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. Hepzibah

    spoken like the jealous partisan loser that he is...
    bitter , old, resentful multiple loser
    Thank the Lucky Stars this man and that trailer park woman did not become leaders of this country

    February 15, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. AHA

    this grumpy old grandpa should drink some Metamucil and take a nap! he is just talking trash because he isn't president. its a strategy. if repulicans can make obama seem bad in any way, they have some sort of platform. they are just preping for the 2012 election....he needs to take one of his wife's chill pills and take a nap. nobody cares what this dude thinks.

    February 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. James

    But John remember W wanted something very similar. I just bet all the R's would have voted for it if it were their bill.

    February 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Hedd Wyn

    Ol John has pretty lousy track record with how the economy is doing. The Republicans are fanatics. They keep doing the same thing over and over and things get worse. With the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin just a few days ago, it reminds me of how species go extinct. They fail to adapt.

    February 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Stan Johnson

    Senator McCain sounds like the angry spouse. He blames the other side without saying how he and his party road-block bi-partisan politics. I think the Senator "forgets" that his party initiated a "stimulus" package with a similar price tag of 750 billion dollars. However, having Tim Geitner as Secretary of Treasury is the definition of
    "craziness doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something . . . ." To this extent, as much as I love President Obama, I am frightened that his administration might be "crazy."

    February 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Al Mellen

    Sorry John,,,,,when you choose Palin as your running mate,,,,,,,you lost any chance you might have had to become president.. I just now finished reading an article about the starving people in Alaska. If i remember correctly,,,,Palin just a few months ago was telling the world how well off the people of Alaska were. The people of America were led into the second depression this country has had,,,,,,the Republicans,,,,,,,,of which you are a party,,,,,led us down this terrible path. I feel blessed that your party is no longer dictating to us and the reest of the world. You and king George will go down in history as the worst this country has ever seen. Why don't you just return to your rich lady friend in Arizona. you will never be missed.

    February 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. George

    Generational theft?! Where was McCain when George Bush was doubling the debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion dollars under republican controlled congress? Where was John McCain? This is hypocrisy at its highest level.

    February 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. John

    This is so insipid it is outrageous. Obama bent over backwards to sit down with Republicans, offering numerous concessions in the bill despite the fact that the last eight years have reconfirmed that conservative economic policies do not work and the American people explicitly rejected them in the last election. Indeed, Obama was conciliatory to the Republicans to a fault, as the ultimate bailout bill is watered down to a degree that may compromise its effectiveness. The failure of bipartisanship was the 100% the fault of the Republicans, who refused to compromise or negotiate in any meaningful way despite their bluster. They spread false information about the spending in the bill, disingenuously pushed for further tax cuts even though they do not work, and in general childishly refused to support Obama's efforts to help the country in a timely fashion (another hypocrisy - this is the same party who several years ago said that in a time of crisis Americans should support rather than hinder the president).

    It is time for the Republican party to go the way of the Whigs. They have become out of touch with the American public and have no hope of regaining a position of genuine leadership. The party needs to die a quick death so the country can move on.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Zach K

    I think someone WANTS to lose re-election for senator in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Ryan

    Wow. All these zombies still under Obama's spell. Amazing. Have any of you seen what's in the bill? Didn't think so. Because you would agree with John's comments. A large % of the money will do nothing to create jobs. Who gives a crap about political views or who won or lost. We need jobs and this bill is littered with sweet heart money for BS initiatives.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. CHIPS

    Why don't you offer somebody, who lost their home one of yours. Concern I think not. Shut up and get over your lost.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Stu

    People need to wake up. This was not an economic stimulus bill in any way, shape or form. It was just another budget bill, plain and simple. The only thing getting stimulated is the government.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Peter

    It was important for Obama to listen to Republican concerns while crafting the bill, but a truly bipartisan bill would have not had enough spending for the Democrats or tax cuts for the Republicans. One side or the other HAD to take the lead and do the thing they they thought best. As it is, to get the compromise, the Democratic version was watered down, but hopefully not so much that it's ineffective. Which is probably what the Republicans are hoping for, just so they can say they were right, whether it's good for the country or not. Did the Republicans behave any differently when they were in power than the Democrats are now? They didn't even bother to sit down with the Democrats to even hear their concerns. As for generational debt, our children and grandchildren will also be paying for the trillions wasted in Iraq that the Republicans had no problem in spending. I for one, am glad to see some spending in THIS country.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Mike, IN

    Wow, no one defending McCain? Really? He does have a point here. Obama claimed during the campaign to believe in bipartisan politics, and said he would work across the aisle, and that requires more than the token gestures he has done so far. Nancy Pelosi was running the show on this "stimulus" bill, and that shows in the results. This is an ominous beginning for a President who ran on bipartisanship and consensus. I do not believe that Barack Obama has the experience or temperament to be an effective leader in Washington, so get ready for more of Pelosi's agenda.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. cboo44

    John: You voted for and actively promoted the bank bail-out. A billion dollar bail-out with NO caveats, no restrictions, no conditions. The banks, gleefully grabbed the taxpayers money, paid themselves enormous bonuses and have NOT made those funds available to ordinary folks.
    That was THE END of your economic or political influence, old son, the very END.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Herbert Duarte

    Senator McCain didn't answer the question if he trusted the President. Did he not want ot answer the question?

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Joe Madden

    McCain and Limbaugh are writing the epitaph for the Republican party. In a way, it is sad that these very people that shout and get angry, have little else to do but criticize. I can't think of a single item that either have said to bolster the average American citizen. McCain should live in an apartment in Harlem for one month, on the same average income that those people do now. And every single senator that voted against this stimulus should be required to do civic duty for one month as well. After that, I might want to listen to what they have to say.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. alice

    SORE SORE LOOSER OLD MAN, YOU NEED TO GO AND SIT IN YOUR BACK YARD AND PLAY WITH YOUR GRANDCHILDRE3N AND COUNT YOU WIFES MONEY AND THEREFORE FRICHT FOR LESS TAXES FOR THE RICH, YOU HAVE NOT HAD ONE HALFWAY SMART IDEA THE WHOLE TIME YOU WERE CAMPAIGNING WITH YOUR LAP DOG PALIN WHO DID YOUR DIRTY WORK FOR YOU THE STUPID THAT SHE WAS, I AM HERE SITTING AND WRITING THIS MESSAGE AND I CAN HEAR YOUT NONSENSE ON THE TV GET OUT MAN YOU DO NOT BELONG IN A PLACE TO RUIN PEOPLES LIFES.\

    AND ANA FROM ATL, GOD GAVE YOU BRAIN TO USE IT SO USE IT, OF COURSE THE PRESIDENT REACHED TO THE GOP, BUT THE GOP AND PARTICULARLY MCCAIN THEY ARE SO DAM AROGANT THAT THEY THINK THE PRESIDENT SHOULD SIT THERE AND TELL THEM TO RUN THE COUNTRY FOR HIM, JUST LOOK AT THE LAST EIGHT YEARS AND THEY KEEP YOUR IDEAS TO YOURSELF.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Peggy

    I hope you are all right about Obama but I have severe doubts. While I don't think McCain was the right choice for President, neither was Obama. I don't think there is anyone out there who knows what to do to fix the economy or the country. Obama's whole campaign was based on change. It doesn't look like change to me when all his appointments are the same old Washington politicians. No one seems to remember that all the melt down of the banks started on the Clinton watch. And who do you think will be paying for this stimulus package?????

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    Well we only have to put up with Obama for four years, the effects of the kool aid his supported drank is starting to wear off and they're beginning to see what this guy is really about.

    February 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Oh Please

    What is this old, washed up presidential contender complaining about now!!!!

    He makes it clear during the campaign he does not understand the economy, yet wants to be integral in the plans for a stimulus package.

    As for this affecting future generations and not getting spending under control in the future. Duh!!!! I think the current administration understands this basic budget concept.

    Why don't you go back to one of your many houses via one of your many cars, if you can find it in the parking lot and do us all a favor and be quiet. That is unless you have something worthwhile to say that will actually provide some in site or that is helpful.

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. chad

    I guess I should add too, does anyone know where i can find online where this stimulus package is, so I can read it ? What about "Transparancey" ? Do you all know what is all in it ? Or do you just trust the government to do the right thing ? What about the 30 million to save mice ?

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Yes, the Obama administration has had a rough start ... but look at the economic hole that they're trying to get us out of ... don't we have the Republicans to blame for that?

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Candice

    President Obama has done everything within his power to reach aross party lines and the Republicans have turned their back on him. They CONTINUE to recomend solutions that DO NOT work! Why would Obama agree to more tax cuts when it hasn't worked for the past 8 years?! Not agreeing with the Repubs isn't a Bad Start... It's the best start we've had in a very long time! It's time to stop catering to the rich and really start thinking about some ways to help the economy. I know what the Republicans are doing... They're hoping this stimulus plan doesn't work and then maybe their star will shine but it's backfiring. They're showing their evil ways and thier unwillingness to help this country! President Obama has been in office for three weeks now and they STILL haven't showed support for him. They condeem the ones who are willing to see the reality of the ecomony's situation and support OUR PRESIDENT! This is heartbreaking...

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Gringo

    Why is it that everytime a republican says anything that the Obamabots only answers are "Shut up, you lost, we won" or some variation on "Bush did it"? How about everyone realize that a pork filled stimulus bill that doesnt put much back in our pockets or put many people back to work (outside of some localized junk projects) was a boondoggle? Ahh, but Obama said we need it so you guys buy into that because your lemmings.

    Bi-partisan means crafted by both parties, doesnt seem the case if all 99% Republicans and 7 DEMOCRATS wont support it. Doesnt that point to anything telling? Like it is crafted towards one party from the word go. Obama didnt pursue a joint solution, the Democrats shoved it down everyone throats and because you Obama supporters show the same blind loyalty that Bush supporters showed for 8 years your incapable of seeing any wrongdoing. Whoops I guess its called "change".

    We didnt take a step forward in Nov 08, we just moved the blinders from one group to another. The only thing Dem's should reply with is "Baaa, Baaa" since thats what sheep also say.

    Washington as usual, to the victor goes the spoils, except last I checked our government wasnt based on winners take at all, it was for the people, of the people, by the people.

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 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