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. Richard

    McCain should stop being a sore loser. We already decided we did not like his, or the Republican ideas. He is no longer relevant to the discussion about how best to proceed, since he and his cohorts were the cause of the problems we now face.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Why are you censoring me?

    Sen. McCain, the Palin-Picker, your words carry as much weight as a sheet of cheap tissue.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Joe

    McCain Is right, and I am a democrat

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. eileen

    Who cares what Mr.McCain thinks? The man having lost the election resoundly, promised to help our new President. Seems all he has done since the inauguration is try to get his name back in the headlines, with derogatory comments. Sour grapes, perhaps? I haven't heard the Republicans come up with a plan any better, and their kind of thinking is what got us all in this mess in the first place.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Ted

    "Comments are moderated by CNN, in accordance with the CNN Comment Policy, and may not appear on this blog until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted."

    That means all comments are censored. And if they don't comport to the political views of CNN in general, they will not get published.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Truth

    McCain if you will not stray from the principles that placed us in this mess, then why negotiate anything with you. You lost and we are in this economic turmoil because of those principles. A great leader knows how to adjust to the environment and this is why you and your party lost the election.

    If I hire someone to run my company when it needs new direction and leadership, then why would I hire someone that believes in those same principles. This is my arguement for people who blame Clinton. Clinton's policies worked for what he had. Requesting lenders sell to lower income citizens is not a far stretch when you are financially stable. Negotiating NAFTA treaties is not bad when so many companies are successful and the financial structure is stable. Once you start spending money and taking a savings into a debt then you should adjust your principles to accomodate the situation.

    McCain you and your party are the failures of the American people...

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Steve

    Thank god McCain didn't win the election.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Give me a break!

    They had plenty of opportunities to "sit down and discuss" a bipartisian option...but they had nothing to offer. I hope the people from Arizona wake up and send this man and his Barbie wife into retirement in 2010. We need new, fresh, young ideas in Washington! And...I'm a Republican who voted for President Obama.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Obama 2012

    And, who cares what he thinks..."that one" loss the election because of bad decisions!!

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. alex

    Sorry John, you lost. Stop being political and do something to help the American people. The stone is rolling down hill on the people and you and your boys just want to talk, posture, criticize and play games. I'm flabbergasted with your lack of leadership for your party.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. sue calgary

    How many trillions of dollars in deficit did Bush leave the future generations of Americans? Take your time McCain and wrap your head around that!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. David

    McCain is an example of what continues to tear this country apart. Bipartisan sniping is the same old rhetoric that doesn't help the country move ahead. Let us not forget that the seeds for the "huge deficit" were planted under the Bush administration with the war funding and the Bank bailouts which have proven to have the same effect as taking a match to $700 billion and watching it burn. Please, Senator McCain, you lost the race. Now, stop your sobbing and start working together for the benefit of this country and its future generations.

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. clint

    once again: very sore loser. .

    February 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Ken Sawyer

    I think it is a good thing because the Democrats proved they can spread the pork. Should change their party logo to a porker. Shame to use a fine animal like a mule who has done so much for this country and never has drawn a nickel of welfare. Now things will change because all of this mess was contrived before the election to get control of the government. Same rich bastards will have the money anyhow in five years. Nothing ever changes.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Sari

    It is interesting to hear republicans complain about the deficit and how future generation has to pay for it... how about the deficit accrued under Bush administratoin.. all the billions that went to Iraq etc!!

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. Andrew

    I voted for President Obama but I think old Mac is accurate this time. Hopefully Obama won't allow Pelosi and Reid to hijack his major bills in the future.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. nurse85

    John McCain lost the election! His remarks sound like "sour grapes" to me. He needs to keep his mouth shut and give the new administration a chance to succeed.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Roscoe Chait

    Sour grapes, old man. All McCain ever does is whine and complain.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. SE

    John is just showing that he really is a spiteful loser. Given the vast debt that our children have inherited from the last 8 years of republican rule he is nothing but a hypocrite. His support of a failed Iraq policy that has cost more than the stimulus ever will seems to be forgotten. The republicans offered up nothing more than the same old less tax mantra that they always do. However, without reasonable taxes how the hell does any country pay for things. American taxes are pretty reasonable as they now are.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. aj

    Aside from tax cuts, which are in the bill, what other ideas did he or any other republican have that was rejected from the bill? Can anyone answer that question for me.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Max

    Sarah Palin was 'a poor choice' for McCain, says everyone out there on Earth

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Virginia Fey

    And whose fault is that– why our so delightfully cooperative and unity seeking GOP. Obama works with them to create a stimulus plan that would work for both parties AND for the public– and then the GOP screws him by not voting for anything– except for those three moderate Republicans who seem to at least be a bit tracked in on what the PEOPLE want and need. Honestly– I think it is clear to everyone that the GOP are out to undermine Obama totally, as Rush Limbaugh so clearly stated, they "want him to fail." I think they think that will make them, the GOP, look good, or at least less like incompetents and blood-sucking, corrupt fat cats. AND the GOP doesn't really care at all if they bring down the American people, nation and world in this process. For me– I beg you, someone tell this a__hole to shut up and sit down.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Brian

    Who cares what John McCain thinks.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. No more comment

    Tired of him, glad he's not my president.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. "Lost his Bearings"

    For a party that has unilaterally established foreign policy, tax policy, and domestic security party for the last eight years spending trillions of dollars haphazardly in the process this is laughable. Hey remember Johnny boy the "fundamentals of our economy are strong" right? Maybe Mr.McCain should spend more time getting out of his "Mental Recession" and realize that you don't share the water hose with the person who set your house on fire. Absolutely Absurd!

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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