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. Scotty D

    Do you know how to catch wild pigs?

    You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat and you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

    Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

    The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.. While we continually lose our freedoms - just a little at a time.

    One should always remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch! Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"

    Thomas Jefferson

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. cameo35

    .......Those grapes must teaste sour for a long time!....

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Donna

    McCains economic advisor for his campaign came out yesterday on the news and said this a good plan. The Republicans are lost in their own box and rarely see the ordinary people of this nation!!!
    My goodness John King. Why are you so afraid to ask the tough questions from the Republicans. I have not heard a solution from them yet. They sound like a bunch of robots whom were told what to say! You let McCain skate. We all know he knows nothing about the economy.

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Robert

    It is generational theft, however both parties have earned enough blame to go around. Bush has his share, Clinton also. These things did not develop overnight.

    Amazing to think where this country would be if Iraq and NAFTA had never developed.

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Trish

    Of course he is going to say ... 'Obama is off to a bad start' ... a bad start ... he's just begun to clean up the mess that was presented to him on November 4!! Did we really think he would praise him for a job well done?? What a joke.

    Note to McCain ... you lost! ... get over it and and work together (defined as a team) and get us out of this mess that the (you) republicans got us into!!

    February 15, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. 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 |
  7. NeeNee

    Forget the stimulous since McCain is a Maverick ,reformer, for bi partism whatever is he going to tell President Obama where Bin Laden is, and how to get him like he promised. Or was that only if he was elected?????? Talking about Country First.

    February 15, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Joe C.

    You've got to be kidding. The republicans add five trillion (trillion!!!) to the national debt over the last 8 years and now they're critical of overspending at a time when everyone agrees the government needs to step in and fuel the economy. Truly pathetic.

    February 15, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Linda

    This bill wasn't Obama's bill. It was Pelosi's. This bill was to create jobs. There are no jobs created by giving 30 million dollars for a rat in the wetlands of Pelosi's district. There is so much pork in this bill for special interest groups, they had very little money left to create jobs. I'm sure in the near future there will need to be another bill presented to get these jobs actually going. And of course there will be another load of pork included.
    None of this is going to make a difference anyway. WE ARE IN A DEPRESSION and it will take years to get out of it.
    If Obama can't get control of his own party, we will be doomed!

    February 15, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Wendy211


    February 15, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Mike

    This crazy. Does anyone realize that most of what is happening now is because of what started in the carter administration. Continued in the Clinton Administration. I am so happy to be getting my 13 extra dollars a week in my paycheck. Go Stimulus Package! The one thing Bush did wrong was defend his country and go to war with Iraq. I am not sure that was the best idea. The rest of the economic storm that came his way started way back even before ronald.

    February 15, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. June

    As the Saying goes:

    1. Only that is Good, will Sell.

    2. Only the One Who is Tough, will Win the Race.

    3. Only who Knows the Direction, will not be Lost.

    McCain is neither Good, nor Tough and Does not Know the Direction. He will Therefore neither Sell, nor Win the Race and is already Lost..... Ha Ha Ha Ha

    CNN Please Forward all these Comments to Mr. McCain.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Craig Jones

    Is president Obama being less than Bi-Patisan?


    Are the Republican Minority being Bi-Polar ?

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. samantha

    of course mccain would say that obama had a bad beginning. he forgets that obama did include the republicans but they had nothing posititve to add to the discussion. it's kind of hard to be bipartisan when the repubs are stuck in the past

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Kevin

    I get such a laugh at all the blind sheep that reply on these boards! Obama is the savior, Obama is the truth! Try thinking for yourselves for once, instead of your hearts. McCain acknowledged that the Republicans weren't very good at bi-partisanship. He is stating that this is more of the same. Where is the "change" we were promised? I guess two wrongs make a right?

    CONGRESS got us into this mess...Reps AND Dems. So I guess the answer is spend our way out of it right? Cause the "Chosen One" says so? Grow up and think for youselves for once. Use a little intelligence instead of being a follower!

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. Tired

    Let's get real. Clinton was as guilty of this mess as the Republicans. Yes, steel was once a great industry in the U.S., until the unions destroyed it. Why isn't it cheap anymore??? Next union industry destroyer, the UAW. Greed is not monopolized by the CEO's. Obama wants to compare himself to Lincoln for some reason, but he will ultimately be compared to Hoover. This bill was a giveaway package. Spending is needed, but giveaways were not. A lot more could have been done.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Judy from PA

    Many of the bloggers here need to get their facts straight. Congress was supposed to have 48 hours to review the bill before voting on it. The Democrats wrote the bill behind closed doors, called the Repubicans at midnight and said 'here it is, read it, we are voting on it at 9 am tomorrow". That is not 48 hours, most Republicans had no time to read the bill. That is not working together. McCain is right.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Karin

    Yes Mrs. Economy, who knew what to do during the election period. You lost!

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. dave

    Funny, McCain isn't off to any beginning. Since when do the losers like McCain claim victory? Since when are winners like Obama the losers? Come John, you guys lost BIG time. Get your acts together

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. tabor

    Losers know how to talk and criticize but zero practically.
    Obama is cleaning the mess of republicans so just shut up, please.

    no more ear for you and

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Tim in Atlanta

    Let's see, we could always accuse McCain of being unpatriotic, un-American, and being "with the terrorist" for not supporting the president. After all, that's what those who criticized Bush were accused of regularly for 8 years.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. limnologym

    Dear Senator McCain: I hope that you read through all of these CNN comments and realize that most of us think that you are full of baloney. Your rhetoric sounds like pure sour grapes to me, and it emphasizes that your party looks like nothing more than a bunch of sore losers. I am glad that you lost the election, because you have absolutely no credibility either with me or with tens of millions of other patriotic (yes...proud, patriotic, faithful, flag-loving, and eager-to-serve-our-country) Americans.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. thomas

    Considering the state of the nation, inattention to critical issues, and political elitism, McCain and other Republicans appear clueless when they sound off about lack of input into the stimulus bill and then offer the same old ideas for recovery that corrupted the economy. Nobody's listening anymore.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Roy Berger

    The republicans did a very poor job of running the country during their tenure. John McCain did a very poor job of running his campaign. Why would anyone put any value in their opinions when they have proved without doubt that they know little or nothing about how things should be done.

    They had their chance, they blew. Now they should step back, be quiet and let someone else with fresh and different ideas see it they can clean up and repair the republican mess.

    Time to retire John, your ideas are as old and worn out as your are.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. BRUTIS

    Why wont this old fool just shut up and go down to Crawford, Texas with that other REPUBLICAN LOON that just left town last month, sit on the porch with Bush and suck on their Jim Beam bottles..

    His day has come and gone...He is now just a pain in the A>S>S>..

    Go get Cindy and play stink finger...............

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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