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. Bill from Florida

    It is so sad to see McCain/ GOP not support OUR government!! Why can they not all work for together!

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |

    John McCain is, as my retired military father says, a "disgrace to his military service". For me, that's enough said.

    I would trust my father's judgement over McCains anyday. John McCain WAS a respectable human being UNTIL the RIGHT WING CHRISTIAN TERRORISTS got ahold of him.


    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Anna

    To Evolm, that "illegal buffoon" is your president, so get over it. Unless you are not in the USA, he's everyone's president, whether you like it or not. He was voted in by the majority of people and he is our Commander-in-Chief!

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Emily in NJ

    Reading all these comments I am amazed!! People are finally getting it!! We are fed up with what has been done to us and our country. We have stopped believing the same old toxic and stupid mantra that John McCain and his fellow so-called "CONSERVATIVE" club have fed us for decades. YEAHHH!!! That is the first step. Now we have to demand that the media report ALL SIDES OF THE ISSUES- and from REAL EXPERT'S points of view – not the TALKING HEADS. I can't listen to John McCain or Mitt Romney any more – and I can't watch their sad sack &/or smirking faces. Just like their cheerleader Rush "Limburger" – stinky cheese – I can't stand the smell. We must work together not against each other. I thnk there is a real problem with these "LEADERS" – they have gotten away with doing NOTHING for many years and now when we need some EXPERTISE – they don't know how to do anything – so they hide – and do nothing but THROW ROCKS!! We need you guys to DO YOUR JOBS!! We demand that you earn your fat salaries and cadillac benefits. The rest of us have been earning our own way for centuries.

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. john

    sure, now republicans are the heroes. They destroyed this country.

    Obama is doing great, and I think this bill can potentially save america

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Intelligentia

    If McCain admits to committing generational theft, maybe we should indict him for theft!

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Barry Marcus

    Both parties bear responsibility for the economic mess we are now in. Don't forget that the Democrats controlled Congress from 2006 to 2008. Both parties authorized the Iraq war. Both parties consciously chose not to regulate the issuance or rating of the toxic securities that are destroying our financial system. Both parties took huge campaign contributions from these same entities that they chose not to regulate. Both parties sold their souls (and our future) for the sake of greed and self interest, and are continuing to do so with reckless abandon. Neither party will provide meaningful solutions to our national problems as long as the culture of corruption that pervades Washington is allowed to continue. Both parties game the system to perpetuate their own power and profit. The stimulus bill is merely another example. It consists of over 1000 pages of legalese. I seriously doubt that any member of Congress, or the President, actually read the bill, much less understood it. The bill, together with Congress' action last year, committed the taxpayers to a debt of several trillion dollars -- by far the greatest act of debt creation in the history of mankind - with very little thoughtful consideration or debate. Most of the money spent on last year's program was totally wasted as the decline in value of the recipient banks and auto manufacturers exceeds the taxpayer funds contributed. Both are now asking for more money, while paying their executives large salaries and bonuses and committing financial support to their Congressional benefactors. We the people need to achieve institutional changes that will maximize, and not minimize, the incentive for honest persons of integrity and good judgment to serve in Congress. Such change will never come from the vested interests whose main objective is their own power and profit. Both parties are equally infected with this virus of corruption.

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. wheezie

    So sad to hear constant whining from the R's. They are not making a point, only affirming that they most definitely are behind the times...Move on and help Americans, and not yourselves!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. dan

    I can't believe all the childish crap some of you write. Children trying to play politics. It is people like you on both sides of the fence that are preventing the country from moving forward. Stick to the facts, we are in trouble and our government isn't welling to work together to help us. If you want to slam people then slam them, but ask yourself a question, how much money have you saved and spent with concern for tomorrow.

    I think we all are getting a dose of reality.

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Casey

    McGrumpy is simply revving up for his 2012 run when he reaches 76.

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |

    John King:
    If CNN and you 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 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Marie

    Oh BE QUITE Johnny Boy. You're a sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Frank

    Is there a reason we should care what McCain has to say? Isn't this the same man that selected Governor Palin as his running mate and was quick to sell out his values and beliefs to get elected? Isn't there a reason he and many other republicans lost in this past election?????

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Linda

    Wasn't Phil Gramm John's economic advisor? THE Phil Gramm that got us into a lot of this deregulated mess? Whatever, McCain...you're an idiot.

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

    Does anyone wonder why his whiny old putz lost?

    February 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Homebrewer

    Relax, have a homebrew!

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

    I just love the way the Republicans and conservatives keep singing the same old song that got us into this mess. Tax credits and rebates are nice, but as last year's rebate has shown us, are not sustainable. In the long run creating jobs will do more to rebuild confidence in the system, rebuild the tax base and get the economy really moving. The fallacy is that the economy is totally bankrupt. There is investor money out there, but until there is stability and confidence in the system,investors will continue to stay away making things worse. There is no perfect answer, but considering the alternative, give Obama a chance. The Republicans have already proven that they are inept.

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

    I like how bipartisan has come to mean "do what your opponent tells you." I can't help but wonder how "bipartisan" ol' Johnny Mac would have been in forming this bill. Prediction? Tax cut our way out of recession and let the grand kids deal with it. An income tax refund doesn't do you a whole lot of good for people who don't have an income. I can't imagine he would ever suggest having the government actually work to 1) create jobs so 2) people can have an income so 3) they can then spend their income, and 4) SURPRISE stimulate the economy.

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

    Whatever, hater. If he'd have won, he wouldn't be doing half as well in this amount of time.

    February 15, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Just a Mom

    Please, Arizona, vote Sen. Mccain out. Look at your state – nearly 2 Billion budget shortfall, the highest unemployment rate in a decade, and Sen. McCain has voted against your interests and the nation's interest over and over again.

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

    Evolm, if he is not your president, don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on your way out of the country...

    McSame is a joke, and we will never forgive him for bringing that trailer park women into the spotlight.

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

    I am glad I read the whole article John because I was ready to scream ...BUT THE REPUBS REFUSED TO PARTICPATE....but you acknowledged that .....

    My church has committed to praying for this adminstration as God tells us to pray for our leaders.

    I, personally, think he did the best he could with what he had to work with and against.

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

    McCain should change his name to McWhiner or Mcloser because that is what that useless republican is. He still has not gotten over the fact that he got his butt kicked in the election race for president jealousy will get you or your milf partner anywhere

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


    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. BayouBlues

    If anyone is guilty of partisanship, now or in the past, it is the GOP. They have locked arms to obstruct the Dems in all ways possible under the leadership of a non-elected, flabby-minded idealogue who was flunked out of a third rate state college in his freshman year–a man with a serious oxycodone habit (inform yourself about the long term behavorial effects of this drug). The GOP was once lead by keen-minded, insightful men. Now it is comprised of legions of Jelloheads whose core values are 'self-interest', 'self-righteousness' and 'self-deception.' The American people dropped the hammer on these incompetents in the last election. Someone grab a hook and drag them off stage.

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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