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. JactT

    Actually, I think that's a good beginning. Screw the Republicans, who needs to talk to them, they've made it pretty clear that they do not want to help, and plan to obstruct in every way possible. So Obama, should forget about trying to work with them, because it's impossible.

    February 15, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    What does Senator McCain know? He couldn't even win the election. He doesn't even know how many houses he owns either.

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

    sour grapes.... plain and simple....

    You lost the American people's trust, and know they expect us to trust them?

    February 15, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Marla

    I am so glad we did not have McCain the same in office. It is so aggravating to watch the Republicans behavoir and attitude about helping this country get back on the right track. They helped drive it here but now want to do nothing to correct what they were knee deep in helping to create. It has been refreshing and a long time coming to watch Obama address the economy. I just wish Arizona would wise up and put someone in Congress that has a clue about what is going on in this Nation.

    February 15, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Peter

    I laugh when I hear a republican talk about bipartisanship.

    February 15, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. vel

    Poor McCain. Now not in th limelight, saddled with a party on the way down, he can only whine and complain that bipartisanship doesn't mean blindly accepting whatever the GOP tells you. Sen. McCain, you and your party failed. Your economic policies got us into this mess. At least be graceful and don't whine and wish President Obama to fail like your flunkies like Limbaugh.

    February 15, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Clint

    McCain is a bitter ugly old man. The Republican party will only be a foot note in history soon thanks to people like McCain, Bush, McConnell and the rest of the corporate greedy GOP pigs.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Alexander

    McCain thinks Obama is off to a bad start....WHAT ??...that's a shocker...I just can't understand why anybody would WANT our president to fail...regardless who you voted for...because it WILL happen if we attack him every time he sneezes.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. husker

    Lets have John talk about Phil Grahmn, instead of Obama. tax cuts and trickle down does not work.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |

    You are totally in denial. You whine and whimper like a girl rather than like a hero. You were sleep while Bush was ruining America. Do something constructive and retire. Save what you have left of your image, because to date you are washed up like the other GOP bullies, wimps and whiners. All the people you have named to help Obama are dumb clucks like you and ruined good companies. I would be happy to hear one smart idea to come from your mouth where we would know that 25 years of my tax dollars wasn't paid to a dumbie. You and all the whiners need to get together and donate your checks for the remaining of your terms to charity and the homeless. NOW THAT IS PUTTING YOUR MONEY IN YOUR WHINING Mouth.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Doreen Augusta Maine

    Poor old McCain, he does put a bad name to elderly. The fact that the man still believes that he is relevant is hillarious. He really should go off to one of those homes of his wife's and watch the sun set.

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

    Oh, so it's okay for the Republicans to spend us into orbit for the past 8 years giving wealthy people tax cuts but when it's time to takecare of the American people suffering from the Republicans economic stimulus of the past 8 years it isn't okay. Who are these people?

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Palin and I approve this Message

    Are you going to tell President Obama where Osama is???? You believe in bi partism

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

    There is an awful lot of people commenting on here that are in a desparate need of a blow job or something. Everyone please just take a breath and relax. Soooo much anger!

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

    Coming from a man who didn't say one word about Haliburton and Co. losing- that's right, not even spending, but LOSING 12 billion in Iraq, or Paulson's request for 300 + Billion to bailout the financial markets with ZERO oversight, calling money for schools "generational theft" just sounds like the same partisan politcal hackery that LOST you the election. Haven't you fired Steve Schmidt yet?

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. tired of it

    Tired of McCain's comments. Where's the leadership? Sitting on the sidelines and bleating about 'generational theft' after years of red ink while the Republicans were in control of both houses doesn't sound like it.

    And sending the country into political gridlock isn't a solution either.

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

    New name for the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party!

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Arthur Laroche

    Are americans so naive to be so blinded by their faith that they dare not question their new Obama god?

    I hope it won't take 2 terms for americans to wake up to reality that there's nothing profetic or godly about Obama, he's just a smart ambitious articulate polititian not the messiah who'll change the world.

    Arthur from Canada.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. Mark

    Bitter, party of one.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. richard - Minneapolis


    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Jeff

    @ Evolm
    February 15th, 2009 12:27 pm ET
    All bow before the black president. All bow before your new god.
    Only 43% of white people voted for this illegal buffoon. He's not my president.

    You sound like a White Trash Racist, who votes based upon race. I am a white too, but I voted for Barack Obama because, he is intelligent, wise and a prudent person.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Patrick

    2 words: Sore Loser.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. zoff

    hey old grey haired guy, go do as your heroe, geo bush, find a hole in texas or arizona and crawl into it......

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Ron from Peoria, AZ

    It's funny that now that Obama has made the White House come true that everyone else is ready to kick sand in John's face! Shame on all of you! When in the hell are American's going to wake up and realize that it doesn't matter who is in control, Dem's or Rep., they will always look out for thier lobbyists! I'm not defending the Senetor, I'm just speaking to the fact that American's are always ready to shout the blame at someone instead of looking at ourselves and accepting that nothing, Nothing! Will change until we change ourselves.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Amy

    Most people that responded to this missed the point. This wasn't about an election that happened 3 months ago or your feelings toward Bush. This is about the present, is BO keeping his bipartisian promises and will this bill work? As a 30 year old, I know that I will be paying for this bill for decades to come. And creating temporary jobs, instead of enabling compaines to provide careers for people is not the answer.

    February 15, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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