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. Paul

    Republicans as the "Born Again" fiscal hawks? What a complete joke...
    You were given a budget surplus and you broke the global economy. Funded two wars with tax cuts. Please shut up while the rest of us are given the task to repair your mess.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Wow. So many anti-McCainers out there. Not one positive comment from you guys. Obama's first empty promise with lots more to come.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Caper

    Rob. Thanks for the "Commander" comment. Intellectual words like that make smart Republicans into Democrats!

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Katherine

    "Mr. Puddles...oh, Mr. Puddles....has anyone seen my dog Mr. Puddles?"

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Sabrina Tsimonidis

    Is it too much to ask that we dont listen to Republican BS for just one month!!!???

    Why are we even ASKING McCain what he thinks!!!????

    Bush and Co. left America and the WORLD in debt, leave Obama alone and let him get on with trying to help his people! When I say his people, I mean everyone, regardless of colour, country or religion!

    Can we just step away from all the negative Bush years and focus on what is to come!! PLEASE!!!

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. J Keefer

    McCain = Another irrelevant republican.

    They must not have gotten the joke on Saturday night live, when John Boner was equally delusional.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Amelia

    You dumped your wife.
    We dumped you.
    We're not interested in what you have to say.
    Don't you get it yet?

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Marge

    ANY republican that says the obama administration is off to a bad start after the absolutely positively horrendeous mess bush made of this country, surely has to be touched in the head and needs immediate hospitalization.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Luke

    We're not even 100 days in and Obama has already made so many screw ups. He says one thing then does the other. He says his cabinet will have the highest ethical standards ever...Then he decides to move the census into the White House. It doesn't matter if this move was done with good or bad intent, it is still an ethics issue. Now he rushes this stimulus through and NOBODY EVEN KNOWS WHAT IS IN IT...And to top it all off he goes on vacation with his little wife while the bill sits on his desk. If Obama wasn't such a tool we could have used this time to see what was in the bill.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Bam

    I hate to inform you all who think Obama is Change. He is not. He is just another politician with the same old junk we have heard for years. Just a new face. You voted for change–but you didn't get it. A new color maybe, a new face maybe, but a politician who is already running for President again in 4 years.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Dixon

    Barack has done more in 3 weeks than any other president. McCain and his party ran up the debt, grew the government and started two wars. Someone has to pay for this. In my opinion the republicans are obstructing the process like they do when they are in trouble. They campained on the "do nothing" Congress. Yet when the congress tried to do anything it was blocked. Barack said he would invite all to the table. He did this and comprimised. According to the Republicans there are no jobs in education worth paying for, they call it pork. Of course Head start is "pork" since it doesn't include another bridge/s to nowhere. Keep it going Republicans and there will only be the hard core far right wing left in your party. McCain's actions since he lost show him to be who I thought he was, Party First.

    February 15, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. CM

    Wow... 99% of comments are against McCain. Either McCain is extremely wrong or this web page is somewhat bias. What do you think?

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. C W

    Jamie from Philly has got it completely right: The current Republican leadership only cares about their party and no one else. I have friends and relatives who are Republican, and they have become increasingly disillusioned with their party and the way it's been taken over by the religious right and people who only want to give money to the wealthy.

    And these disillusioned Republicans are more and more voting outside their party .... thankfully!

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. mary dale

    Its only bi-partisanship when the Democrats give in to everything the Republicans want. Otherwise its not right – gee John how would it be different if the republicans were still in power and you won. You already said in the campaign you would freeze government spending – if that had been done, we would be entering a true depression in no time and there are not enough tax cuts in the world that would ever fix that. So shut up. Try to actually reason out what Obama is trying to accomplish for the American people and help, stop badmouthing it. Get off the pulpit and get to work, you are a rich man, you have absolutely no idea how much of the country is suffering due to the republican policies of the recent decade. You lost. Get over it or the reputation you have spent decades building will only be remembered as a grouchy old loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Greg

    I always find it hilarious that the fair, open-minded Democrats criticize Republicans not with stats of real results, but with insults such as "Idiots" or "stupid". If the Democrats believe government taking over industry is the answer, then congratulations and enjoy the fact that your party voted for it.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Texans

    Why is his face so white??? Does his blood not circulated properly??? He needs a little sun light., or that tanning bed that Palin purchased

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Brian C

    Interesting now the Obama is in the White House, Senator McCain is speaking out forcefully against high spending. Why does he support spending $10 billion per week for Iraq? Why does he support Bush's trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy during a time of war? Now that Democrats have power and want to spend money to help create jobs for the American worker he says it's to expensive.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Dave

    McCain is an idot. I've been a life long republican, over 30 years voting for them, but couldn't stomach there unwavering attitude these past few years and voted against them in the most recent elections. Our Congress has one of the worst approval ratings of any organization in the world.
    We vote these people in to office to run the country, and that means you have to compromise to get things done. Lately, the parties have polarized and it's either 'my way, or no.' 535 people have to compromise or nothing worth while gets done.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. trevor weir

    Dear John, Republicans are like cattle. They follow in lock step with the stupidity of the leaders. Tax reduction does not help people who are unemployed. Republicans are selfish, self centered and think only of the rich banker and wall street types. Unfortunately beer sales won't fall enough to get your wife's attention. Then you will change your tune. I pray sufficient voting Americans remember your poor decision making and vote you out.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Jason from North Carolina

    All the comments so far posted are all negative towards John McCain. He was invited on your show for his opinion and you got it. John McCain has valid arguments and should be listened to. I'll be surprised if my pro John McCain comment shows up on your blog.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Gene

    What the hell makes you people experts? All you have done is listen to this pathetic CNN and think your going to get a free ride. You are raping future generations.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Brian Wicks-Woodland Hills

    The people did not care for you views a few months ago. Just ride to the sunset.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. J Keefer

    Let's not forget Bush admin took the Nation al Debt from 3 Trillion to 10 Trillion...and how many jobs did they create?

    Now they have the nerve to say this bill is flawed.

    February 15, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Samuel

    It's amazing that the Democrats don't understand that we need job creation and money put in the economy today; not years from now. I'm glad that McCain, albeit not popular, at least expresses this concern.

    February 15, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. Mario

    I think with this kind of representatives (Senators ) are not need in Washington.

    February 15, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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