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. Jennifer

    As a small business owner, I am very disappointed with this so-called "stimulus" bill. It does not focus on the priorities in creating job growth and economic progress but rather appears to be filled with a lot of projects, some of which seem worthwhile enough, but really need to go under other headings like Health and Human Services, etc. Also, I still cannot understand the rationale of giving so much to ACORN, an activist organization, under this bill. If we are going to do this, why has ACORN been singled out to receive funding when there are numerous other activist organizations helping their communities and doing the same kinds of things for their communities, too?

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. romi tahli

    Mr. McCain ,u should learn from Obama . Thanx

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. T. Jefferson

    The comments on this subject only enhance my lack of faith in America. It seems you are all fools.

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Matt

    What? The republican regime of the last 8 years hasn't committed generational theft over and over again while increasing the debt of the US by multiples? What a hypocrite. McCain, you should be ashamed of yourself. Help solve the problem the last president created with your help and stop slinging mud.

    February 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Maureen Montee

    Hey John, YOU lost. Be quiet. After you picked Sarah Palin to be one heartbeat away from a 72 year old heart...you lost any right to say what is good for America.
    Talking about campaign promises, I remember one of your promises. Johnny boy, you promised if elected you would find Osama Bin Laden. You knew the land and you would find him.
    I happily know you were not elected, however, Johnny, if you want to grab headlines...go to President Obama....and offer your expertise.
    Go...Johnny....go and bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. Maybe then America will fogive you for the Palin pick.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. FORMER REPUBLICAN

    THEIR PAIN PILL ADDICT LEADER RUSH LIP, CHANEY,

    THEIR SEPARATIST POLL DANCER & MCBUSH WILL

    SPEND THE NEXT 8 YEARS DOING WHATEVER THEY

    CAN TO CONTINUE THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS NATION.

    WE NEED ANOTHER VOTER REVOLT IN 2010 & DESCUMBAG

    OUR ENTIRE LEGISLATOR BY VOTING ALL THE OLD BIGOTS OUT.

    HOW DID THE PARTY OF LINCOLN MORPH INTO THE KKK?

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. HRDem

    McCain can't figure out who he is. During his interview right after the election he talked about what a great man Obama is and how he would work with him. Now he is talking about what an awful job Obama is doing, Ummm...is McCain really going to work with Obama or is he returning to the GOP fold?

    Also, how thankful can we be that Palin isn't in the wings for the presidency...

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. jaye

    John McShame is full of crapola....he's been listening to his fearless leader, Limbaugh, too long.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Babu

    Where was McCain when the Evil Team: Bush, Cheney and Rove were spending money, killing inncoent people and wiretapping ordinary citizens? While the GOP sees a democratic President as left leaning spendthrift, data indicate that most Repulican Presidents have outpaced democratic administration since Regean years (see the link below for details). http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/fed-rev-spend-2008-boc-C2-Government-Spending-Grew-Faster.html

    No wonder, Republicans are a bunch of hypocrites always lying, misleading and corrupt

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Phrank

    The economy is NOT "fundamentally strong" and McCain is fundamentally WRONG. His opiniions are of no value as he,himself, has said. Yet we keep getting them. As though anyone with an IQ above kale would pays attention to them.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. brook

    McCain, for once is absolutely right. Obama has had a terrible beginning and made many blunders already. Funny thing is that had it been George Bush all you people who are squawking in defense of Obama would be calling for Bush's head. Don't doubt that if McCain had won it would have been the same.

    All of those who are saying "Obama won!!! So everyone else just shut up and play by his rules!!!!" have absolutely no concept of how the political process is supposed to work.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. RobbyD

    Hey, John, was your script... yes the same boring script... approved by Rush before going on? If not get your apology ready for the next news cycle.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. 4movnfwd

    Everyone seems to get it (at this point) except for Elle. But that's ok, if the big picture is too much for you to understand the need for a change for the better, we understand. You will benefit from the change also (unless you among the rich & wealthy) which in that case, I really understand your negative comment.

    Mr. McCain, so much for you supporting the "Commander in Chief" as you said you would.... Oh, I'm sorry that was another lie just like the lies you tried to sell during your campaign (which you lost). Your judgement remains poorly (just like when you chose your VP). Are you learning anything from your mistakes?

    How can any of us expect a bipartisan when it is clear that the republicans do not want President Obama to succeed. Where is your integrity, when you place your party before your country? Republicans, you are not even trying. Just saying no with no alternative makes you "not for your country" but for the same failed policies that hurt the majority of us.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Patrick in Arizona

    McCain never saw a war funding bill he didn't like, but opposed the stimulus. We are in bad shape here in AZ, and we need $500 million just to balance our state budget that ends in june, have a deficit of $3B for next fical year, we're laying off city and state workers, cutting eductaion and social services, etc and he has the gall to vote no. I will vote no on McCain when he comes up for re-election in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Glen

    John–you had no plan and have had no plan for 8 years prior...the Republican party's answer to everything is "no!"

    Hey...John...will you win re-election...."No!"

    Now go home to your rich wife an shut up and leave the country to people who actually work for a living...if they can find a job after your rich banker buddies screwed the country.

    February 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Sad American

    The past few days I have come to realize that Democrats are just as annoying as Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. d carlson

    the construction part of this stimulus pork will not create american jobs. it will bring back all of the illegal back into the country. there is not many jobs in the concrete, brick or block laying or painting trades that are not filled by illegals or-

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Cliff

    As a Republican I am ashamed at the way our party is acting like sore losers and little children who did not get their way when the Republican party lost the elections. John McCain and Michael Steele
    are seemed as always complainting and griping and care nothing about the welfare our country only on the 2010 elections in which if they continue I myself will vote for democrats and so will will some of my fellow republicans also who put the prosperity of the USA first instead of party politics. Give Obama a chance President Bush had 8 years of disasters where were the Republicans then when all the pork was handed out

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. jane molloy

    Has he become so feeble that he doesn't remenber what he does from one minute to the next.. What a hypocrite! I think sometimes what awful mess we'd be in had he been ekected. This is not for the faint of heart, or the weak of will, or inconsistency of message. Mr Mc Cain would do better to keep silent, should his tongue become his undoing, which it already has.

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Dave

    McCain continues to play the role of cranky-old-guy who lives in the biggest spending party in history, the republican party.

    Perhaps John and Palin will team up again for a run at the Whitehouse in four years.

    This recent obstructionism by the republicans, lead by reactionary southern lawmakers, may indicate a party in complete disarray and desperation. With no workable ideas they appear to be betting all on the economy not turning around in the next two years so they can play the blame game.

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. ross berg- Buffalo, NY

    I have the utmost respect for John McCain and truly wish he'd now retire with dignity.

    His disaterous decision to put Sarah Palin on his ticket not only insured his defeat but also left an indelible mark against his judgement abilities.

    It's clearly time for him to exit the national stage and I surely hope he'll do it while he has some dignity remaining??

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. Patrick in Arizona

    McCain never saw a war funding bill he didn't like, but opposed the stimulus. We are in bad shape here in AZ, and we need $500 million just to balance our state budget that ends in june, have a deficit of $3B for next fiscal year, we're laying off city and state workers, cutting education and social services, etc and he has the gall to vote no. I will vote no on McCain when he comes up for re-election in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Jane

    Yes, he is off to a bad beginning. What could be expect from a man that didn't have a clue. Senator McCain knows experience, has been their and done that. Everyone that thinks he is to old should just shut up and stand by their so called "Rock Star". His has such an irritating voice that when he is on television we just change channels. And no, we are not unamerican, we are proud to be Americans and not for the first time either.

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. lisa

    Bad beginning? Of course – for the Republicans. Once again they have proved themselves incapable of putting country before politics. Is there anyone who honestly believes every single action by Republicans since Obama was elected hasn't been some bold faced move to win back the credibility they so liberally sqaundered for the last eight years? It's sad McCain is so out of touch with what the American people want, but I guess we should thank our lucky stars he wasn't elected. I guess when they said Obama would have a hard time getting this country back on track, they meant because everyone he came across would be working in earnest to make sure it didn't happen.

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. CA Resident

    It is clear why the Republicans suffered such big defeats in the last two elections. The best they could come up with is McCain. When the country is in crisis ( 9/11, recent bank failures) atleast the Democrats put their differences aside from Bush and worked on the problem. All the Republicans can do is bleat for more tax cuts ( which are part of the stimulus package anyway).

    February 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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