February 15th, 2009
11:49 AM ET
12 years ago

Stimulus bill was 'a bad beginning' for Obama, says McCain

CNN

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. pikerover

    Cut taxes!!??? With 50,000 a month losing jobs who's going to pay these "cut taxes". Also, whats to prevent corporations from taking their tax cuts and moving to some state or country that has lower taxes, wages or even "slave labor"

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. tommy tunes

    obama asked for your help. you said no. so lead follow or get out of the way.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Dan

    The vote was as bipartisan as it is going to get. The only congressmen who voted against the bill were Republicans who had to in order to stay safe in their gerrymandered districts & 10 Democrats who might as well be Republicans. The point of bipartisanship is to incorporate a wide range of ideas from both specrums and to make sure liberal & conservative districts are represented–& most conservative democrats supported this bill & 3 brave republicans. The Republicans who voted against this measure will only support legislation that was proposed by a Republican, plain & simple. Tax cuts & spending-Conservative & liberal ideas.

    February 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. mikky

    Mccain is out and gone. Who even told him he could say something when he doesn't even know what to say. We are tired of seeing you and hearing from your stupidity.

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Jim

    Every time you talk Mr. McCain, you remind the American public why you were NOT elected

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Watching Closely

    WOW! You people are amazing. Can you not make your opinion known without name calling? How old are we?

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Jon

    Numerous invitations were extended to the GOP to sit down at the table. All the Republicans could come up with was to have a $600 billion dollar tax cut.

    Come on!

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Malik

    Also it is cute that all of you are criticizing Obama for trying to push a bill through as quickly as possible, yet you have no specific suggestions as to what could be improved on it.

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Welcome to Socialist America

    This bill is awful! Shame on Obama for not excerising his promise to take a bi-paritsan approach to this "stimulus" bill. SPEND SPEND SPEND! Didn't the American consumer (not citizen) learn a lesson, but I guess Congress hasn't. Reid and Pelosi need to GO NOW!

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. nani

    Though the comments are a tad mean-spirited, they just follow the line of chatter that the GOP and McCain started and apparently plan to continue. What planet do people like "Elle" live on? Obama Kool-Aid? Obama just speaks the truth, and if you pay attention, the man's main interest is us, as in we the people and we the country: US. If the GOP thinks they're going to gain points and win in the mid-term elections, they'd best think again. All their gaining is a rep as whining malcontents who are more concerned with obstruction than anything else. They may be able to fool the Elles of the world all of the time, but the rest of us are tired of being fooled and lied to. Get with the program, McCain and crew, or see the train take off without you.

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. CNN Gains 'Site Traffic Using Senile Old Man...

    Clearly, all CNN was reaching for was PR and blog responses, because John McCain is inconsequential to American politics. Bong hits are more exciting than comments from the Maverick.

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Wanderer

    - 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 don’t understand why, up to now, McCann is still talking something like this. I wonder if the Republicans did ‘sit down in a room with competing proposals” in the last 8 years.
    - Stimulus bill was 'a bad beginning' for Obama-
    Many Americans know it could be true. It is easy to understand because Obama started as the President of the U.S. and inherited the worst of almost everything from the last dynasty. McCann could only see it was bad beginning for Obama, but could he see why it was bad beginning for Obama? Could he see where the ‘bad begining for Obama’ started?
    Not every Republican but many of them can’t see themselves, can they?

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. mk3872

    This bill is "generational theft" but not the $1.2 trillion in tax cuts that the GOP pushed for and got under Bush in 2001? What a joke. No wonder McCain lost BIG in November!!

    February 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Tino

    you say we should give illegal alians A chance I be leave you are wrong they bring nothing but trouble. I have been mexican american for 57years off my life .I have worked side by side with Ileagal alians and can tell you that they could care less about the united states ,they are here to take jobs away from american idividuals .they don,t respect are laws if they where inducted into the arm forces they would run back to mexico as fast as they could .It,s A shame that american men= women have to give up there lives, just so these people can live here in the shadows if they want to live here they need to commit to are values with sweat / tears as the rest of american mother and father do by watching there children go off to war

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. silvia

    Is not Bush or McCain or republicans guilty of the state of america's economy nor Obama will fix it i think people an their decisions are the guilt here. But sure enough americans will never recognize it and will always love to put the blame on the politics to bad i don't think the country will get in a better place until people will admit their fault

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Brian

    It's a sad state of affairs when someone who simply doesn't agree with a policy gets subjected to gross personal insults from you people. We'll never see anything get done with a bipartisan approach so long as the people electing our representatives continue to hate one another to the point of personal insults (diarrhea of the mouth) over simple ideological differences.

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Susan and Brian One

    In a time when we should be pulling together as a country, it just looks really ugly when McCain goes on national media to slam our president. I haven't heard the Republicans come up with any better ideas so they just need to shut up at this point. McCain just looks like a sore loser and one who is just thinking about himself.

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Sage of Maryland

    Please recall during Bill Clinton's Presidency, the Republicans made his life a living hell, yet he prevailed. They said similar things about his initiatives on the economy claiming that it would be disastrous. He proved them all wrong, just as Obama will.

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Observant

    McCain, I think you are still harboring bad feelings because of your loss. You already admitted that you have little or no knowledge about the economy, and you already showed that you can not multi-task. I think you should retire. I doubt very much if the voters in Arizona are going to reelect you.

    We Americans are not stupid and will not just accept whatever you say. Stay hom ein 2010

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Paul

    Doesn't any of the Democrats out there understand how much money 787 BILLION dollars is???? and the fact that we don't have the money to pay for this bill???? We have to borrow it??? Lets see...1,000 pages in this bill, that AVERAGES out to 787 MILLION dollars per page !!!!!! Thats why the Republicans can't support this bill...Don't forget that the government already has a BUDGET for the Year Thats in the RED...Please stop and think what these politicians are doing to All Americans Democratic and Republican alike,...and our chikdren and grandchildren..If you think the spending on Iraq was wrong, this spending is 10 times as bad. It's time to be very afraid!!

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Raj

    McCain, needs to keep his worn-out ideas and opinions to himself. McCain and Bush messed up this economy by waging endless war on a country just to satisfy the whims and fancies of Bushes at an enormous cost to the nation. I cannot fathom the temerity of a McCain, the loser. John Mccain needs to retire and just disappear quietly from teh scene.

    All those Republicans who voted in favor of Bush's stimulus plan are all now against Obama's stimulus plan. They are all hypocrites who want Obama and U.S. to fail just so they can get re-elected next time around. Hopefully, Democarts can pick couple more senate seats in 2010 and prevent any Republican filibuster.

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Laughing at Libs

    Look at all the liberals getting riled up. Funny.

    The Oprah produced campaign is over and their unqualified lead actor is stumbling.

    Jimmy Carter II is looking to be worse than I. LOL

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Yahbut

    To Chloe in Chatsworth, Ca.

    Do you know how much 17% of 265 million is?

    It is 45million.

    Sounds like quite a bit to me.

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. RICO

    you know, this guy for whatever reason, keeps coming back. his like the eveready bunny, give it up, please let it go!

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Pattypie

    McCain is a Bad Loser.

    February 15, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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