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. Dan

    Bipartisanship has to take a back seat to what works. Focusing on only tax cuts or doing nothing is not an alternative proposal but a prescription for disaster.

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. pat

    sore loser. who cares what defeated candidate mccain says? obama's not even the first month into his presidency

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Elle

    It is a bad beginning and sadly a hint of what is to come. During Obama's reign we will see a socialist society where the government owns and regulates everything. Individualism will go away. Competition will not matter anymore as everything will be government standardized and more than likely over priced. I for one will never drink the Obama koolaide..................................

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. emily

    Ugh. Just retire already, McCain!

    All you know how to do is tear things apart with your negativity. How about a positive contribution for once? Obama is doing his best to make things better for all of us...all I hear you do is whine!

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Who cares what republicans think. They have only one answer for every economic situation good or bad.

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Leslie Griffith

    Mr. McCain is still Mr. Negativity, some things never change.

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Tim

    Ah, yes, this from the man who participated in the Savings & Loan scandal. I guess that does give him some credibility when it comes to talking about stealing from future generations.

    February 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Jean

    If your so smart McBrain, Why didn't you win the president post? Go home!

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Jon

    After eight years of rubber-stamping almost everything George W. Bush did to to hurt this country, John McCain criticizes Obama?

    Senator, you are irrevelant to this country; you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Look for a nice retirement home near Sedona...and retire.

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Eric the Blue

    Kinda reminds me of the last 8 years. Suck it up big guy. I hate those people who can dish it out but can't take it.

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Anna, ATL

    That's right.
    Bi-partisan does not mean wining and dining the opposing side; expecting them to come around to your side and that is the end of it.
    It is about compromise.

    I am really disheartened by this whole power trip thing.
    If this stimulus package fails to improve our economy (at least partially) soon, then what?

    I am also really disturbed about the White Hose controlling the Census!
    That is crazy. The census should NEVER be politicized!

    As a moderate liberal, I am VERY concerned about the sort of precedents we are setting.

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Magi

    Boo hoo – he's just trying to stay relevant in some people's eyes.

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Had it

    No matter how the Repubs try to spin it, bottom line, Obama within 3 weeks of his presidency managed to get the largest spending bill in history through congress. He won, the american people won, period.

    McCain might think OB had a bad start, but outside of DC, 76% of folks are with OB. Time switch off the lights, McCain...

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. tony

    John King,

    State of the Union

    Hope Wolf is getting some much needed rest. I am very upset at a woman (Nicole) who was a guest on your show with two greats.

    She could not bring herself to call the President President or Mr.Obama. I was not suprised that she is a so called Republican. Where is the respect? If he was white she would show a little respect. This country is headed for problems and she is a fine example why it is. The next time she is on your show or any CNN show, I will switch channels.

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Kathleen

    Hey John,
    No one cares what you think!

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Rich from Az

    The stimulus bill is a good beginning for America. The America that republicans trashed for some 20 years. You can't play good guy, bad guy, John. Just what have you ever done for Az? You vote for a bailout of banks and then turn your back on Arizonans, with a no vote for the stimulus. Forget 2012, retire.

    February 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Barbara, FL

    Hey, John, you lost...anything you say now just sounds like sour grapes!

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Donna

    Obama extended his hand in bipartisianship but the REPUBLICANS have their own agenda and it does not include the publc....McCain has no right to criticize anything since he pretty much LOST THE ELECTION due to his own ignorance about the economy..if it were up to them, we'd still be sitting around...if you don't call the policies of the last 8 years a "theft" then shut up now....

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. D. Nielsen

    McCain is simply playing politics. He is betting that the recession/depression will take down more jobs than the stimulus package will create. If that happens, he can say, "Look, I told you so, this stimulus package did not create jobs and was a waste of tax payers money." He offers no viable solurion though. Tax cuts and military spending are his ideas. If anyone thinks the net result of his plan would yield more jobs than Obama's plan, then they must be delusional.

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. kathy

    Well it was a bad 8 years. The republicans got us into this mess
    by not paying any attention to what was happening out there.
    Obama tried to keep this bipartisan but the republican sore
    losers didn't abide by their word. That's their typical attitude,
    my way or the highway. Shame on them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Adam from Ohio

    Hey, John: YOU LOST! Get over it! The American people soundly repudiated your ineffective and outmoded views on how to run a government. And now, you think you deserve a seat at the table so that your repudiated views can influence future legislation.

    For years, you enabled a president who committed far worse "generational theft" to blow up and then rebuild a system of infrastructure in Iraq. That's trillions in money that the future generations will have to pay for, so that we could take actions that future generations will never be able to use. You had no problem with that–yet, you are opposed to using tax dollars for lasting investments here in America.

    Just take your little piece of eye candy Sarah Palin and go away, John. We don't want to hear from you anymore. Did you miss the results of the election?

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. HKP

    Go to hell McCain – you lost, get over it. Loser. GOP is intellectually bankrupt and devoid of a single new idea.

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. bill

    mccain represents the DO N0THING PARTY of self interest. as an ex republican i say-lets get all the bush party out of office in 2 years and try to save a country they put in the toilet. the voting shows they are still into power and not people. mccain, i am ashamed of you and all you stand for.

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. scat398

    Well it was certainley a bad beginning for the repulican party. Now offically the party against economic recorvery. Nice job guys, way to understand what the country want you to do.

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Mitchell Parsons

    THIS from someone who chose Palen??!!! He and his party have lost all credibilty and continue to do so for years to come. So shut the hell up!

    February 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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