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. grandconserve

    How disengenuous of this silly old man. He too hopes that Obama will fail. I canot believe I used to support this gang of idealogues who put their ideology first at any cost to their country. We did it their way from 1994,and we have steadily lost our way since then with K-street and the constant beat of government encouraged ideological propaganda on our airwaves enabing a catastrophe to our nation.

    We need to review the "protectionist" label. It is protectionism to have tariffs and duties on imports, but it is treason to outsource our factories and jobs to an oppressive Communist regime.

    February 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. william Samuels

    You lost the election when your solution to the economic depression
    was to "fire Christopher Cox and appoint a commission"

    If the project is so wasteful will you and Sen. Kyl refuse to accept
    the money from the stimulus slated for the State of Arizona in order to save funds? The Arizona Republic is already calculating your share in its newspaper.

    Bill Samuels

    February 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. egon

    who gives a flying f what McSame thinks!?

    February 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Chris

    Now the Republicans care about being fiscally responsible???

    Not really! They're just pretending to care, trying to score points with their party faithful.

    Two points on this:
    i. Republican supporters believe that anything Democrats do is wrong no matter how right, and that anything Republicans do is right no matter how wrong! Conclusion: Republicans don't have to work so hard at pretending they're outraged by the stimulus package.

    ii. Republicans supported true waste of taxpayers money with the war in Iraq and tax breaks to the wealthiest. Conclusion: Their pretended outrage at a stimulus package costing $787B rings hollow next to their extravangances that got us in this mess in the first place. Rein her in lads and gals.

    February 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Joshua Stone

    I'm a republican myself: And let me just get this out there.

    There is a reason I didn't vote for John McCain.

    The republican party really needs to look in the mirror before pointing fingers. It was a Republican president – as well as a backing of the Republican party – that set us on this course in the first place.

    On top of this, who is McCain to speak on the current financial crisis? As has been stated, McCain himself even stated that the topic of the current situation of the economy isn't his strong point.

    Obviously, being hypocritical and and non-willing to co-operate is.

    It is going to take time people – while I'm opposed to certain things in the stimulus, I'm open minded to see how all this pans out.

    February 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. STLouisGal

    Bitter loser. He won't praise anything President Obama does. Funny that we could go further in debt to pay for a needless war and tax breaks for his rich friends but we can't afford to stimulate the economy. This is why you lost, Johnny! You just don't get it.

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. jack buckley

    McCain's an idiot. He still does not get the mgse., you lost, you never had an original idea in your life. How can u criticize something you don't understand ? Do us all a favor and retire, get out of the lime light because everytime you open your mouth you sound the fool. Your good days are far, far behind you. Jack B.

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. Sandy

    Why put this loser on. He does not get it. People are tired of the eight years of giving to the fat cats. Whine all you want McCain. People are turned off to all the BS from your party. Obama won...get over it. You guys had your chance and failed.

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Demcontrolisadisaster

    Clueless democrats ignore the central theme of McCain's message was REDUCE GOVT SPENDING! He's acknowledged many times the Republicans failed to abide by that in 2001-2008. But every time Obama panders about "failed policies of the past" he omits that Republicans were following the Democratic playbook : spend, spend, more govt, more govt. THAT is the failure of the past 8 years. And now this current crop of moronic democrats back in power are delivering it like only they can. That's just more of the same, not 'change' anyone can believe in. McCain's message of reducing govt spending, cutting taxes, and focusing any "bailout" on a narrow scope of bad mortgages is what the country needed, and if you think that's what the Democratic spendulus plan will provide, you've been hanging out with Michael Phelps in SC. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelose, Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and Pat Leahy in charge? Cue up the next unmitigated disaster and get ready for "change" in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Kimberley

    Shame on you John, after you went to that dinner Barack hosted for you. Looks like sour grapes served on a partisan plate.

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Donald Perritt

    Betty, you need to do a little more research before making foolish comments. What did Bush or McCain have to do with Iceland failing, several banks in England going under, high unemployment in France? And what are you doing to help? Remember what JFK stated, "Ask not what the country can do for you, BUT what you can do for the country."

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. grandconserve

    Plus, John King is the twit who thought McCain won all the debates. LOLLLL.CNN don't insult us by putting this ideologue on the airwaves.

    February 15, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Hmmmm... but I thought the economy was not your "strong suit." Why don't you let the educated folks figure out how to get us out of this mess. Would you and Sarah Palin???? have had better ideas?

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Jim

    John McCain is a bitter old man with no relevance. He can whine all he wants, but will never be a voice I or any other person who looks forward cares to hear.

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

    Take some antacids, some blood pressure meds, and call–er, don't call us, ever! If we wanted crap from you, we'd have voted you in or at least squeezed your head.

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. ike

    Is this the guy that said he does'nt know much about economics?....I guess then we would be in worst shape if he had won...what a loser!!

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Patricia

    This idiot "suspended" his presidential campaign to go fix the economy just days after he said the economy was fine. If he were so darn capable then he would have immediately presented a viable plan to the American people instead of spreading fear and hate in his campaign. Shut your mouth and go retire already you old, jealous fart.

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Linda

    Most of the comments I have read here are the exact example of why our country is in the shape it's in. Most of these comments are very partisan. How can we expect Congress and Pres. Obama to be bipartisan if none of the constituents are?
    Each side makes mistakes and both are greedy for power, etc. Just remember, we are they and they are us!

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. inpong

    Democratic Party intended to let the Government run the country.just like the communist and socialist French gov.....And they're for higher taxes for the rich ,whom created Jobs!!!!!!!!!! no wonder most of the big companies move out of the country...If you voted for Obama and the rest of the democrats, the good old America is going down the drain...........period!!!!!!! P.S. Go Johnny Go Go.....McCain

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Steve

    What gets me is you people making comments here are idiots. You seem to think that somehow its OK for Obama to do something just because Bush did it too.

    Two wrongs do not make a right. Bailing out idiots who flushed our financial system down the toilet isn't better or worse than blowing 800 billion dollars THAT WE DON'T HAVE on expanding welfare, pet pork projects, and paying off ACORN.

    The only good thing I can say about Bush and Obama's insane economics policies is this:

    At least its accelerating the demise of our economy and the nation as whole, while a good portion of us are prepared to deal with it and rebuild it.

    February 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    when McCain has to start selling his houses (was it 8?), then I will know that bipartisanship really exists, till then, it still looks like the repubs are fat.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Kathy

    Bush wanted something very similar. And if this is what we need to get out of the recession so be it. He may be off to a bad beginning trying to clean up a giant mess. But McCain is off to a very ungraceful departure and Obama has time to turn this around.

    I support my President to do what is needed to get this country back on its feet

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Cal Atty

    McCain's irrelevance is matched only by his envy. The only thing he's doing is promoting precisely the kind of partisan politics Obama is trying to end.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Robert

    If so many people weren't living in desperate times, this could be funny. I didn't vote for President Obama but give the man a break: It hasn't even been four weeks since he took office. Why doesn't McCain and the others at least pretend that they care more about the American people than their lust for power and control.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. B

    80% of the people drink way too much kool-aid, stop the name calling and try to act like rational people

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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