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. Michael

    John McCain makes some excellent points. We should only invest in job creation with this economic stimulus. Economic stimulus does not imply that we give money to education or STD prevention (I think that was removed) and it's deceptive to add that. He sees that his own party is guilty of these faults, however, what is his economic plan?

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

    the republican party will never stop with their lies, manipulation of truths, bigotry and arrogance. I nevere accepted bush, a man who did not truly with any of his terms as a president and why he was allowed to stay in office. i more worried and suspicious of skull and bones as large percentage of our politicians are members. i not too much into conspiracy theories as so many cannot be proven. but i dont like an idea of politicians from both political parties coming from a secret society we know nothing about dominating our nation. anyways, Obamah has a lot of hard work ahead of him. and NO he is NOT the anti-christ! How do I know? Kuz I AM!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Paul

    I just laugh at all this negativity. Reading CNN responses to reports or especially commentaries reminds me of what a bunch of hypocrites most liberals are. Anyone that voices a differing opinion is belittled and insulted in a VERY unintelligent and unnecessary manner. Very immature and quite showing of just what an "open-minded" and "insightful" party you are at heart. And does it really matter whether a Republican or Democrat states that this bill is risky, expensive, does not create jobs and was not bipartisan? If it's the truth, it's the truth.

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Ben

    Can anybody say sore loser???

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. steve

    the last thing we want are the republicans involved, who messed it up in the first place?

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. paul

    Wow, noone is actually talking about the issues, generational theft, stealing from our kids and grandchildren...all I am seeing is hate speech..and this from the group who thinks they are above the fray, you should be ashamed and stop thinking about the global heating problem, saving the whales, and gay rights, and maybe address what we are doing to our kids, you are abusing them more than any person who beats them by supporting this bill. I hope and pray they will forgive us for turning this into a thrid world nation.

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. David

    Taking a que from Limbaugh, "I want him to fail", how can the Democrats negotiate with the party that wants the President to fail. Republicans are just out for their own self interest and looking to 2010. Just a mean spirited bunch.

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Tip

    Who gives a rat's behind what that over the hill man has to say. His and the agenda of the house republicans and the majority of senate republicans is obvious and it is not the welfare of the American people. McCain and his cronies offer the same old agenda and will never change until there booted out of office and I believe the 2010 elections will continue that process. We are beginning to see that their agenda is to hope for a complete collapse of the economy and another great depression. Obama has given them every opportunity to be a art of the solution instead they continue to be the a good part of the problem

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Rick

    Let's remember the last Republican who believed in trickle down economics.. Mr. Ronald "I can't remember a thing" Reagan.... look what he did to our country.... do we want a repeat of that?

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. republicans hate america

    this coming from a loser that says our economy is strong

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. A more perfect union

    A bipartisan cabinet, clarifying water boarding as torture, initiating the closing of Gitmo, a stimulus that is focused on job creation and public works over bailing out wealthy campaign contributors, oversight and limits on executive pay, an attempt to limit influence of lobbying on C. Hill. A few blunders w/ vetting tax evaders aside, I have a hard time seeing Obama's first weeks as a bad beginning.

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Hey, McCain:

    Where's all that support you said you were going to give to your newly elected President of the United States of America?

    You are back in the Republican fold and you no longer dare exercise your independent role. Where's the maverick in you? Or, is it that Rush Lumbaugh has told you to tow the line, or else.

    February 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Lana

    What I wonder is why CNN thinks this is a top news story–NEWS FLASH: John McCain lost the election!!! Nobody cares about what the old man has to say. If we wanted to know Grumpa McCain's opinion, we would've voted him into the White House. The American people are sick of the Republican economic theories and practices, so obviously, the American people are quite thankful that Obama DID NOT stretch too far across party lines for this stimulus bill! Now we have a stimulus bill that will have some benefit to every American citizen, not just the rich.

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Chris Jones

    Seriously...why do the republicans get to have so many opinions about things that are a problem because of them...how is everything clinton and carter's fault. They've had 5 of the last 7 presidents and G.W. and Nixon were the worst...yet, the GOP continues to argue to try to get it's way and mess everything up. Please get them off our stage...that party sucks!!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. WOW

    Wow, it is so sad and obvious that the previous posts have such hatred for Mr. McCain and most of that stems from him being in the opposite camp. Can ANY of you honestly say you are comfortable with our future generations being in this kind of debt and adding all of the nonsense that was added? Please stop the Rep vs. Dem debate and think of the ramifications this will have on our children and grandchildren. Please don't talk about the war in IRAQ, if President Bush had done nothing after Sept 11th the entire country would be screaming. Both Dems and Reps alike agreed to that so now everybody wants to blame Bush and forget that the Dems agreed. It sickens me that everbody blames him for EVERTHING. Having a bad hair day....it's ok BLAME BUSH. Please grow up, President Bush was not the sole person who created IRAQ and the Economy.

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. mammy

    hi.. we in this country have been known to embark on major changes in our history... the very idea to come here from England should tell you that... we are tough and resilient..

    however, in the past eight years we all forgot that, because of the wolf in sheep's clothing that lived and ruled from the White House.. we forgot how to dream – how to make our lives work – how to support each other in times of need...how to bring a big pot of stew to our neighbor when they were down and out...how to pay it forward..our optimism was broken and thrown away...

    well. here we go all you tough – go-get-um Americans... we elected a youngster with fresh ideas and possible solutions to bringing us back to where we belong.. some will work – some will not... that"s ok.. cause if something isn't working we can dump it and start again..
    God Bless America

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Dennis

    John McCain turns my stomach. This man had the opportunity to be a true american patriot. My sympathies were truly with him until he sought power. Then I saw him sell out his character and integrity to gain the ultimate political power. He used terrible gimmicks during his campaign that were counter indicative of a true leader. Thank goodness the citizens could see through it this time. Even now he won't own his loss and begin to make contributions to changing his failed parties policies. We are seeing a bitter man follow failed thinking again, instead of being a team player and doing what is best for this country. Mr McCain, I believe people can change. I hope you see the error of your thinking before those that love you figure it out.

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. james

    Hey "Conservative" open your eyes. Up until this last election I considered myself a republican, but the last 4 years of the Bush administration were enough to raise the dead from their graves. If you want fair and balanced go to a kindergarten talent show where nobody loses. The thoughts here are from people who realize what a mess this country was, is and would have continued to be had McCain been elected president.

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Donna

    For heavens sake the election has been over...you lost!!! Get over it old man!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Mike

    McCain "The Economy is Sound"

    Its obvious he doesn't read. Maybe that is why he chose Palin, birds of a feather flock together. Hey John!! Poor People need some help, I know your Rich and don't have a worry. That is why I'm a former Republican as of 2008. What a joke.....

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Monroe

    All this from a man with little integrity who has gone from a good beginning to become a mediocre lying hypocritical party hack.

    I am sad for him. I suggest early retirement to one of his many homes.

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Zac

    4 Republican Votes in congress for the bill.....I dont think we should accuse the pres for being on sided on the matter...

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Flex

    If McCaine were in, we would be shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars into the Iraq war. McCaine sounds angry and jealous. I think Obama is doing an amazing job. He has done more in two weeks than anything that McCaine has done in his life. And I'm not impressed with McCaine's Veteran credentials!

    February 15, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Joseph

    Sour grapes over that loss, John? Get OVER IT already and start acting like a man instead of child.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Betty

    Can't he see how Sour Grapes his comments are? He Lost! I shutter to think where we'd be if he and Sarah were in the White House during this crisis. It was obvious during the campaign that he had no clue what to do about it. At least Obama has the guts to try.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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