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. Kyle

    Obama is more like your momma

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

    You want to talk GENERATIONAL THEFT ... you Democraps?
    FINE! Let's start with Social Security and Medicare! These two socialist programs reflect tens of TRILLIONS of $$$ in Fed oblications? Do the math. Let's throw in the Vietnam War, started by JFK and escalated by LBJ, reversing JFKs attempts to withdraw. Let's talk about policies that Bill Clinton championed which forced banks to loosen their lending standards to now lend to those who were not worthy. The mortgage bubble is what started all this mess. But please, try to explain all this away.

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

    McCain, Why do you always have a negative attitude against Obama and what he is trying to do for the Country? Your party is the one that got this Country into all this trouble. Lets give Obama a chance. You are so out of it as the polls showed in the election. Why not try to help, or are you just to jealous of the other Party that America has put into power since your party failed and got us into this mess. We are suppose to put politics behind and do something to help this Country get back on its feet again. You would not understand as you are well off and can't understand what the average American has lost. You live in a different world each and every day not having to worry about your home, job, food and all the other things that have been lost to so many citizens of this country.

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. ian

    hmmm, i wonder if they hope he fails... i also love how republicans act like they haven't been in charge the last eight years.

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Crockett

    This is a bad start to his presidency... This bill has placed a trillion dollar debt on future generations in a less than a month in office....

    This bill is loaded with programs (many of which are good programs) that should have went through the normal budget process and not have been packaged with this economic package.... as Clinton economic advisors had continued to say... any stimulus should be focused and this billl is far from it ... its sad and a bad sign... the honeymoon is obviously over....

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Cheryl - CA

    McCain is making a mockery of himself – he should back down and do some inner reflection.
    All of his comments are so stereotypical of the Republican Good-ole-boy club.
    What is amazing is that he just keeps plugging that disastrous party line.
    I have lost much respect for him the more I hear him spout off.
    How about some new, innovative, fresh ideas, McCain, before you make Obama wrong?

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. LM

    These repubs are making me sick!!! As one who came from decent republican lineage, and one who sees the VAST difference between true conservativism and the horrifying selfishness going on today in the repub party, it is easy to see why most of us are ashamed to ever have been affiliated in any way with it!

    The repubs need to just disband and start all over again! For the meantime, most of us have become full-fledged Democrats and are proud to say so! We want to help this country, and we want to work together, across the aisle! Not try to block every decent thing that the Democrats try to do!

    McCain is twisting his meaning when he said that the Dems did not try to work with the current repubs. All I have heard from the repubs is more "TAX CUTS." As we have all heard time and again, and this is the TRUTH: 'THE TAX CUTS DID NOT WORK, WILL NOT WORK, AND NEVER WILL WORK!!!

    If that is the only plan the repubs can come up with, then they should not be given the decency that President Obama has tried to give them by attempting to work with them!! Just like John McCain said in such glowing words: "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." What economy is he taling about? Oh, it must be his and Cindy's little world that they have created for themselves: their 8 houses and 13 cars!!

    We need someone like that running our government as much as we need Moose blubber!

    I am sick and tired of hearing the repubs try to run this country and our new government down!

    CNN: why do you give creadance to such negativity? We thank you for trying to cover everything, however, do not go so far out on a limb as to sink our one and only lifeline and all of us along with it!

    We just ask that you give EQUAL time to both sides! And, maybe a little more positivity to President Obama's plan. I remember my parents telling me about the Great Depression and how they were rescued from the worst of it by President Roosevelt. He established confidence in the country again by GOING ON THE AIR, and giving the people hope and encouragement! That is what we need now–more faith in our government. Please don't run it down like some of the other "faux" news programs do. Thank you for so far being fair!

    Go Obama/Biden! The truly patriotic people are WITH YOU!!

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Joe citizen abroad

    This is just the beginning of the arm-chair quarterbacking. How on Earth does John McCain think these kinds of comments are constructive? He's proving daily the wisdom of the American people in denying him and Caribou Barbie the presidency. God forbid we suffer another terrorist attack. They'll surely blame that on Obama too.

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. GeorgiaPeachforObama

    John's just bitter because Obama HAS a beginning and McCain is at the end of his career. It's a shame John will be remembered as a bitter loser with a poor sense of judgement instead of what he managed to accomplish in his years of public service. It is the angry old man that will be his legacy. If only he had the good sense to be gracious and truly put country first instead of his ego.

    February 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Mark

    Really children? Name calling?
    You should be ashamed!

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. wb

    What does it matter what McBush says?

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Dave

    where the hell were you when BUsh and the Republicans were SPENDING us into this mess you old fool?

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. CBH

    Your comments made are totally out of line. YYou ran for office and lost. I believe that this is a good start for President Obama. Everyone knows that the GOP will do everything it can to disrupt anything that Obama does. You need to be concerned about your Senate seat in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Dr. Intercambio

    President Obama is not even in the first month into his presidency and this loser ("the fundaments of the economy are strong!") with all his R party keep playing little games with people's lives.

    If Mr. Obama is not right, you think, than tell him what is right, word by word. But I guess you do not have them.

    Mr McCain has a job, his R comrades have as well, very well paying jobs, actually, but 11 million of Americans don't have any jobs, with any salary.

    Do something USEFUL for the country, Mr McCain!

    Gabrial McKinsey
    Intercambio Cursos Exterior

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Jorge Rey

    Thank God John McCain was not elected. He is as deluded as W.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Torin from Georgia

    Senator McCain a/k/a Senator McGruppy is not happy with President Obama's stimulus package. He calls it generational theft. Well, don't we have a short memory. Didn't the federal deficit double during the Bush years when Republicans were in control of the White House for eight years and the Congress for six years? McGruppy voted for and supported the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq war that costs trillions of dollars. Who will pay for this? I guess McGruppy has a very short memory.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Rodney Mills

    WOW! As Obama mentioned during the Campaign, we've seen this before – the silly season. There can be no bipartisanship, when before the Motorcade can get off Penn Ave, the GOP Leadership is having a press conference on the Capitol Steps saying they are not going to agree with Obama and that they are against the Plan. It's really time for the "Liberal Media" to stop giving airtime to the very ones who castigate them.... When they are not castigating the Dems and Obama.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. GOD

    When John McCain was spending time in the Hanoi Hilton, Hussein Obama was learning the muslim ways at Indonesian grade schools... praise allah.

    I think we know who cares about America and who really cares about themselves and the new Amerika.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Stephen Brady

    A terrible interview. Although he does not say it McCain's tone suggests he feels he would have done things better. John King weak softball questions let him off the hook.

    Whiney Republicans should step aside and let the parents clean up the mess they have made.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Otto

    It's striking how Obama has been so kind as to not draw too many pointing fingers to the fact that McCain is one of the ones who voted to further deregulate Wall Street. That would be the very deregulation that caused this economic mess in the first place. I think McCain's "maverick" actions are just a projection of the guilt he feels inside regarding the fact that ta major part of this is his fault, so he is trying to divert our attention somewhere else, displacing the blame. We aren't fooled Sen. McCain, that's why you are not the President. Furthermore, you should be grateful that Obama has been so congenial in his dealings with you and hasn't called your bluff. We need a leader, not a flame throwing blame-thrower. That is why we voted for Mr. Obama.

    February 15, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    patricia campbell February 15th, 2009 12:24 pm ET

    "Sit back you Dems and see all your freedom and ability to think for yourself taken away. Just wait and see. We'll see who has the last laugh."

    I feel sorry for you, Patricia, and your like-minded republicans. For you, it's about having "the last laugh." For you, it's a competition.

    Thank God that there's a man in power who recognizes that the prosperity and security of America isn't a game.

    Patricia, I'm not laughing.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Carol

    Can McCain please stop "speaking for the people", he has no idea what we want, it was obvious during his campaign, it is obvious now. To have this man or anyone from his party speak on the success or failure of Obama's administration is ridiculous. That Obama and his team has accomplshed more in less than 30 DAYS of presidency is something they will never acknowledge. Their last president was golfing around this time, remember?

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Mike G

    Politicians always say “future generations will pay” for whatever the government expenditure is. But we are paying for all these expenditures today. As the world’s largest debtor nation our influence is diminishing. How much influence do you have with the bank that holds your mortgage? The nation will not persist with an $11 trillion deficit, and that figure grows every day.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Christian Soto

    Republicans and Democrats can blame themsleves for the disaster which awaits us. A republican President was in Power, but so too was a Democratically led house and senate. Both parties failed us. You are all lemmings who had more than two parties to choose from this past election, but did not care enough to discover true change.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. shawnee, ks

    Hey McCain, it's the Republicans mess that Obama is trying to fix. Your policy advise dosn't carry much weight.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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