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. Andy

    What a divisive little man you are John! The most patriotic thing John McCain can do for his country, if he really puts country first, is to just retire from politics and live on his wife's inheritance. You hear that Johny, just get out of politics!!! You and your kind have done enough harm to this country already...it's time to heal now.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Chuck

    Well big John now you know exactly how the American public has felt for 6 of the last 8 years. You folks did what ever you wanted to, promised us you would do this and that and didn't. Told us to give you control of the executive and the congress and you would clean up Washington. You didn't deliver and now you and your friends are on the short end of the stick.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Joseph Manniss

    John Roberts' interview this morning was amateurish to say the least. He did not ask McCain one tough question. He basically repeated the rhetoric McCain has been saying to ask a question. Give us Wolfe Blitzer. CNN can do better than this.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. John

    I agree. I live in Az. Mcain needs to clean up Pima County Arizona a true hotbed of corruption for illegal and fraudulent foreclosures agianst the elderly-R.E. Ponzi schemes and Pima County Court System involved. No Bail Out for Pima County until Fed Govt. can audit!

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. New York Platinum

    I wish they would stop letting people comment on their stories here, just to make you feel like you have some sort of influence, when 99% of you are uninformed and think you know whats going on in this country, but are in fact oblivious to the way things really are.

    Learn to spell and use there, their and theyre properly and then comment.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. JOHN

    Thanks for bringing jobs to illegal immigrants Obama!! Maybe we should extend welfare to all of them too for a lifetime-oh wait they do that already! I know maybe we can just open up the borders of Mexico and all live happily ever after. We can change our languange and change our flag-endless possibilitis-again thanks Mr. President

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. REG in AZ

    It is a shame but true, McCain talks out of both sides of his mouth and is strictly political. Take bipartisanship, where he and Obama met early on at Obama's invitation to discuss cooperation, where Obama reached out to the Republicans on several occasions (McCain admits this but says he should have done it differently), where Obama even went to Democratic leaders to get them to make concessions to the Republicans and then that McCain has said he wants to help the new president. The Republicans sound more and more like sore and vindictive losers, who have now become obstructionists.

    February 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. William

    How about some commentary on content instead of just cheap shots at McCain. Is everyone so bitter and blinded that all they can do is snipe? Here are the real questions:

    Does anyone think that spending billions on just about everything will create permanent jobs?

    Does anyone think that letting markets clear will solve problems faster and get us back on track faster? (I do)

    How about we stop talking Republicans and Democrats and start talking POLICY.

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

    Both parties really don't know what they're doing. Republicans are against the stimulus b/c their states are not getting the money. The Democrats are for the stimulus b/c they're kids who just meet Santa Clause, I want everything.
    I think they all need to represent. Do what you're elected to do. Stop whining and stop wasteful spending. America is going down b/c of these representatives, who are not representing the people, they are representing their own pockets.

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

    If CNN continue to waste our time listening to losers like McCain, I am going to switch. It is time for a real change. Do a real job like address the rising cost of food and medicine. Show America a solution to the domination of China products in America and what really America can do at home to place a end to this without causing a diplomat crisis. You are not working to our future; you are promoting an evil and destructive past.
    It is time that you hear from the people. Go and ask McCain voters who are homeless now WHAT do they think about McCain and that will be the show.

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

    You have to be kidding me. And what would Mr.McCain do? Where was his advice when W. was in office? I just watched W., the movie; where was McCain's part? Don't forget that he was the only one who agreed to more troops, more killing and thought everything was allright. WOW is all I can say.

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

    You have to be kidding me. And what would Mr.McCain do? Where was his advice when W. was in office? I just watched W., the movie; where was McCain's part? Don't forget that he was the only one who agreed to more troops, more killing and thought everything was allright. WOW is all I can say.

    February 15, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. a good read

    Wheres your buddy,Phil "the Drill" Gramm,what a moron he is.John maybe you should help the president catch Osama bin ladin,like you said you could,remember?

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

    Sheep you people are just sheep, try thinking for youself. Open your eye and see the real problem with this country. Watch Fox News and you may see both sides and think for yourself. Sheep

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

    We need more tax breaks for rich people and ceo's!

    February 15, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Dennis M. Fill

    Hey, McCain
    Don't you understand anything? YOU LOST! Why can't you man-up and shut up. I am sick to death of reading about your meely mouth – cry baby opinions about anything, You always made me sick with your smug, right wing, conservative attitudes, baring no relationshiip to reality. This economic situation didn't just POP OUT of nowhere.
    Bush, the absolute worst president of my lifetime, should have taken steps to correct our situation a long time ago. So please= keep your mouth shut and go about your work as any proper, man deserving of respect should, Or better yet: draw a bath and ...

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

    Wow, Evolm, you are a very racist individual. It must suck to go through life being such an ignorant buffoon. I feel sorry for you.

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

    x

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

    John McCain – Repeat after me "THE FUNDAMENTS OF THE ECONOMY ARE STRONG".

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

    THE PERSON WHO SAYS IT CANNOT BE DONE SHOULD NOT INTERRUPT THE PERSON DOING IT". - Chinese Proverb

    February 15, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. KIM D BANNON

    It's time for Republicans to put up or shut up. They all are flapping their gums but they have no solutions only complaints. They had their chance and gave our future away to Iraq and their buddies on Wall Street. The average American is now educated and informed. We won't get fooled again. Tax cuts do not help those of us who are struggling every day. They only help the rich get richer on our backs. The famous trickle-down economics is like water running into the desert. It all evaporates before it hits us. New ideas are needed and the GOP has none.

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

    McCain was an idiot when I lived in Arizona. His wife comes off as frigid, hardly in touch with the common man. It was a total shock to me that the Republicans nominated him to be their preseidential candidate. Comparing the Obamas to the McCains side by side was a fascinating look at generational differences. McCain's campaign was always complaining about all the media love and attention that Obama was getting, yet it seemed whenever I turned on the T.V., it was always McCain trying to be a comedian that I saw on David Letterman and Sarah Palin taking a misdirected turn on Saturday Night Live. People want to elect true individuals and politicans to office, not comic wannabees. In the end, McCain lost. He, and Palin, should fade into obscurity where they belong. McCain is through. He will never have another chance at the Presidency and he is a lame duck senator. Go home McCain, you are an expert on nothing and these media exhibitions are pathetic.

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

    Shame on McCain. He ran a dirty, racist campaign, he got his butt whipped, he tried to act like he was going to support Obama, and now, he's back to being a hypocrite, a Republican and a whiner. McCain and his kind ARE the reason were in the situation we're in. But of course, he can't help the President. He's John McCain. The war hero.

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

    I think John McCain is making a good point. He was obviously going to have to make some comment on his campaign opponent's start and I believe that President Obama has done some great things for this country like shutting down Gitmo and Abu Ghraib facilities. However, these flaws coming up in his cabinet members are unnecessary. Why should someone who can't even pay their taxes on time get to make decisions for our country when so many other Americans can and do pay their due to the nation. I supported Obama during the election and I don't think Sen. John McCain would have closed down the prisons, but outside of this, President Obama's administration is off to a rocky start.

    February 15, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Dakota, Lake Stevens, WA

    Hmmm...

    At this point in his life, ANYTHING that Senator McCain says is sour grapes.

    By the way John, regarding the stimulus bill, why didn't you insist on having something meaningful that would help people who have limited income and do not have taxable income?

    People like many social security recipients, and disabled veterans. For most of them, a tax credit means nothing.

    Also, you demonstrated a lack of common sense when you picked a doofus for VP.

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