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. Catherine

    What a stupid man you are McCain.
    You are the poster child for Republican ignorance!

    February 15, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Charity

    News Flash: Democrats were in charge of Congress the last two years. Or could any of you figure that out?

    February 15, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Mike=NY

    I voted for Pesident Obama because he convinced me he represented change. I voted to put him in charge of fixing this broken economy – what I didn't vote for was his taking this responsibility and out-sourceing it. As the saying goes – first time... shame on you. Trust me there will never reach a point it becomes shame on me.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Reality Check

    For those of you who think this "stimulus package" is the best thing since sliced bread, you might want to take a look at the bill. There are things in there are not stimulating jobs. We are headed down Socialist Lane pretty fast and you guys are too gah-gah and slobbering over Obama to see it happening. WAKE UP!

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Helen Thompson

    Who cares what John McCain thinks.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Steven

    A bad beginning is an out of touch old fart picking Sarah Palin as a running mate. Bad beginning, and bad end to a career.
    Sedona is a lovely place to retire. Enjoy!

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Shanna

    Just remember this--Congress has been in control by democrats for the last eight yeas. In case most of you don't know we have a checks and balances systems and ONLY Congress can declare war!

    I'm not saying the GOP is any better than the democrats but it is EVERY one's fault who voted in favor for the things to happen that have.

    It is NOT one persons fault. Another case of our adolescent America not taking responsibility for THEMSELVES!

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. JimO, Colorado

    Spending beyond our means created this mess, so I think we should borrow more money and spend it. Obviously, Bush failed to spend enough money.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. John

    Also... for those that don't know, the current total cost of the "entire" iraq war is about 2/3 the price tag of this Stimulus bill. Does anyone really think the spending will stop there?

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. huh?

    To patricia campbell at 12:24:

    Dems are masters of mind-control, now?

    Well, I'd rather be brainwashed by Obama than Limbaugh.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Allison

    Focusing on who won and who lost is irrelevant to the true issue, which is the quality of the bill. Regardless of what the Republicans have done and the fact that McCain lost the election, the truth is we got the short end of the stick on this bill. I have to agree that Obama and Congress have made some serious errors. We ought to be concerned with what's actually going to help Americans through this bad economy; not how to slip through pet projects and expand the government in ways it can't afford or would do better to concern itself with when things look up. I'm all for helping this economy, but the majority of this bill isn't going to do much for the average American or the economy, and succeed or fail we'll still pay for it.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. joe

    This sham of a "stimulus" (I'm actually quite sick of that term) will fail. When the economy tanks later this summer and the Dems are holding the bag, it will make the huge victories for the Republicans in 2010 that much sweeter. You sheep do realize that the rally of race based voters isn't coming to your aide in 2010 don't you? They have no interest in the intricacies of government. The messiah got elected and that's the end of involvement for them.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Darla Beutelman

    I don't know if Obama did the right thing or not, but I am just hoping somebody somewhere forgets about Republican or Democrat and starts thinking about the people of this country. With Arizona being one of the hardest hit markets (especially Phx/Scottsdale area), one would think Senator McCain would be out working with the people in his district to ensure they are not having to foreclose on their homes. Those of us who had to relocate for employment and couldn't sale our home in AZ would really appreciate him helping us and putting the political BS aside. Instead of each party critisizing the other HELP THE PEOPLE!

    If he really wants to help the people have him contact me. He can start with me.

    Darla Beutelman

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Jeema

    Most of the comments here are from Obamists. And most of them are from people who don't appear to have much education and are wanting someone else to support them financially.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. tageis

    Oh and to the guy who said the Republicans bankrupted Americans. It was CLINTON who signed bills to allow Subprime loans. It goes back to the Clinton years so buddy BACK OFF!

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. GREG Palmer

    Well,in my opinion Mc cain and his red neck party that have no use for the good and hard working American person and just want what,s best for them and there rich friends should be ashamed of themselves and the party they are with! they need to realize that the good old boy syndrom that lies in their party and corporate America is done and gone and they all need to open there eyes and see the future and move forward for the people of the USA that pay for there wages and pensions.i,m so sick and tired of the whinining and crying that the gop is doing,perfect example is the southern states that are all gop.the gop was in power for 8 yrs and didnt do anything for the hurican reveraged states and then they people voted them in again in the past election??du are you for real!!! then the GOP gave the banks 350 million last fall trying to turn it around ,but heres the good part they just gave it with no strings attached ???? du!!! so now they are still mad at the man whom is trying to do good for the american people ,all the people and the GOP is mad because there greedy rich friends are not going to get anything,please let the man do good for all!!

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Richard

    I love how everyone has a comment now. Everyone on this blog thinks they know more than McCain and acts like they know the details of the stimulis bill. I think most of the country believes the republicans put us in this situation but Obama isnt off to a great start with his cabinet picks. Same old politics just a different team in control now.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. John Haigh

    This statement coming from a man who campaigned on the premise that tax cuts for the very rich enhanced the US economy. On what parallel universe has McCain been existing?

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Rose

    I truly hope that McCain is wrong but what scares me is if he is right.
    If this plan of Obama's doesn't work then we are all in for a really big mess.

    February 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. tcaudilllg

    This is exactly why you were defeated John, and thank god for it.

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Patty

    I can't believe the criticism of McCain over all of this. Like the Repubs were doing such a great job before Obama got into office. Problems started while the Repubs were in control under Bush. McCain needs to get out of politics. He's too old and just doesn't get it. Out of touch and out of his mind . . .

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Gail Marin

    I'm an independent but for those of you complaining that the republicans had no answers for the stimulus package, they did. In fact, there were several proposals written but the Democrats were not interested in looking at. The Obama proposal is too laden with unrelated spending for stimulus and too few incentives for business which is what we need to GROW the economy, not just give it a spending boost that will eventually dry up. For something this important, it would have been nice to lock up leaders of both parties to write up the bill. The biggest mistake made was giving control to Pelosi who seems to only be interested in her own ego and power and to hell with anyone else. I'm trying to support Obama but if the democrats aren't willing to do what's best for EVERYONE in this country and continue to cater to only half the country, then he will be breaking many campaign promises. If I were a republican, I would not have voted for this bill either. It may work short-term but bipartisan economists have already said that this will negatively affect us in a few years. When we turn into a socialist country, I think many of you will regret it. It may sound good to some of you now, but be careful what you wish for...like anything, there are pros and cons to everything. It will certainly threaten our nation as a superpower and for those of you that don't believe this, do your homework and study up on history and economics. I do, however, wish that Obama could get rid of Pelosi as she scares me more than anyone and if she continues in her radical leftist way, she could hurt Obama in the long run. She can take Reid with her, too.

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Phil

    He is not a sore loser, he is right. 3 republicans is not a bipartisan bill. And, just because Bush made bad choices does not mean McCain is George Bush, he isn't. And Iraq? This bill costs more than the entirety of that war.

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. sweet p

    This is coming from the same man that does not know how many homes he has?????? Yeah right shot me right now if this is the best the Republicans have.

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Konkey Dong


    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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