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. TexasGB

    (1) What is the altenative solution that you have, Sen. McCain that is cheap, can create jobs?

    (2) Also, whats the price-tag on the tax break that you and republicans like you would have likes to push through.

    (3) As a republican leader how did you/what did you do this time to bring republicans together and propose a feasible, coherent alternative to Pres. Obama's plan?

    (4) Anyone can do what you and replublicans are doing now, sand back and just talk to the press about the negativities of the proposed bill. But Sen. McCain american people don't want to hear trash talk. The need of the hour is leaders who can do something impactful and bring back the lost confidence in the american economy.

    (5) This financial crisis didnot start a month ago on Jan. 20th, 2009. Even if someone says that it was started off by Clinton administration, you and republicans had 8 years to fix the issues. But you didn't. Now you talk about hasty decisions on Obama' part. If he adopts your party's ways, we won't even have to bother about economy anymore because it would already have gone down beyond recovery.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Tomas E

    Let's see the republicans said you do it our way or we're going to cry, whine and complain that you're not working with us. What a big bunch of cry babies. I'm so glad I am no longer a registered republican. I don't even identify with any of those nutcases anymore. McCain has as much credibility on the economy as Palin has on the oil drilling. Of course, let's remember that McCain didn't even know we had a problem with the economy.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Yahbut

    I agree with Senator McCain that President Obama is off to a very bad start.

    I don't even know if anybody in congress has seen the whole of this, so called, stimulus bill, but they shouldn't have voted on something that they had not seen or even read. I do not care whether their staffs have read some of it or not. The staff are not elected and our elected "EMPLOYEES" need to be reading these bills.

    If we are asking too much of them then they should resign.

    Before a stimulus package, which seems to actually been sculpted by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, even came to the floor ALL members of congress should have said that they would NOT except their annual raise until the economy turned upwards.

    These people have a bed habit of remembering which side of the fence they are on. They are not OUR EMPLOYERS. They are OUR EMPLOYEES!!!!

    Whatever happened to the opportunity for the American public to read this bill before it was voted on? I thought we were going to have a more open government. That is certainly a farce with all the people from Chicago who are now on the federal payroll.

    President Obama could also help the American people by posting, on the internet, the whole of the health plan that all the members of congress have at the taxpayers expense.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. SickofRepublicans

    Republicans were dead set against cooperating from the get-go. They are determined to make Obama look bad and guess what! We all know it. It's just a circle of old men in Washington that want to keep things the status-quo so as to make themselves look better. They could care less about America – it's all about what they want. Bitterness is not pretty!

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Gary

    I don't believe the interview I just seen with John Mccain. If he was elected President then he would be more concerned over Mexico than helping Americans keeping their jobs. Please you Republicans keep talking about this bill is something we will be paying for a long time. What about Bush bailing out the automakers? What about 8 years of war? What about stuffing the pockets of all the big wigs pockets? Hey it's a start, better than any of Bush's idea's.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. nan

    Geezer/Dingbat you are a disgrace to the public. You chose to run with Alaska Barbie Dingbat, showing your leadership abilities! HAH!!!!
    Thank god the American public saw you for the sham that you are. Idiot. Go home to your plastic old wife.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John McCain aka Keating 5, the same man that said the economy is doing fine, of course he's going to say negative things about Obama. John McCain let's talk about Silver Bank of Arizona where your son was CEO and left one month before it failed, did you let those investors know it was failing, no, you got your money out. Let's talk about the 8 houses you have while the state of Arizona has the 2nd worst foreclosures. Let's talk about how much money you, Keating 5, took of investors money from Lincoln Savings. McCain has never done anything for Arizona but Arizona has done so much to contribute to his wealth. McCain is a theif and liar.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Beth Hawes

    This is so typical of what the Repugs call "bipartisanship": Do it the Republican way or nothing. This is how they behaved when in the majority, and how they cry and whine when not. Surely hope those die-hard supporters who keep voting them into office begin to see the light soon, and finally–for once and for all-jerk the rug out from under them! It's so laughable that the party that got us into this mess in the first place has the gall to push for the same failed policies to get us out.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. change in America

    American get together and vote Republicans out the office 2010 especially John McCain

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. John

    This is the reason that this country is in the problem it is in. Nobody here has written comments that address the actual problem. Just the same partisan stuff. I thought the last administration spent us into oblivion and finished it off with the last bailout bill. Now, with this stimulus bill, it is getting way, way out of control and all you people do are call others names. Does anyone really have any clue what this spending is going to do to this country, the value of the dollar and the burden on next few generations? The numbers at this point are so incredibly high that I think it's too difficult for most people to get there heads around it and I think that was the idea from the beginning. I am truly afraid for the future of this country.

    February 15, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Rebecca

    Just goes to show how ignorant the majority of the American Voting public are. I seriously doubt if anyone blogging has read the entire Bill. Just putting out their hate for McCain isn't going to solve the problem. After you read the entire Bill, then make a comment.
    "You can fool some of the people some of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time" Educate yourselved, it is your future and your children's future you are voting on.

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Jennifer McDonald

    People tend to forget - the dems were in control of congress the last two years and did nothing but raise our debt $2 trillion of the $5 trillion during the Bush presidency. If he vetoed anything, they could have overridden that veto, but all they did was play the blame game. It's easier to sit and do nothing, and blame it on the other guy than have a backbone and make a difference. Our entire congress needs to be out of there and start fresh.

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. logan

    Thats funny coming from Mccain.He couldnt even handle his own campaign during the election season! He is one of the reason we're in this mess. His policy of more deregulation for companies proves he has no idea what he is talking about. Im not saying this Bill is going to completely work, but action needs to be taken. I personally think the bill should focus on credit crisis, and then long term on a green economy. If the USA leads in that area of creating alternate energy technology, USA will be once the again true leader of this world!

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Joe

    OBAMA LIED! That is the point. It's kind of like when Clinton got his package stimulated. It's not that people cared what he did, it that people knew HE LIED!! I HATE LIARS!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Bill in Dallas

    Your shows just amaze me. Create controversy where none exist is your motto. All the cable news programs come on and attempt to make something that regular people don't care about into a "serious problem". This is not American Idol. I applaud President Obama in accomplishing so much in less than a month. Speed was at the essence. We did not have time to hold the Republican's hands. The Democrats did put in tax cuts and they did drop some of the more controversial projects to appease the Republicans.

    Look the final bill was put together with the aid of three Republicans. John King in trying to be so friendly with Senator McCain forgot to ask him about that. The Democrats did not get everything they thought they needed and had to just accept it. They voted for the package in the end.

    Senator McCain is not a Maverick and as far I know wishes the President ill. He is sitll grumpy about losing. The American people in an impressive showing selected Barack Obama and not John McCain. All administrations have had problems with cabinet selections. Few have been handed collapsing economy and a war and still have been able to staff an administration. None of these has President Obama been helped by the Republican monolith that got us in this mess in the first place. Quit majoring in the minors the American people don't care. As a matter of fact many of the American people have had their own problems with the IRS and that is even with CPA's helping them.

    Try and be more analyical in your approach and stop trying to be the National Enquirer.

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Paul

    When is McCain going to realize that the Straight Talk Express lost a wheel a long time ago and that his rhetoric is as stale as the rest of the Republican Party?

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. James

    Who cares about McCain.

    Why are people not freaking out about how much money was just committed to pet projects that don't yield new jobs?

    OMG, We just committed so much spend to pet pork that we don't have much flexibility left to help economic growth. I am so disappointed in this drunken pork fest. I expected more from Obama.

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. mitch

    Republican Solutions:

    bad economy... lower taxes
    health care crises... lower taxes
    new war somewhere... lower taxes
    wildfires...lower taxes
    foreclosure...lower taxes
    no more oil...lower taxes
    15% unemployment... lower taxes
    white collar crime... lower taxes
    low tax revenue...lower taxes
    homeless problem...lower taxes

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. John from Cali

    Good job John. Please keep speaking for the close to Sixty million people who did vote for you despite the destructive power to the Republican Party that was Bush.

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Doug

    I bet if the hundreds of billions of dollars were going to be spent in Iraq and not on Americans the Republicans would have been in favor of it.

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Senator McCain, GET A LIFE!!!! It's way too early for campaign rhetoric!!

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Paula

    You Liberals are silly!! You just see what you're in for. And the budget was balanced the first 5!/2yrs that Bush was in office. Then the Democrats take over. SPEND SPEND SPEND!! And no one read this Stimulus Bill. Did you see all the figures crossed and out and filled in by ink. Who did this? Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid? Enjoy the ride because it's not going to be fun!!

    February 15, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. pd

    Sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. J Mac

    Did McCain ever explain the hypocracy of running for the GOP "family responsibility" ticket and his decision to dump his first wife and kids for the rich druggie blonde? Would a responsible GOP family man not stick with his wife and kids? Instead of attacking, McCain still has some explaining to do.

    February 15, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. tommy

    Obama has placed a gravestone on this economy. He only listens to the people that agree with him. Too bad because I think he could have been a great president.

    February 15, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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