have to show for it? Two wars and a very scary economy. I feel at least with this stimulus there will be something to show for it when it is said and done.

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. zach

    Given the campaign McCain and his running mate ran he is the last person that should be taking about bipartisanship.

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. MICK in MESA

    All you plantation repugs losers know is whine, whine, whine.
    Other than outdated tax cuts and obstructionism all you GOP guys offer us is small ball critizisms.
    How about helping out Americans with some new ideas besides war, tax cuts and "family values" hokey pokey...

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Sharon

    McCain's opinion of a "Bad Start" statement is coming from the loser who NEVER got "Any Start". Go home McCain, you are an irrelevant bitter old man with nothing meaningful to contribute anymore......

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. V Phadnis

    Hmm... Interesting. So when Repubs were running the show, the definition of bipartisanship was, "you agree to my way, and we'll call it bi-partisanship"! Now that they're on the losser side, their definition is, surprise, "you agree to my way, and we'll call it bi-partisanship"

    February 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. david goldman




    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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