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. Julie

    Is it just me or are the republicans suddenly concerned about the burden on future tax payers. It's funny because they did not seem so concerned when they approved a trillion dollar war and all of the subsequent spending on that. I as a tax payer do not really think 25 bucks a week in my checks will make a HUGE difference in the economy, but it's good to see money being spent at home to fix our problems than being thrown into other countries to fix problems we have little or nothing to do with.

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Tom Williams

    There was a time when I had a modest amount of respect for John Macain, however that time is gone and he should ride off into the sunset and keep his opinions to himself. Perhaps he could continue his sour grapes convesations and exprees his opinions with his "Savings and Loan" buddies.

    TW

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. RR

    You are all sheep.

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. chris rollin

    obama is a fraud..enough said..

    he is recycling clinton "croonies" and empowering a cabinte filled with losers and cheats...

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. PRussell

    This is sad. When we hear unemployment numbers it does not reflect the thousand of folks whose unemployment benefits have run out or the millions who are making so little they are workin 2 sometimes three part time jobs to make it. Republicans have this all wrong. There is more to America than just the current republican taxpayer. The general populus is in TROUBLE. All of this Obama should have been more bipartisan STUFF, well we should all be thinking about survival of our country and our way of life. Obviously republicans don't have a clue about that.

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Rob

    All the fools talking about how McCain lost and needs to shut up fail to understand his basic point – that this bill is a monstrosity that is not going to help the country and will leave our grandchildren poorer as a result. Nice going Democrats.

    February 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Johnnyr51

    McCain go away. You and your Republican cohorts have done nothing repeat, NOTHING in the past 8 years that qualifies you to diss the new president's ATTEMPT to rectify the HUGE MESS you war-mongering, environment raping, sexual preference discriminating Republican
    idiots have layed on America. SHUT UP...GO AWAY...DIE...And please, do not think anything you can say anything that matters one iota or that anyone except Rush and Bill could actually ever care about.

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Daniel Morris

    STIMULUS PACKAGE? You've got to be kidding. It was and election payoff, pure and simple.

    GET READY FOR THE NEXT GO-AROUND!

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. bob

    This is almost humorous. McCain lost the election mainly because Americans found the Bush bailout giveaway and its bias towards uncontrolled big business untenable. Senator McCain showed he was no different than Bush with respect to the economy. As a lifelong Republican, I am alarmed to see our party self-destruct into mean spirited hypocrisy.

    Nobody likes sore losers, and McCain had better smarten up.

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Dave

    I am glad that you all are giving Obama credit for this bill, which is in reality Nancy Pelosi's bill. He will be a 1 term president. Article this morning in the liberal Denver Post said that Colorado is not getting near the money that they planned. Only about 15 %, and most of that has nothing to do do with job creation. Keep singing his praises.

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Rlg

    Everytime Mr McCain opens his mouth, it only confirms why he didn't win the presidential election.

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Edward

    I would feel badly for any elected leader to be saddled with the mess which Obama has been handed. One must wonder why he wanted the job. It's fascinating to me that the party that put the country in the hole it is on is now casting aspersions upon a President who has been in office for less than a month. Truly, it has become the party of cowards and traitors.
    I believe the country is in a depression, and I believe it is going to get worse, stimulus peanuts notwithstanding. We can thank the Bush administration for this and to Mr.McCain, you could have polarized a nation if you'd have chosen a running mate wisely, and if you had disparaged the leadership of the 8 years. You did neither, and now you wish to make yourself look good???

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. John W. Olver

    President Obama's approval rating is somewhere between the mid sixties and mid seventies depending on the poll you check. Americans seem to think he's on the right track. It was John McCain and his fellow Republicans that refused to discuss things in a civil manner. They joined in lock step to defeat Obama, not to do good for the country. McCain's campaign slogan, "Country First" has fallen by the wayside. He is now on the "Follow Rush Limbaugh" campaign.

    John W. Olver

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. nicholas

    Wow, who's sorry they didn't win! Shame on you John. Why don't you try to work on a solution?

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. DC Pam

    With this stimulus package Arizona will get money to fund 743 projects compared to the 8 projects that got funding in the District. And McCain is complaining???

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. husky

    And what, McCain thinks he can do it better? phaw!

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Mike Dallas

    Maybe all the folks that voted for McCain and whined a tax cut for middle America was not possible, should donate your increase towards the national deficit that your buddy the shrub for all of us?

    Not to mention Bush has done more to move this country toward Socialism than Obama ever can. Obama did not buy AIG, GM, Fannie and Freddie and Citigroup, but Bush did.

    But that is not socialism just corporate welfare if a republican institutes it!

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Franky

    "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”

    Ain't that right, Senator? I can only imagine if you were President, how things would be better. I mean, how great you are at communicating, even your own party will agree...LOL!!!

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Mark

    It seems the blogs are just like politics neither of them make any sense whatsoever. We remain divided amongst party lines and I for one can't seem to figure out what this "stimulus" hopes to accomplish following the other bailouts. A continued waste of taxpayer dollars; the only thing congress did well was grill the bank CEO's perhaps we should be a panel of people to grill congress and hold them accountable for their actions?

    February 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. JPM

    McCain was working behind the scenes, on the phones, to rally GOPers to a "no" vote LONG BEFORE there was any bill to read. He had no intention, zero, of voting for something Obama wants. Look for 4 years of this guy thwarting every attempt by Obama to include Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. BobR

    John McCain is correct in all he has said, except that I would say say it more strongly. We have just seen a dictatorship of the majority led, not by the President, but by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who all but ignored their own President.

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. NewsJunkie

    Excuse me Senator but during the campaign that you abandoned to fix the economy...nice job by the way.....you stated that you knew how to capture Osama Bin Laden. Have you relayed this strategy to our President or the CIA or the NSA. Why are you withholding such valuable knowledge?

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Chris

    Obama once again proving that organizing communities is a far cry from being able to run a country. Four years of the most underqualified US President in history cramming a left-wing spend first agenda will have Americans begging for real change... fiscal responsibility. three weeks in and we already need a bailout from the Obama administration. Is there anybody out there with the guts to be fiscally responsible?

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. videodrome

    McCain, be quiet.
    I guess he is tired of Palin getting all the attention, so he is trying to come up with some nonsense to get it. But that is the problem, he DOESN'T get it.
    He doesn't get the fact that the Repubs have done nothing but kiss Limbaugh's butt and complain through all this. They have offered very little solutions, no hard work and no effort to look past their own noses. So McLamo can complain all he wants. It would just be best if people do to him what they should have done to Palin............ignore it.
    Hopefully then they will just go away.

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Mark Senak

    Hey John – weren't you going to fix everything when you suspended your campaign to fix the economy? Oh yeah, that didn't work out so well, did it? Well, you don't have much credibility in this space John, so better move on.

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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