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. TerryC

    President Obama can only do what he has controlled over and that's himself. He's reached out for bipartisanship the GOP had a meeting before mtg with P.Obama that they weren't going to vote for his bills.These grown men should get over themselves and give us the American what we want and that is to support the President.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Dan

    I respect McCain a great deal. However, he is completely wrong about the job performance of our President. Barack Obama is facing a multitude of issues that the Republicans and world events have parked at his door step on day 1. How well would McCain be doing right now with the economic crisis? Makes me even more thankful that we have Obama in office.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Ed

    Oh McCain, please.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. KimOwe

    Spoken like someone who consistently stated that there was nothing wrong with the economy to begin with. Why would we expect him to support a preliminary plan that will work to help the common American?

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. MBFLA

    If President Obama fails, because of the party partisanship of the Republicans, then our whole country is going to fail. Is that what you want?

    You guys broke it, now get out of the way and let Obama fix it, if that is even possible.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Paul

    With the Dow falling 1500 points since Obama won the election, I'd like to ask, "Does that show the American public with his choice of Geithner, who is now being second guessed by all the liberals on MSNBC and CNBC. To hear them say that Geithner so far has done nothing to restore confidence in stabilizing the markets. What we all need is "Leadership" not just by Obama, but by the Clinton leftovers. Change? What change? God help us!

    Paul in Arizona

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. tom

    Look at how you all talk to older people. And you are the future of this country. If you have something to say maybe say it in a different way. Thats something new be nice. I don't know if anyone one can be nice to fellow americans anymore. Maybe we should look back to the 50's. Thay knew how to speak to others even if they did not ageree.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Malik

    Anyone who has seen a congressional legislative process before should know that more time delegating does NOT equal a more productive/efficient bill. Just more time for all sorts of pork to fill in.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. kenneth spradlin

    Why does CNN invite the Repubs on these show and surrender the mic to them? They can make any unsupported allegations with never
    a word to question their remarks. Where are the Dems and their side
    of these stories?
    Bipartisonship is another word for one party dictatorship. Force the Repubs to Filibuster. Not just threaten! Let the public see the hipocrasy!!!!

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. D.Tin

    What planet or realm of reality is McCain in !!??. It did not matter what the President did he was not going to get any bipartisan support from the republicans. You can just see the look of distain and hate in their eyes and on their faces whenever they meet with him. They have not gotten over the fact that he beat them in the election and beat them good! Going forward has their "pain" LOL heals they will start thinking of the american people and not themselves. John McCain needs to just shut up and start listening to the people of his state and not his fellow repubs in Washington.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Larry

    Jen- While Republicans bear their share of the blame, the current size of government and the bloated deficits we have accumulated over the past generation are hardly the fault of Republicans alone. That is simply a silly notion. Democrats- who have controlled Congress since 2002(?) – have consistently lead the charge for increasing the size of govenment. It is they who want a people beholden to their poltical masters. Unfortunately, Republicans fail to consistently present an alternative.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Andrew M

    It's going to take a little more than a month to fix the disaster that chimp Bush and his gang of self-serving degenerates put us into. McCain, go home to Arizona and retire already.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. white plains mark

    it's McNasty to the end. he couldn't have the White House, so he'll muddy the waters from the sidelines. typical Republican behavior.

    February 15, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Tim

    Wow... just because someone does not agree with the new administration you guys all go nuts. Are people no longer allow to disagree with policies. . have you read this package. My guess is not. How bout instead of complaining about McCain you go out and find something useful to do with your lives. Maybe form your own opinions on something. maybe learn to think critically. all are good suggestions try it.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Aaron

    A good man but this shows why McCain would have made a terrible president. Doesn't understand the issues.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. JOB


    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Art

    Senator Puddles quoting Michelle Malkin? The rabid right is out of touch with the American people and the voters sent them a clear message. President Obama doesn't need the obstructionists, make them committee in the basement .

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Ben

    Listen carefully;

    Republicans are filth pigs of the international bankers. Whatever good used to be in that party is now subservient to the interests of the rich elite in the next fiscal quarter. They only pretend to champion "Family Values" or whatever to get the few votes they didn't steal.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Ange O

    Coming from the man who bankrupted his campaign. Please, McCain, just shut up! You have no credibility anymore.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. TLT

    Oh Lord he makes me laugh...

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Bam

    Why did Obama and the Democrats have to waste our money when we are already in hard times by going on a retreat to Williamsburg. Isn't Washington big enough and fancy enough. This cost Thousands of dollars. I guess Obama and the democrats try to keep up with the Rich Hollywood celebs--These are the liberals that put them into office. By the way-Is the racist Bill Clinton still in the country–Haven't seen him lately.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. JDS

    Face it.......NOTHING Obama has done has been good, and nothing he will do will be good. The man is doomed to failure because he has no clue what he's doing. He likes looking good on TV, trying to use "big words" to impress (anybody can talk) and using the White House to throw cocktail parties. An ERROR of change indeed.......... A sad, sad time for America, and quite possibly the END of America.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Mark

    Get off my lawn!

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. americans are dumb

    Is the paid democratic PAC flooding this board with bipartisan blame?
    The posters want the world to think that blaming Bush is an economic policy. To the guy who said that Americans should get more involved in politics, why? We can't fight the wolf pack mentality that believes that any one political party is the center for values and ethics. Obama voted "present" many times. That wasn't pragmatic enough to kill bad "republican" policies. Ughhh....our Congress is a joke. 9% approval ratings and they all get reelected. Nobody fought Halliburton on gouging the taxpayers and stiffing the troops. Nobody here spoke about what's in the stimulus. Americans didn't demand transparancy on the garbage bailout. AMERICANS ARE DUMB, you can't argue with them and we collectively get the government we deserve.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. kj from west palm


    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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