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. R in Maine

    Do something to show that you care about people. RESIGN.

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Allie

    I would feel so much better if McCain was in office! Obama
    has no morals and is playing the color card! Come on what
    has he done that is so great that everyone is crazy about?

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. K

    I am shocked at the disrespect shown for Sen. McCain in these comments. Most comments were soley about name calling and didn't even touch on ther REAL issue.

    This is not his being a sore loser or about "sour grapes". Please, someone, tell me what part of “It has hundreds of billions of dollars in projects which will not yield in jobs,” is not true???

    McCain *is* speaking the truth. The dems rammed this bill down the throats of the American people so they could feather the nests of their friends and fund their pet socialist programs. You don't like McCain? Fine. But shake off the koolaid stupor and WAKE UP.

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Todd W

    Thank you Obama for my extra $13 a week tax cut.....even though my tax dollars will be going to other wasteful tax and spend projects that i will never ever benefit from.....EVEN THOUGH I WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.... FOR MANY YEARS to come......

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Stephen

    Did anyone expect John McCain to say anything else? He is only trying to regain some respect after being clobbered in the election. The sad part about it all is that he doesn't ever offer any good original ideas himself yet wants to criticize anyone else that is trying to do something about the current situation. The same is true for Rush Limbaugh. If he has all the answers to the problems then why doesn't he run for a political office instead of maintaining the shield of just shouting criticisms from behind a radio microphone?

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. JasonP

    I see every republican scolding the new bill... but I have to ask, what have they done to help the economy recover? This is the first step to recovery, even if it may not be perfect, it is an attempt. Thats all I can ask for.

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Monica

    Stuff it, sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Republicans in general are just sounding like spoiled children. Their guys had the chance for 8 LONG years and screwed it up... You guys lost... get it? McCain, go home, you have been at this far too long... you are out of touch and you are not part of the process anymore, so you are just becoming part of the problem.

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Lia

    McCain should be a shame to be part of a party that is so selfish and shallow that it voted against the president's bill without reading. Did the rep.learn nothing during the election, we want representatives that representative us? So far President Obama looks to be the only one in Washington, looking out and thinking about what is best for the country.

    February 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. onelinerix

    awwww. so sad john. u wanted to win and u lost? awwww. why dont u set up a conference call with palin, joe 6 pack and joe the plumber? u cant wink to each other over the phone? awww. why dont u go hunting with dick. may be spraying bullets in someone's face will make u feel better. poor baby...

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Carmine Abbattiello

    I've decoded the CNN strategy for higher ratings. 1. Publish every statement every prominent Republican makes. 2. Open a forum where out-of-work Americans can make the all-too-obvious rebuttal. Really, I love reading these forums. If there is one thing the Bush admin succeeded in its that the silent majority isn't silent anymore!

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Obama Army

    Wow, look at all the Obama Fascists line up to shout down anything that doesn't "bow down" to the great savior in the whitehouse. Are you people for real?

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Vic on the Left Coast

    This coming from Mr. "The Economy is Fundamentally Sound'?! The republicans are just trying to absolve themselves of any responsibility with this mess. Then they can point the finger if it doesn't go well and try to regain power in 4 years (please God NO!) and set up new crafty systems that get them rich while rest of us suffer. Bleh!

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Tomm in Los Angeles

    Well, from McCain, that spells AOK! He did absolutely nothing to bridge the bi-partisan gap. He actually added to it by making comments about it being wrong, but offered no items about what he thinks would be right.

    McCain is at the heart of playing the political game. This is not what the American people want right now. Think back about 9/11 and how all Americans supports Bush right down to a war based on lies.

    The current crisis is economic and hurting all people. Why didn't McCain LEAD the Republicans TOWARDS working with the President with his hands opened out for cooperation?

    His thinking is flawed.

    We won't be listening to him anymore.

    Washed up.

    Should retire and go home.

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. rush Joy

    What is wrong with John McCain and his irresponsible republican party. He talks about sitting down (republicans and democrats0 how many time did they do that?
    This is a tough time for our country and stop the BS an rediculous cheap politic while the American people are suffering...
    VOTE out all these stupid politicians who don't get it. Why should they represent us????????Wake up America

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Denise

    Not interested in what McCain thinks... he thought Sarah Palin would be a fine Vice President. He is clearly delusional.

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Shelley Dee

    Wow. What's up with the comb-over, John? Looks like he lost his makeup crew as well. That was some pretty scary old-guy hair~ I suppose it is to match his inner beauty, huh?

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Bob

    Unfortunately what McCain is saying sounds like sour grapes, but at some point we are going to have to accept that what he is saying might actually be right. If you go through this bill line by line, which I decided to do you see how much of a piece of legislation is bogged down with other things that aren't part of the overall goal. I think it is naive for anyone to think that by giving those who lack an overall drive to succeed more for nothing, it will in some way stimulate the economy. Is anyone else mad that those who don't even have to pay Federal INCOME TAX, are getting a tax break?

    February 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Norman

    Mr McCain seeing that u may be suffering from Advance Age Memory Defficeny (AAMD)Like most of us to certain point , let me leave u with 2 qoutes:
    Ask not what ur country can do 4 u but what u can do 4 ur country
    We must all live as brothers or perish as fools

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. william . Oregon

    Citizens go to my House Rep. Greg Walden's web page and look at the PORK he wants for Oregon. Yet him and the other GOP Congress are worried about the pricetag. I think he should refuse any money for OUR District..

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. John

    OK a few things here –
    First, McCain LOST, if the country wanted his ideas and proposals he would be President right now instead of Obama. It's nice that he's allowed to speak his mind but he and the rest of the Repubs don't seem to bet getting it – the country soundly rejected their ideas, it's time for something new. After 8 years of chances to do things they blew it.
    Secondly, why is the honus on Obama to compromise in order to be bi-partisan. He was willing to listen and negotiate (much more than we can say for Bush) but if the Repubs are just going to continually disagree with him he really doesn't have much leeway there does he. Unless he's willing to trash his own bill and write a Republican one, he doesn't have a chance with them. HE's not the one rejecting bipartisanship, it's THEM. They don't compromise, it's their way or no way and that's the way it's been for the past 8 years.
    Last but not least, for the Republicans to have any type of chance at leadership in the near future, Obama HAS to fail. If in four years from now the country is looking better than it is now the Democrats are a shoo in and he's going to win re-election by a landslide. That said, it's not that hard to leave the country in better shape than he inherited it from Bush. So he HAS to fail if they have any chances at all. Of course they're united against him.

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. chris c

    The American people overwhelmingly elected a Democratic House, Senate and President. The President made every attempt to reach out to sore loser republicans in a way no other president has tried. In the end the repubs were more interested in revenge for their electoral losses. As far as I'm concerned the President did more than enough to reach out to people who would not meet him half way. His election represents the will of the people and thus so do his policies. To all those bitter Republicans all i can say is get over it, you lost and will continue to lose as long as you are a party that foments hate, division, and fear.

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Lori

    Is this the same man that voted with George Bush 90% of the time? The man who wanted to waste trillions in Iraq while deny American's financial help? Is this the man who knew very little about the economy and would have relied on Sarah Palin as VP to help him with that?

    You lost, John. America rejected your ideas and your jealousy of President Obama is quite obvious!

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. john clement

    This is laughable coming from a guy who admitted not long ago that he did not understand economics and then followed that up with the comment that the economic system was fundamentally sound. This was said despite the fact that the US economy was already in serious trouble. Don't you think you should sit this one out, John?

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Lonnie

    I think it's about time the all of us get off this Republican vs Democrat business and get to the America business. Stop defendind the crap from both sides and get together to help.

    February 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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