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

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

CNN

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. Lisa Rig

    Seriously McCain please go take a nap...You suck and that's why you weren't choosen...Obama is the truth, and the answer...and we are ever so grateful for him....If we continued on the Bushonomics the ship would continue sinking at a rapid pace...

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. James

    Yeah, this from a man who wants to give the wealthy more tax cuts.

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Mark Shaw

    Now I realize more than ever why I never voted for McCain. He has really sullied a fine reputation. Best thing he could do is to retire.

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Pat F

    To the contrary, Senator McCain, I thank HEAVENS that there are no Republican fingerprints on this boondoggle. When this pork-mobile crashes and burns, the Democrats will be on their own. Only the vacant-eyed Obamatons think this thing will be anything other than an unmitigated disaster.

    The ladies from Maine and Arlen "Weathervane" Spector are Republicans in name only.

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. TerryR

    Senator McCain and the majority of the Republican senate are full of it. They should start telling the American people the truth. The first truth being that no matter which members of the Democratic party crafted the stimulus bill, the Republicans would not have voted for it. This is a party of old ideas, horrible implementation, and bad judgment. It is precisely this reason that the American people rejected this Republican body's philosophies and politics. These last 8 years of Republican leadership has resulted in the conditions we have now. The mortgage, banking, auto, construction, and manufacturing industries have all been plagued by corruption mis-management, greed, and incompetence. There was a time when there were enough jobs in all of these sectors to employ every man and woman who wanted one, and still leave room for overseas growth. President Obama's stimulus bill comes only as a result of all the mistakes of the Reagan, Bush-Bush administrations. The President has not broken any promises; he's only been office less than a month. There is absolutely no way any human can right all of the wrongs of the past leadership in so little a time period; even less likely when he has so little support from the Republicans. It would go a long way to quit this spoiled-brat, baby-acting bullcrap, work with our new President, and DO SOMETHING POSITIVE for the American people.

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Cheryl

    Poor John...

    He is so jealous he can't stand it. YOU LOST MCCAIN - suck it up and think about the country. It is not Obama's fault that you were stupid enough to pick Palin to be your vice president.

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Anne

    How dare Senator McCain? This is from one of the leaders of the party that led this country into the present disaster. He is out of touch with the average American and has no idea how fragile our personal economic situations are. We do not have any extra house to sell or a family fortune to rely on. I am insulted by his and other Republicans snarling commentary. We are sick of politics as usual – why does he not understand that!

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Arlene Illinois

    Here is the man who said "Country First" but what he really
    meant was Republicans First.
    If there ever was a time for term limits he is a prime example.

    February 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Sick of this crap

    If this is "generational theft," what does John McCain call the war in Iraq?

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Kim, Boston

    Yes, John McCain, it is Generational Theft that your party made necessary! What choice does Obama have? Once again Republican's won't take credit were credit is due!

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. TT NY

    He complained bout it and I don't see his idea or plan ? He told us the economic is good in few months ago. The Republicans are unAmerican !

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Republicans are responsible for the deficit we are currently in. Clinton left us with a surplus. I don't want to hear the Republicans grip about deficit spending. Didn't McCain state himself that he didn't know much about economics? Well, he confirmed his ignorance with these statements. Obama and the Democrats did what is necessary for our country. Hey McCain, "The adults are in charge now. Put your dunce cap on, sit in the corner, and let the smart people fix your party's mess".

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Julia O

    Newsflash, McGeezer: the majority of the American voters didn't vote for anything you or your party had promised us. We voted for the change that President Obama spoke of. It was obvious by your conduct and by the conduct of people like Boehner that you and your party never had any intention of even attempting to work in a bipartisan fashion, so why don't you look in the mirror instead of trying to blame Obama and just give it a rest. Everybody knows that no matter how much he tries, if the republicans won't play ball, then they won't play ball, and the only losers are the American people and that's the fault of the republicans.

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Jason

    McCain was what we needed. He would have made a better President.

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    lets see the republican party repeats its old tired mantra of tax cuts which havent worked for the last eight years and complain they werent inculded. get real.

    they said no to everything. the came out in favor of turning the national mall into a vacant lot like eye sore. they came out in favor of spreading stds.

    they actually voted twice to oppose tax cuts for the american public and businesses.

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Inside Beltway

    OK McCain your times up! You've been drinking the kool-aid inside the beltway for far too long. Deficit spending was taken to a whole new level during the last 8 years. Now something has to be done, and we the taxpayers of this country want to see a different approach. Any approach other than what was attempted during the Republican reign.

    If you had a message that addressed my concerns as a taxpayer, you would have gotten my vote. Now I'll take my chances with the next four years. If the dems don't produce, they won't get a second term. NO MORE EIGHT YEAR REIGNS FOR UNTRUSTWORTHY POLITICIANS!!

    Inside Beltway

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Mr. Politics

    Obviously Obama's rival will be against most of his policies. What did you expect McCain to say? "Mr. Obama is doing a great job!"

    Republicans think that any program that is not in accordance to their beliefs is bad. They need to learn that the Republican party does not call the shots anymore. If Republicans want to have any stronghold in Congress, they must go with the flow. If you can't beat 'em...join 'em. (or leave...that is much better.)

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. CKing

    No matter which side you are on...right, left or in the middle you cannot feel that this bill is going to work. And to see that very few if any Members of Congress read it before they signed it defies logic and common sense. This entire country should be outraged at that alone. If you have read any of this bill you will see it is politics as usual...full of special interests only and will not create jobs. Wake up people!

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. alicia

    WHY DON,T REPUBLICANS LET THE NEW PRESIDENT MAKE IS OWN DECISONS EVEN IS OWN MISTAKES-- OBAMA IS THE PRESIDENT CHOOSE BY THE PEOPLE NOT BY THE COURT HE DIDN,T STILL THE ELECTION THE PEOPLE CHOOSE HIM - AFTER 8 YEARS OF BUSH AND IS CRONIES FRIENDS DESTROY THIS COUNTRY IRAQ STARTED TWO WARS ALL THE TRILIONS GIVEN TO IRAQ ALL THE BUSINESS HE GIVE TO IS FRIENDS MADE THEM RICH BY KILLING INOCENT PEOPLE THE REPUGS NEVER DID HAVE A PROBLEM WHEN BUSH WAS PUTING THIG THIS COUNTRY WHERE IT IS ALL THE JOBS LOST IT WASN,T OBAMA LET THE MEW PRESIDENT MAKE IS MISTAKES GET OFF IS BACK REPUGS YOU ARE A VERY DANGEROUS PACK THAT.S WHY YOU LOST AND KEEP IT UP AND YOU WILL NEVER BE IN POWER AGAIN JUST FACE IT PEOPLE VOTED 4 OBAMS JUST WHEN ARE YOU GOPING TO REALIZE THAT YOU NOT IN POWER OBAMA IS GET USE TO IT GET A LIFE GROW UP YOU DONE TO LILTE TO LATE JUST LET THE NEW PRESIDENT DO IS JOB IF HE MAKE MISTAKES SO DID BUSH AND ALL OF YOU THE MAN HAVEN,T BEEN IN OFFICE EVEN A MONTH AND OF YOUR REPUGS BEEN TROWING HIM UNDER THE BASE SMARTEN UP WORK WITH HIM YOU NEVER HAVE ANY IDEAS WHEN BUSH WAS PRESIDENT NOW YOU GETING ALL KIDS OF STUPID IDEAS GET BACK UNDER THAT STINKY DIRTY ROCK AND HIDE NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOU FACES LAST HEARING YOU IDIOT IDEAS - MR. PRESIDENT YOU GO NEVER MIND THIS REPUG IDIOTS REPUGS

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. John

    I am happy to see someone take note that the Republicans have been hyperpartisan for 6 years and treated the Democrats horribly. The Democrats have at least been making adjustments based on the Republican feedback, but they still cry foul. The Republicans are merely the Sunnis of American politics–their dictator has been overthrown and yet the minority still thinks they are supposed to rule the country. Sad, and yet the media is helping them meet those ends by judging the Democrats by their bipartisanship–something they never even once broached during the last administration...I guess everyone is "fair and balanced"

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

    McCain and the Republicans have shown that they are more interested in getting power, and not the needs of the American people.

    February 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. WHERE IS OSAMA?

    AND YET, AS MANY A AMERICANS HAVE PONDERED,

    WHERE IS OSAMA?

    WE STILL HAVE NOT FOUND OSAMA?

    February 15, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Obama Cares

    mccain you and the last administration literally BANKRUPTED AMERICA, what nerve you have , President Obama has only been in office for a few weeks and he has already done more for our country than you republicans did in your entire 8 years., talk about getting off to a bad start, surley you haven't already forgotten your SOUL MATE, poor cindy.

    February 15, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. VP

    STATE OF THE UNION IS GETTING BORING. JOHN KING IS GOOD AS A REPORTER, BUT WITH HIS MONOTONE, YOU CANT LISTEN TO THIS GUY FOR 4 HOURS. I DONT THINK THIS SHOW CAN COMPETE WITH THE LIKES OF MTP AND FTN. SORRY JOHN KING.

    February 15, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. Nannie Bourroughs

    Yes, John McCain is accurate: this is politics as usual and certainly not CHANGE you can count on. On the other hand, Obama has, at least superficially, done his part. Queen Pelosi & King Reid have been an abject failure in doing their part. Additionally, the Republicans desperately needed to get some press, so their opposition to this bill was a calculated way to shore up their ever dwindling base and get in the spot light... the party out of power always does this.

    I am confident that we will actually see some real bipartisanship on some future bills, as the Republican Party simply cannot just say NO to all future endeavors by the Obama administration and reasonably expect to come out of the wilderness and gain any congressional seats anywhere.

    I am sure, once the timing is appropriate, these folks will come together on such issues as Comprehensive Immigration Reform – amnesty for 20 million illegals – as the Democrats want the votes and the Republicans want the super cheap labor... this will be very interesting for true American citizens to observe: this is about all we are allow to do these days, OBSERVE!

    February 15, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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