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. Joe

    The Republicans seem to think that Bipartisan means "Let us losers tell you winners how to do things or we'll pout and stamp our feet."

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. gt

    This Rep, don't get it. Now I admire and respect Sen. Mc personally, however, I have to admit that his idea is exactly the same with Bush. I just want remind American people that, We spent trillion dollar for Iraq ware so why it is this bad idea to spend money for alternative energy, and other for good of our country, people are hurting and need jobs, so I say to the Rep please don't be the party of NO.
    thanks

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    “We are committing generational theft,” McCain said. “We are laying a huge deficit on future generations of Americans.”

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    your all FOS. ...Look at your insipped

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Mark Baird

    Republicans have had the power for the past two decades in one form or another (congress, white house, media, etc.). They have all worshiped the free market GOD. The market was deregulated in both the Clinton and Bush years and the Republican congress had nothing to say about it. The government did not force the securization of mortgages. The government did not invent the new financial instruments on the market in the 90's. No one forced investors to invest in risky financial instruments.

    We all worshipped the market GOD. And, now, Republicans and other market gos worshippers are telling us we should continue listen to them, McCain being one of them.

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Dayahka

    So where was McCain when George was ransacking the country? And when did McCain acquire this bipartisanship idea? Certainly he had none of it during George's term, and not during the campaign, and now while his party acts like a bunch of spoiled brats–and he's one of them–he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. What a creep!

    February 15, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. mark

    Jenny,
    How can you blame President Obama for individuals cheating on their taxes? You sound just as lame as the republican party. It wasnt him who cheated on his taxes, nor is he responsible for this whole financial mess. Thank God the republicans are not in power, all they believe in is war and cutting taxes, no solutions for the crisis they created. McCain and his republican friends have plenty of worthless dollars, they are just bad actors when it comes to what solutions they would bring to the table.

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

    WE THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING CONGRESS. YOU DO NOT VOTE; WE DO NOT VOTE FOR YOU. START SHOWING US THAT YOU ARE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE AND NOT JUST FOR YOUR PARTY.

    February 15, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Victoria Amoroso

    John McCain is a sore loser and just doesn't get it. Maybe he can forfeit some of his homes to those who are losing their homes in foreclosures due to job lossess...

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

    The gray-haired dude just can't accept the fact he's lost the election and can't seem to take it like man with dignity....sad.

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

    I hope my republican ancestors will forgive me, but I am pledging to work as hard as I can in every forthcoming election that I can, to take the repubs DOWN!

    There are more and more of us in what used to be a repub area who are "seeing the light."

    We don't want this kind of government ANY MORE! We want to help our fellow man, and we WILL WORK FOR HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY, no matter how tired we get!

    We will work to get every Democrat running elected!!

    We will work to see that the people's will be done!! Not ignored by the repubs as they are trying to do now. (NO, I'm wrong–they are not ignoring us, that would be better! ) They are trying every obstructionist, lying trick to bring us down, but by doing so, they are bringing down the American people! They are bringing down the American economy which in turn will further bring down the whole world.

    What kind of country have we become? It looks like the devil himself has invaded every repub and is controlling them! (Kind of like the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," isn't it?) The repubs even have the same, "do nothing" look about them!!

    And, I do apologize to the three DECENT republicans who put their country before their party! Our hats go off to you. And we do THANK YOU for being the brave souls that you are! We need MORE REPUBS that can see the bigger picture, just like you see!!

    MAY GOD HELP AMERICA!

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

    Someone needs to hand McCain a tissue.

    February 15, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. republicans hate america

    this is why you are not president McPhony because you only care about spending money everywhere but Amerrica

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

    I agree 100% with McCain. Over half of the items listed in the bill made no sense. I kept looking for things that were going to "help" our economy but instead it looked like a bunch of items being squeezed in for approval by the Democrats because they haven't been able to get approval before. It's sickening. We are leaving a lovely debt for our grandchildren.

    I'm trying to be optimistic and hey, maybe the bill will work. All I can say is we'll see how things are a year from now. So far since Obama has taken office I've seen no significant changes. Just look at Wall Street.

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

    I hope my republican ancestors will forgive me, but I am pledging to work as hard as I can in every forthcoming election that I can, to take the repubs DOWN!

    There are more and more of us in what used to be a repub area who are "seeing the light."

    We don't want this kind of government ANY MORE! We want to help our fellow man, and we WILL WORK FOR HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY, no matter how tired we get!

    We will work to get every Democrat running elected!!

    We will work to see that the people's will be done!! Not ignored by the repubs as they are trying to do now. (NO, I'm wrong–they are not ignoring us, that would be better! ) They are trying every obstructionist, lying trick to bring us down, but by doing so, they are bringing down the American people! They are bringing down the American economy which in turn will further bring down the whole world.

    What kind of country have we become? It looks like the devil himself has invaded every repub and is controlling them! (Kind of like the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," isn't it?) The repubs even have the same, "do nothing" look about them!!

    And, I do apologize to the three DECENT republicans who put their country before their party! Our hats go off to you. And we do THANK YOU for being the brave souls that you are! We need MORE REPUBS that can see the bigger picture, just like you see!!

    MAY GOD HELP AMERICA!

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

    He's just a bitter old man who should have retired long ago. Perhaps a bit of senility setting in? War flashbacks? We saw it on the campaign trail – it doesn't just go away.

    February 15, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. huskee33

    If McCain has such great ideas, where were they the last 8 yrs? I don't recall him and his buddy W reaching out to the dems ??

    I would like to know what he thinks a stimulus package is? He really makes no sense, I think his dementia is getting worse.

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

    To Joe Price on February 15th, 2009 12:27 pm ET, sometimes telling the emperor he's not actually wearing clothes is the honest way to support him.

    February 15, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    Great remarks McLame!!! Since you and your Nazi worshipping GOP KKK buddies have stripped our nation to bare-bones, now you are critical of the man who is struggling to maintain our nation, are you related to John Wilkes Booth another traitor who tried to destroy our nation??? Won't you please just shut-up and go somewhere and ruin another S&L or something???

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Michael Schanz

    Oh John,

    Oh how boring..... You have had your day so make room for someone fresh and new and stop playing politics. It helps no one at a time like this...

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. The Truth

    Actually I think this bill is a gift to conservatives.....it couldn't have been scripted better. Within a month of being elected Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid destroy BO's presidency and their own careers as well by pushing this boondoggle pork-spending bill through without any republican support. This will expose the democrats for what they are and lead to conservatives taking over power and maybe this time conservatives will elect a truly conservative president unlike Bush I & II.

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Steve in Louisville

    Every last Republican member of Congress - except for the three who had enough guts to vote to help save the American economy - should be voted out of office. The Republican Party should be abolished.

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

    Once a loser, always a loser!

    Let's talk about you and your support of the Bush's last eight years!

    You're very old news!

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. mark stevens

    McCain, You're a lying sack of crap!!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Glenn Burton

    I love how the republicans talk about leaving a debt for our kids, the next generation, etc., where was that concern for the past 8 years? We need to apply pressure now to stop the bleeding and worry about later then. And Obama did reach out but the hypocritical republicans pulled away and they with all their supposed moral senators and congressman in scandal after scandal it is just a matter of time before you see the word "Republican Party" in an exhibit in the Smithsonian

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70