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. Scott in Indy

    45.7% of all voting Americans care about what John McCain thinks (popular vote).

    The majority of you close minded left of the isle persons seem to forget this.

    I voted for Obama to bring change and thus far I feel jaded. We can take care of the social plans later. Leave that out of the stimulus package – it does not belong there.

    You can not support job growth on tax funded jobs. It's like subscribing to a belief in perpetual motion....

    Oh well, if this flops you will see the rebulicans take back all those seats in 2 years like what happend with Clinton in the early 90's. That will be a sad day.

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. george

    The only reason why Obama is having these kind of issues is beaucse the last eight years were total bull. We are in this mess because of three large issues. Our self destructive dependancy on forigen oil tied our hands while unchecked speculators raked in millions of fradulent investmens and hiked fuel prices to the highest extreme of all time at Wall Street, thereby tying a mill stone around our necks. And finally, our unscrupulous financual creditors extended exorbitant loans to people and businesses who could not pay them have taken us to sea and thrown us overboard. There were warnings all along but no one did anything at the local, state, or federal level. In other words, hope you all enjoy being fish food!

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. jay Monson

    Let see, McCain is a Republican who lost his last attempt at being President to Obama, and now he is critical of the Presidents way of negotiating? Give me a break. The only thing the Republican party is good at is being sore losers who are desperate to make up for all the mistakes they have made. Republican spending and lack of regulation is the reason the world economy is the way it is today. Why the Republican party makes its politics-as-usual attempt to convince America that they are the party of small government, less taxes, and an open market, the country's history of how they are none of the above except for a market gone wild is a little too fresh for the Republican party to be making that claim. How dumb do they think Amercians? We've been had, but only by the Republican party.

    February 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. greenkathy

    I am trying to remember if any recent unsuccessful presidential candidate has dumped on the victor this completely and this quickly. Does anyone know the answer?

    It is most unattractive and, I suspect, most ineffective. The American people really have an aversion to sore losers and McCain fits that bill. He is jeopardizing his own legacy, such as it is.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Trollmaster

    Despite a few honest mistakes, Obama is doing a good job so far.

    McCain is trying to create a false illusion otherwise.

    The blame lies with the GOP, to expect them to behave like adults and honestly work with Obama is like teaching a dog how to play chess.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. David

    I just hope that all of the "sore loser" talk is well remembered when the "old men" really are retired and you and I will have to sit down and figure out how we are all going to pay for this. For years our own government has told those of us who have debt that the way out is not to borrow more. Do you think that this bill actually gives us the right to take money out of a special rainy day "stimulus" account? Wake up!! It is borrowed money!!

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Chuck

    John McCain........Puppet of Big Business, Big CEO's, etc. What the hell can you offer the working folks of this country ? We the people who can only afford "1" house, and others who can't even do that (thanks to you and your GOP buddies). What a sincerely arrogant statement from you about the "Peoples" new President. Take your obscene wealth, multiple homes, and your life of luxury and GO AWAY !

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Obama 08

    I think with your age you are losing your mind. Let me remind you something that president said "he won". So stop whining i am sure you wouldnt even do what he did

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Joan Hannigan

    As expected from John McCain.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Danny Leclair

    McCain is a feeble man heavily weighted by his own hypocrisy and ineffectualness. All he did was spend time hitting the news outlets and bully pulpit bad mouthing the president and the stimulus plan. He's the miserable neighbor who can't understand why he is never invited to the block party.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Billy

    obama will keep us losing. He never did anything as a senator and he will keep doing nothing.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Ed

    It truely amazes me that it was the Clinton administration that started this whole mess. And idiots here are blaming it on an American hero that fought for their right to publicly flame him.

    Of course, you'll never see this comment on this extremely liberal, one-sided media outlet CNN (which I will no longer watch). And I'll no longer support their advertisers.

    This country of idiots deserves everything it gets in the coming years. And don't be surprised when Dohbama isn't paying your mortage for you like you think he will be.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Jeff Boony Doon

    Tell John McCain to go back under his rock.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Tim in Atlanta

    Today's Republican Party: Like a child that has been placed in time out for poor behavior, then whines and complains instead of learning a valuable lesson.

    Your party lost FOR A REASON: the American people don't want the snake oil that you have been peddling for the last 8 years. Your ideas don't work, at least not for most real Americans who own only one house.

    Thank God your party's ideas didn't dominate this stimulus package – that would be more of the same, and that's not what we voted for.

    Please retire now while you have some semblance of a dignity left. After that Sarah Palin debacle you are definitely in short supply.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. American Soldier

    Right on Senator McCain. The Obammy worshippers are delusional. This bill is nothing but pork and special projects. Obammy is a phoney. Keep up the pressure Senator. Don't let the phoney get away with any more lies. God bless you. A true American hero.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. CP, Maryland

    Dear John:

    You lost for a reason...get it now? Loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. LLAMMA

    Anyone who says that the current mess is all Republicans fault or all Democrats fault is too biased to be listened to. Consider the mess in the states of Illinois and California. It is time to stop the name calling and vote out the incompetents of any party.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Jamie

    The fact that Congress voted along party lines isn't Obama's fault – it's their own fault. He did what he could to try to bring about a bipartisan vote but they weren't having it.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Obama and his stimulus plan are both losers. Most Americans can already see what a disaster his presidency will become.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Dave from Colorado

    I just do not understand how some states could have voted for a Republican at all. The Republicans destroyed our country in many ways and all they do now is obstruct anyone trying to fix it. Their ideology has failed but they are committed like terrorists on trying to destroy us with it. I hope we rid our country of the blight of the Republican Party further in 2010. You know how rich and powerful they are and how much they control the press so I doubt you will see this post.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Chloe

    Get out of my face, McCain. You're just like Bush.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. NotMccain

    No matter what obama does Mccain and his followers/cronies will say its the bad choice. GG Mccain for helping the problem.....

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. aargh

    CNN ASKED McCain his opinion....NOT the other way around. Those who think he gave an opinion don't seem to realize it is CNN who asked McCain to do the interview and state an opinion! Media 101 !!! A media source initiates who they want to interview. All who label McCain a sore loser or just a loser expressing an opinion must think HE initiated the interview. Might be a good idea to 'know' just how that works before commenting.

    February 15, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Erik

    When I voted for Obama, it was also a vote AGAINST John McCain and the Republicans. I did NOT vote for them to "work together." I voted for a new set of ideas, something the Republicans didn't offer.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Montana is Obama Country

    Senator McBlame ...you lost... quit being so nasty and buck up to helping Real Americans and stop being so self serving...


    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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