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. Anonymous

    The President reached out to you and other Republicans, Senator. It's not his fault that you didn't cooperate. He won the election, you lost. He gets to put forward his ideas, not yours. Your ideas are why we are in this mess. Get on board or get out of the way!

    February 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Chris

    McCain is just like all of the other disgruntled Republicans right now...he's just like Romney..."Well, if I HAD been elected President, things would be different!" B.S....I'm a Democrat, and I voted for Obama, but I'd certainly invite input from the Republicans.

    What bothers me the most about all of this is that TALK IS CHEAP!!! While all of these people are criticizing Obama, NO ONE is willing to say what he'd do differently.

    Rather than emphasizing all of the things McCain things Obama is doing WRONG, I'd really like him to support whatever FEW things he thought Obama was doing RIGHT...

    February 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Cutty Wilbur

    Astonishing!! McCain supports Bush's economic policies that have increased our National Debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion – double. He supports a war that will cost another 3 trillion by the time it's finally accounted for. He was part of the Keating Five that cost the taxpayers billions as part of the Savings and Loan bailout. A lot of people don't remember that McCain was part of the cause of the last gigantic federal bailout. But now he's against government spending that may be our only and last chance to save the economy. That's personally dishonest. We saw in the campaign that McCain is no longer an honest man.

    February 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Amius

    Senator McCain should be ashamed of himself. The Republicans trashed our economy and drove up record deficits, after inheriting a fiscally stable and responsible condition from the Clinton Administration. Their motto is, "Just say no" to the Obama administration. Republicans did exactly the same thing when Franklin Roosevelt was President. It is a morally corrupt stance and will cost them politically. I thought McCain was above that.

    February 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Melissa Langridge

    Why use a headliner" Bad Beginning" at least it is a beginning and republicans are not working with the president , they are not helping the President Obama and if that is how it's going to be they are the one's that look bad. They do not take him seriously and "they should". They have this idea they are better than him because they have been on the hill a long time. Maybe they should get off the hill and let some more open minded republicans take there place, this goes for some democrats too. President Obama needs to get their attention and say I am President and this is how it goes because this is what "The People" want. President Obama keeps in touch with Americans more than you think. He has a great team that keeps their hand on the pulse of America through lots of media. And the websites. We are going with the future and Alot of the older Hill People are not so savvy.
    Also Mr McCain still wants to be "right" he won't give it up. He should just take his glory and be part of the change.

    February 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Chelle in Fla

    Sounds like the Maverick is trying to get re-lected in 2010. Watch out buddy, Obama lost in your territory by only 9 pts.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Last year the wealthiest 400 averaged $265 million in income and payed just 17% in taxes. Remember that on April 15th and the next time you hear the Republican leadership promising to create jobs with more tax cuts.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Thomas Collins

    The way that repubicans approached the terrorist and the war was GENERATIONAL THEFT.Our kids will be paying for iraq for years.

    McCain is part of the Washington incest he talks of, thats why he cannot see what HE, and his party, have done to us in the rest of America. Thank GOD we are moving on!!

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Rubin

    McCain is right.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Mike Brown

    Who can blame McCain for thinking Obama's off to a bad start? But Obama did get his stimulus package through, give him that.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. John

    I'm sickened by the smear tactics of the Republican party.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. andres

    bush, and the republican congress during those 8 years committed the generational theft. They pushed us into this mess and then when it came down to trying to fix things, the republicans balked at any spending... any being the key word. Bush on the other hand was given a free hand to spend, and he did so but in other countries... who benefits from that? not us.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. me

    As if McCain could do any better.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. henry krinkle

    Senator McCain.....Exactly...and I do mean EXACTLY...what would you have done differently? Be specific...not some nonsense like, "I would have spent less and created more jobs.' And while we're at it...what do you personally intend to contribute to solving our current problems? We've had all the critique we need, and then some. So, roll up your sleeves and be part of the solution....more work, less 'blame'.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Marlene Curtis

    Just two words say it all

    B A D L O S E R !!!

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Kelsey

    He's just upset because he didn't get to be President.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. R. Stanton

    McCain seems to forget about the TRILLION dollar Iraq war he and his GOP cronies so happily went along with. Spending on a war based on a LIE was A-OK with the GOP as long as the top 2% were the ones benefiting.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. Jenny

    Call it what you want.....But i agree with mccain. After looking at obama's plan, I wonder why americans are STILL under the idea that this is a great leader. Although Obama has strict standards and guidelines when appointing people to different positions....we find out later they cheated on their taxes. WHAT is that? Did we vote to have a leader who constantly admits to making mistakes? OH that's right....we voted on Change. I'm still waiting for my change. He wanted bipartisanship but so far it seems as though he's not doing a very good job at it. Giving republicans 2 or 3 hours to read 1000+ pages is not bipartisanship. Everything is all for show. Obama is no different from all the rest of the government.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. J. Winters

    John McCain is truly one of the most hypocritical inconsistent and frankly dumb politician in Washington today. Can you imagine a more frightful thing than McCain trying to deal with the mess that HIS party and HIS President left. Even now when it's crucial that we need to work together, Mr. McCain- a so so war hero- just can't get with the program.
    Go home, go home go home go home go home go home go home.
    That's seven homes John the Loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Brad

    Why are we still listening to these guys from the Republican Party? McCain and his party have zero credibility, and would rather see the stimulus plan fail than the economy begin to improve.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Evolm

    All bow before the black president. All bow before your new god.
    Only 43% of white people voted for this illegal buffoon. He's not my president.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Dan

    This reminds me of the Nancy Carrigan incident ... "If you can't win hit them with a crowbar" 😛

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Joe Price

    Conceding the presidential election on November 4, 2008, John McCain said, "I pledge to [Barack Obama] tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face." If going on television to criticize President Obama following the first legislative process of his administration is McCain's idea of help, then, once again, thank goodness the voters of the nation chose not to put him in charge. While the economy continues to sink, Republicans ridiculously persist in political gaming outmoded by Obama's election. Sour grapes? Or, perhaps, failure to understand that we the people have said we prefer a new kind of politician? Get with it, Republicans, or get out.

    February 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. conservative

    It funny how all of the comments are in support of Obama. CNN is obviously just another liberal media source that is unfair and unbalanced.

    February 15, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. lowell

    now we know why that he was not elected

    February 15, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70