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. bob

    Perhaps McCain and the Republicans should learn to use the internet and look at http://zfacts.com/p/318.html – sure looks to me that "generational genocide" rests with the Republicans – if these figures are wrong – what are the correct figures?

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Rob

    All you closet Democrats should just keep quiet. Go to school and get yourself educated so when the Republicans speak you will know what the heck we are talking about. Quit your crying about McCain and shut the heck up. Stupid is what stupid does. The Democratic party is just a bunch of Forest Gumps ! Mandate? barley won 51% of the popular vote. WAKE UP !

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Ian

    Maverick? I don't think so. I laugh at how the Republicans all fall in anti-democrat line regarding a "stimulus bill"... Like we, the people, will not remember that they just did the same thing 3 months ago, but with a much publicized addition of $140Billion in pork. This "our bill was better than your bill" schoolyard poppycock will be the final straw in our economy. Clearly Partisanship will continue for the KarlRovian party of "neo-cons" that used to be republicans.
    Divided we Fall, you idiots! read your history.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. alben

    Republican would not ever work for a compromise. Right now, they only care about partisam advantages. They are proving themselves to be people who only care about partisanship and not the good of this Republic.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. bev

    Sounds like Republican "sour grapes" that we've been hearing over and over since the election. Senator McCain, REFLECT!. Reflect over the last 8 years.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Mark in Arizona

    Mr. McCain, You are OUT in the next election cycle here in AZ, time for an early retirement for you. oh, wait, not so early.

    McCain, another "cut tax and spend" conservative.

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. James

    I wonder how many "Bridges to Nowhere" the Dems can build with all the worthless spending measures they have thrown into this Stimulus package?? Try thinking before you speak. We don't need a bunch of so called "experts" out there complaining but offering no solutions. That's pretty typical though, isn't it?

    February 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Pork Grinder

    McCain...McCain I guess you still haven't figured out that you can't put lipstick on a pig and call it something else...just as you can't put a head on a McCain and think it will have a brain. Get over your jealousy and move on with what's happening in today's society. Any one that would pick silly Sarah from Wasila as a running mate don't have too much to say as for what's going on in today's world.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Joan

    Remember..."Change" is what the American people wanted!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Jasper

    Chris Dodd 2012!

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Bruce Hendrickson

    The problem with the Republicans is they do not understand that tax cuts and credits for their friends and benefactors got the US into this economic mess to begin with. As regards bi-partisanship, the Republican idea of compromise is to do everything there way or not all.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. JWheeler

    When did Republicans (when they were in power) ever listen to - nevermind negotiate - legislation with Democrats. How hypocritical of McCain to make this criticism now. Republicans have no shame. They will say anything even if it's false and harmful as long as it fits their party-line and slams Democrats. What a gang of liars!!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. bmanini

    and this is the man who thought we could afford 100 more years in an Iraq war... can anyone hear the violins? i sure can.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Chris

    But picking Palin was a great start.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. rgmwdc

    Funny how McCain and the republican party have no worries about the trillions wasted on the Iraq war. Oh wait a minute they told us the Iraq war would cost no more than a few billion dollars. Nor did they have any problem with the unprecedented and foolish notion of cutting taxes for millionaires while our nation is at war. John McCain's words are worth nothing after the slimy presidential campaign he ran and the lack of leadership his party has demonstrated. We have seen first hand what eight years of republican doctrine has given us – an economy in shambles.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. Dottie

    I regret I stumbled across this story where the readers are as stupid as this wonderful stimulas package that is going to leave huge deficit on future generations....

    Give me a break... First of all do you people think John McCain reads your smart a$$ comments? NO HE DOESN"T

    Do you think he isn't aware he didn't win the election??? YOU ARE WRONG....

    So who are you talking to on here besides yourself... no one.... get a life and realize someone besides your Messiah has an opinion here -even though with the Messiah in office those opinions do not count!!!

    And remember....56 million of us did NOT VOTE for the Messiah and are very concerned by this irresponsible spending....

    I am going to enjoy watching your Messiah fall on his face and screw you over.... at least you will stop pointing fingers where they don't belong!

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Todd

    Go away McCain! You're just mad because the military industrial complex wasn't a big winner in this big. Time for you to retire and start hanging out at the VFW like other men your age.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. shootingmans

    I used to have a lot of respect for McCain and the Republican Party in general. No more. Their idea of bipartisanship was to tell any republicans that supported the stimulus package that the party would back a new candadites in upcoming primeries. At a time when this country needs stong leadership from its goverment, this is what we get- silly childish behavior. Go away McCain, and take your bs attitude with you.

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Carolyn Jones

    This from the group who put the country in the current position; they do not have any logical ideas, or anything constructive to say or contribute to the recovery of our country; the republicans are the Only Problem our President Has; they have come out Looking, Sounding and Being Total Idiots!! The Republicans Need to Re-organize – I would suggest they start with IQ Test from potential bodies who have graduated from college instead of from "who you know"

    February 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. vinny

    these posts are ridiculous. Obama backers...can anyone disagree with King Obama? Do yourself a favor:
    Read the bill and see how ridiculous this is and how it's anything but a stimulus bill. Why not analyze more? Why not debate more? It's a joke.

    For those who say "tax cuts didn't work"....so spending 800 billion on temporary gimmicks and inflated government will help?? Wake up lefties. Obama is everything that he says he wouldn't be.

    February 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Dr Gunter

    you sided with bush every step of the way, until 3 months before the election when your boat started taking on water. and palin what the heck was that all about, BIG mistake on your part and you think you could have done better, DONT THINK SO, thank God you did not remind us how you were a p.o.w again

    February 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Tom

    Yes John is bitter, you are all right on that point. You however must get beyond that and look at the point he is poorly making. That is that a true bipartinship is needed. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans were willing to make that happen. My disappoint in President Obama is that he chastised only the Republicans and not the Democratic leadership that was bent on bloating the stimulus bill. President Obama need to rise above the bikering that has occurred on BOTH side of the aisle and push both of them to bipartisanship.

    Also, when will America realize that the Republicans have NOT been in charge of Washington for the last 8 years. The Democrats were in charge for the last 2. Bottom line, we elected President Obama for hope and change in Washington. That means ALL of Washington changing, Democrats and Republicans alike.

    I truly wish the President success in this matter or the same problems will be coming out of our government as has been for many years.

    February 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. klausYCPA

    Hey John,
    You and your buddies have lost. Let's face it. Grab your friends by your hands, pull the lower lip over your faces and swallow. One less problem. The American People needed a change for the good.

    February 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Scott

    McCain is such an a__! He lost the election – move on and get out of the way. McCain, while he never had my vote, had my respect in the 2000 election. McCain has become a joke, someone who sold out his "service" to our country as just another plank in his advertising campaign to become president. The goal in fighting a war is to win and not get killed (or captured). McCain fought in a war that was lost and he got caught. McCain's "judgment" has shown itself for what it is – misguided and at times almost senile. McCain screwed up in the 80's with the banking mess, many of his legislative efforts have fallen apart and never left the runway. Move on McCain – no one is listening to you. Your party does not listen to you, the American people do not.

    February 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Thorpe

    This is why voters actually moved away from him in the fall. He is a mean spirited, disingenuous and bitter man. We all want to move far away from the old ways of McCain and the Republicans, and I used to vote Republican. I am sick of all of them and these childish tactics will backfire on them in 2010!

    February 15, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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