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. AK

    All you McCain haters are missing the point. Even the Congressional Budget office stated it would be better to do nothing than to add trillions to the national debt. Now we have a bill to pay akin to a family with $50,000 in credit card debt going out and maxing out another $100,000 in new cards. Yes, Bush – and his Iraq war – was criminally stupid and wasteful beyond belief, whether or not Saddam Hussein had WMDs. So does North Korea...when does that invasion start? Yes, the Repubs have had chances to trumpet real change – eliminating useless Government departments like Education and Energy for example, as well as barnacles like Fannie Mae and Freddie MAc – and dithered. Until a true Libertarian movement, shorn of the tinfoil hats and "9/11 Truther" ditzness, arises, we are all in store for more of the same....from both the plague-ridden houses.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. oHIo

    This video makes me sick. Is this how the GOP intends to rebrand itself? Well just keep it up! The working men and women in the US know that the Democrats are for the working people. We are not above the filter to be recognized by the GOP. GOP is for tax relief for big corporations and the wealthy. I voted for Change, not the same tired, old politics of Bushonomics. McCain your not part of the solution and there fore part of the problem!

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. cmc

    where were ideas for the economy? oh that's right they nothing......All talk and no action. It was the same during the campaign...Obama would come out with a idea and withing 2-3 days change a few words around and bingo it is McCain's. Bottom line no idea's just more BS.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Not4MoreYears

    Shut up, you bitter misanthropic old man. Your time is past – go home.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Eric

    It is both remarkable and disgusting how vile, bitter, and vitriolic the loud-mouth liberals are as they continue to blast away at any and all Republicans. You got what you wanted, you OWN this bloated so-called "stimulus" bill that was shoved down taxpayers' throats, and all you can do is still bich about Republicans. What a detestable lot, each and every last one of you.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. arizonan for obama

    Charlie got to McCain way before Washington did.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Tori

    McCain is continuing to show his pathetic side. He is a sore loser and is using this moment to pretend he could do better, all the while ignoring the fact that it is his party that created this mess.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. John

    McCain should try keeping his trap shut, he's the picture of failure who rides the wave of his wife's money. It's the mindless republicans who have voted along party lines that shows everyone their lack of independent intellectual reasoning. The GOP has become a party of Limbaugh's, that should leave a greasy metallic taste of dirty nickel ore in Americans mouths. He's an old man, with old dusty ideas that have led Americans to loose faith, and respect for elected officials. They should all be fired without the benefits they wrote and approved for, and by themselves. What a scam...

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Donald R. Provo, UT

    Being a Republican, of course Mr. McCain is going to say things that are less favorable to President Obama, and appear to be more favorable to the Republicans. Mr. McCain is still very bitter because he lost against the President last November, so he'll say whatever he thinks will work against the President and the Democrats.

    Unfortunately, Mr. McCain hasn't learned anything at all from last years Presidential race. The Republicans are in very deep trouble right now, and will continue to slide perilously into oblivian at the rate in which their headed. President Obama is doing a fantastic job thus far and doesn't need to cowar to McCain or anyone else when it comes to properly governing this country.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Sage of Maryland

    The only Republicans who deserve any applause are Olympia Snow, Susan Collins and Arlen Spector. The rest of them can jump in a lake. To think that I voted for Robert Ehrlich for Governor of Maryland a few years ago. I have to say that I am ashamed.

    The Republican party has lost its way and needs a lifeline. Actually, President Obama attempted to throw them a lifeline with his overtures, but those idiots have hung themselves with that lifeline and the American people really see them for what they are and its not pretty.

    February 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. GOD

    When's Hussein going to fly back home to Kenya on the taxpayer's dime???

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Carrol

    McCain "Get Over it; you lost". Stay away from the microphone; you're being used just like you used Sarah Palin.

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Charles Allury

    What did you do to avoid this situation McCain? it is a resolt of the way all republican think. we are looking at you and all republican you are doing nothing to help de country. junst wait next election day

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Republicans Are Like Beauty Queens That Got Last Place, they cry...and their moms complain about the judges.

    He TRIED! Go away...just the voters demanded. We support Obama...it's gonna be a loooong haul back from the 8 yr hole the Grand Oil party put us in!! We gave him our voice, now he's speaking for us.

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. ed talusan

    Do not be a cry baby. You are too old to do such thing. My advise...help our president and be a good contributor to correct the problems that were created during the last 8 years.

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. jeff

    we can thank god mc shame didnt get elected!! I guess the only bailouts the reps belive in are for the banks and big corps. Give it up reps you lost and your 8 years are over go back to your holes and pout!!

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Whiners

    I love how you people whine so much over this. Yes.....the Bush administration started this. And now...the Obama administration is making it worse. Yeah...I can see how giving 10s of millions to the sand mice in the wetlands of San Francisco is going to give people jobs.
    Thanks for wasting my money Obama.

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. A.Sukhwani

    I don't understand this double talk. Where were these Republicans when the deficit went from 4 Trillion to 10.7 Trillion? Did they not burden the next generaions? What was the need for the Iraq war and repeatedly cutting taxes for the Rich!

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Samson

    Who cares.....get to the Real point here............this "spendulous" package will do nothing but create larger debt.........how about Obama cutting out the pork and sticking to his original promises to promote change.......He's promoted nothing but more spending!........

    Oh, wait, yeah, he's promoted democratic criminals and idiots who don't pay their taxes............yeah, that's change alright!

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Trev


    What you fail to grasp, is that Obama ran his entire campaign promising that it would not be business as usual. He promised to work closely with members of BOTH parties – and while that created great soundbites – it obviously was never his intention. He simply said what he had to in order to get elected – and now we see him making the same mistakes as every other president. Losing THREE nominations this early – including a couple for failure to pay taxes among other things – when he promised his people would be vetted more closely than those of the Bush administration is laughable. Obama is no better or worse than any other politician. He learned his dirty tricks in the dirtiest place in the US for elections – Chicago. And now, when he doesn't turn the economy around because he simply doesn't have the experience, he'll blame Bush, and ask for four MORE years. Yeah, whatever Barrack. If Obama was caucasian – he wouldn't have even had a SHOT at the White House, but now, when people call him on his early failures, people say to give him a chance. Please, treat him like ALL The other presidents – when he doesn't deliver – which he won't – call him on it. He doesn't deserve the kid gloves that the liberal media seem to give him...

    February 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Chris

    Unfortunately, a lot of democrats (I am one as well) are disappointed with this bill in many ways. I wasn't expecting something perfect, not even something near perfect. This bill is no where close to either.

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Jesse

    I've been trying to imagine how McCain/Palin would be dealing with the situation Obama is dealing with.

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Mr. No Games

    Looks like the Republicans are already getting ready for the Congressional elections in 2010. Why can't they work on trying to solve this financial crisis first then worry about playing politics later? The only reason the GOP was so against this bill is because it was initially proposed by a Democrat. November 4 should've taught the GOP that we are tired of these games!

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. nondemocrat

    After 8 years of the judicial branch, legislative branch, and major media networks being totally hosed by the liberals/democrats, then blaming Bush (or trying to blame Bush) on what the Libs/Dems actually caused, now we have to put up with this crap of Obama starting the country on a dangerous destructive socialistic path. With Hussein Obama and his twits running the House (Pelosi) and Senate (Reed) turning this country into a socialistic joke of the world, we are headed for a real eye opener. Inflation will skyrocket and the dollar will become almost worthless due to this new crap going on. Your children will have to repay a huge debt for society, controlled by the socialist government, and their freedoms will be greatly diminished. A bunch of ignorant people out there, especially on this Liberal site.

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Denise

    You have publicly admitted you don't understand the economy, so don't pretend you do now. Especially after your party got us into this with the same old policies you want to relive.

    You're making fools of yourselves and will be extinct soon. Not soon enough, but soon.

    Thank God we have a brilliant, forward-thinking President. We could be suffering under Palin/McCain – can you IMAGINE how horrendous a job they would be doing? Terrifying thought.

    Hope won. Ignorance and small-mindedness lost.

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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