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. Eric of Reseda

    The Republican Party – the Party of the Rich – is williing to see this country go down in flames rather than see any sort of change to the status quo, i.e., Big Business and Wall Street running the show. The elitist GOP will not go down without a serious fight. Since before Clinton, they have down everything they can to impede progress for the majority of Americans. And per Rush, they will continue to do so. Too bad they have suckered so many Americans into believing their nonsense with rhetoric a snake-oil salesman would be proud of.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Mary

    OH John, One little thing you forgot to say in your interview! You have been in public office for YEARS, and what have you and your cronnies done?????????Nothing but screw up the economy so far. So why oh why are you boo hooing now? If you were so good at forcasting success and failure, why hasn't anything you have proposed so far worked? This is a true Republican interview. You want bipartisin voting, but you don't contribute. When you have the change to contribute you cannot agree on anything unless it lines the pockets of yourself and your fellow repubs. Maybe what the American people want is for Everyone of our public officials to actually work. Put your money where your mouth is and realy stop lisitening to Rush.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. susanb

    The Republicans, under Bush, took the national debt from $5 trillion (on it's way down under Clinton) to $10 trillion.

    They have no credibility.

    They – like their leader – Rush Limbaugh – want President Obama to fail. Which means that they want the economy to tank and for the average American to continue to suffer worse hardships.

    This is a game to them. A partisan political game.

    Shame on them.

    This independent moderate vows to never vote for another Republican again in my life – EVER!

    Bush, Rove, Cheney, Limbaugh, Palin, Cantor, Boehner, McConnell, Hannity – evil all.

    Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan must be turning in their graves.

    Shame shame shame.... Republican now means evil, hateful, divisive and players of the worst bitter partisanship I've seen in my 63 years.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Mark

    It's your Political Party that drove this Country's economy into the ground, so you have no room to judge. Go away John, and take your little dog (Palin) too.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. PedroTHEiLLGALL


    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. BluesBrother

    Just what I'd expect from someone who's claim to fame was being shot down.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Destructive criticism

    Why do the critical comments sound as if they come from kindergarteners?

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. B. Dawson

    No one cares what McCain thinks or what Republicans think.
    That's why he's not President and the Republicans have lost control
    of Congress. Most of the mess we are in today is because fo the Republicans and Bush. McCain is like a dead skunk in the middle of the road. You smelt it when you drove by, but soon forget about.
    Unfortunately you keep giving him what he and the Republicans are so desperate for and that is someone's attention.
    Why do you think he voted against giving D.C. the vote?
    Because D.C has a large black population.i.e. -a democratic vote.
    "Real Republicans presidential material".

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Joyce

    Mr. McCain, the "generational theft" began January 20, 2001. We've spent more than $787 billion to trash and rebuild Iraq. Get us back the money your party (mine also until March 19, 2003) spent on that country and it will go a long way toward rebuilding this one. Until you can do that don't talk to me about "generational theft".

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Scott

    Big difference between the W stimulus bill and this one. W's tried to save companies and therefore save jobs. All this bill does is expand government.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. republicans hate america

    Hey Chad thats the way the republicans did it with the war you fricken inbreed.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Colleen

    you all need to knock it off. john mccain has long been outspoken in the republican party. he is NOT by any means a spokesperson for party politics. if you remember, most of the right-wing conservatives were adamantly against his nomination. he is one of the most honest and steadfast senators we have. he always acts in what he thinks is for the best interests of his constituents and his country.

    you all need to get off your high horses and stop making things a petty argument. that is certainly not what john mccain is doing. he is simply trying to fight for what is right.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. M.E.

    Does it really matter if it is a Democrat or Republican. At this point the American people voted for CHANGE... That is what they are getting... $13 and some CHANGE every two weeks on their pay checks. Let's all Stimulate our economy with THAT CHANGE. Good Luck everybody.

    February 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. DJ

    I can only hope that Mr. McCain can and will read throught these comments and see how out of touch he is with the American people. These comments surly can't all be from democrats... it so much indicates that the American people are fed up with polical bickering and straight down the middle party lines.

    This adminstration has heard what the people want and is trying to accomplish that by reaching across the divide. It's time for Mr McCain and all Republicans and Democrats work together to solve this mess we are in. I say to all of the elected officails; either get on the bus or get off and find other employment.


    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Jo

    I find it incredible, well maybe not knowing its politics, that Republicans got the country into this mess and yet they had 8 years to correct and didnt. If I were them I'd shut up and give Obama a chance. You had your chance now let the Democrats have theirs.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Jon Garner

    Where was the media 8 years ago when the idiot Bus rammed through all of the that legislation for tax cuts to the rich. I earn $65-70K a year and my tax has gone down over the last 8 years by about $70.00 This is a joke. Quit giving McCan't and Palin headline storiesand start real investigative journalism.

    Jon Garner
    Columbus Ohio

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Willy

    Hey all you Dem-wits better be careful about what you say! Bush might still conjure up another hurricane, but this time to hit DC. Look what he did in New Orleans! Powerful man

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. sam

    To Evolm: you are right about one thing, GOD IS BLACK. God is in control of this thing through Obama; it might sound crazy but it is very true. God is tired of the racism and discrimmation of all people of the world. It just so happens that Brother Obama was present in this day and time.In fact, this very,very embarrasing that a person of color is trying to making this country better for ALL people and the racist people failed-and on top of that, they know that this is the end of a racist dominating society, and the world sees that.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. strong

    Mr. McCain is a man of integrity with virtue and common sense. It is a shame that he did not get the Presidency.
    He is worthy of our time and honor.

    Now, look what we have in the White House. I shudder.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Like he could do better, yeah right, the voters rejected his tired ideas

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Bob from Virginia

    Why does CNN continue to focus on what McCain and the other obstructionist hypocrites have to say? Where are the Democrats? Why isn't CNN highlighting them? We all know the real answer, CNN.

    Why aren't you highlighting their deisre to use Taliban tactics? Why not the fact that both sides are reporting that moderate Republicans are supporting the stimulus but are being intimidated into fighting it?

    The GOP now wants to nationalize the banks? Who are the socialists now? Or should I say National Socialists?

    The GOP is collapsing and losing its moderates, being completely controlled by the radical right. Publish that, CNN.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Maya

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

    Huh, that's exactly how I feel about the previous bailout for Wall Street.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Kevin

    McCain and his friends are doing everything in their power to not be bi-partisan. Unfortunately, if they want to remain stuck in the Bush-Era mentality of "it's my way or the highway" ... they'll find themselves sitting on the highway. They don't have any weight (or credibility) any more.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Kim

    This is just a big disaster. I am still in shock Obama was elected. It really goes to show how stupid people really are. "I voted for Obama because he is black or he has a nice family "or whatever the stupid reason is.... we will suffer as he lacks any experience. Maybe it is true what they say that the world will come to an end in 2012. Maybe this is why.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. shep

    I left the US almost 6 years ago and for a good reason. To read the comments here reminds me of what a bunch of losers Americans have become. They take sides and fight- so boring. Thank God I'm no longer living in that rat hole.

    February 15, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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