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. escribacat

    McCain is still good at "Bad is good" and "War is peace." Desperate-speak.

    February 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. ron

    I'm going to start calling the GOP the Hooverites in honor of Herbert Hoover, the president that led us into the great depression.... The GOP today are near clones of the old boys from the early 1930's with almost the same political philosophies.

    February 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. James DelMedico

    Look Micky Senile, you know nothing about economics, and that's why you are not running the country, your just holding a big fat grudge, just don't be such a jerk, you and the rest of you bad judgement republicans

    February 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Joe

    My God the ignorance of America is on display on CNN today. The stimulus is a joke, we all know it and McCain opines as such and he gets insulted and ridiculed. This country is a pathetic and sorry mess. You people are clueless.

    February 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Independent

    Wrong, McShame....all we hear from you is...........wwaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaa......

    You were asked to come and work with the Senate, did you show up... NO.........so sit on it............

    February 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. max

    So says the man? that made his vp selection based on bra size ... what a waste of space

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. Chuck

    Hey, Evolm:

    I gather you are white and a RACIIST BIGOT!!! Right.

    The newly elected President of the United States of America was overwhelming voted in by all Americans who voted and he is everyones' President, including you.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    sore loser? he attacked his own party, in stead of electing a person who fights his own party, we elected the most left voting senator, good job us.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. Raju

    I can't imagine John McCain going out and saying things like;

    1. Hey, it has only been about 20 days since he became a President.
    2. Hey, no president in US history had to tackle something this major the second they were sworn in!
    3. Hey, he is one of the first president in history to have filled up his cabinet posts even before he was sworn in.

    It is unfortunate that this man has become what he despises. Unprincipled, a mouth piece of the far right, an OBSTRUCTIONIST.

    The Democrats and the President are foolish to think that the Republicans are going to work in a bipartisan manner or help Barack Obama succeed.

    They are looking at only one thing. How they can survive the next election cycle.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Sherrie Eugene, Oregon

    CNN, PLEASE quit giving this clueless, greedy, old fool anymore air time!

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. tkb

    Spoken like a true sore loser, I can't imagine the sort of BAD BEGINNING had he and miss eye candy got the job!

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. John

    When are elected officials going to start acting in our best interest and work towards a common goal. In WWII the whole country worked towards one goal. The current economy requires the same unity.
    Mc Cain and the republicans are not interested in results.
    They are conducting business as usual and I hope that voters toss them all out!

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Mark

    Excuse me Senator McCain, why are you talking?

    Your party screwed up America, we send Obama to fix the mess.

    STILL your party wants to keep doing what it was doing, and it's somehow Obama's fault that he can't persuade you to move past your failed ideology.

    You are irrelevant. There will be fewed and fewer of you neocons in congress with every election.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. LA


    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Bob

    John King is a terrible interviewer. He does not ask challenging questions of his guests. He baits them with questions that anyone could answer.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Richard Hertz

    Spoken like true liberals. It's funny how you say that mindless R's would just follow Bush. What do you think you are doing with Obama? You are just following in blindly. His policies will make Bush's look good when it is said and done. America should have listened to Ron Paul when we had the chance. It's time for Americans to take America back from our Gov't. The answer isn't with these two parties. The answer is us as Americans. America was in trouble with either McCain or Obama. It was just a matter of if you wanted to get to Socialism faster or slower.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Crystal Szewczyk

    Leave it to McCain to complain about something. That's why he couldn't get elected – he's a bitter, angry old man!

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Jinny Lee

    Typical Republican.

    February 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Adam

    A loser says what?

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Justin

    "It funny how all of the comments are in support of Obama. CNN is obviously just another liberal media source that is unfair and unbalanced."

    Yeah, right...

    Whenever somebody agrees with a conservative, they tout it as bolstering the credibility of their opinions. Whenever public sentiment is widely against them, they blame it on "another liberal media" conspiracy... You do realize that these comments aren't posted by CNN, right?

    After so many years of republicans squandering our economy, global diplomatic standing, military cohesion, and even the protections of personal liberty granted by our constitution, I find it truly laughable that, now that they're in the minority, they jump at any chance to portray themselves as victims.

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. jerry

    The old geezer must be right. After all, since "the fundamentals of the American economy are sound," why do we need to do anything at all?

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Cindy

    As I read some, ok almost all, of these comments, I realize how we got into this mess. Everyone is blaming Wall St. and Bush for where we are. Seriously if people who could not afford the house they were buying then they should not have made the purchase. Just beacuse the lending instutiion offers you 300K to buy a house does not mean you should, if you cannot afford it in the first place. I have an ARM on my house, and yes my payments went up. And my husband lost his job... But I can still make my payments as we based our bills on ONE peesons salary... Stop trying to make the goverment "fix" our poor decision making and take responsibilty for yourselfs.

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Carter

    Is he thinking about running for president again? That thought makes me laugh and sad at the same time. Let go. Your time has past.

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. M

    I can't believe that most of you don't do the research and just blatantly put all of our country's failures on Bush and the Republicans. Our country went into recession under a DEMOCRATIC government (as in they've had the majority for the last 4 years). A DEMOCRAT (Bill Clinton) created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Democrats ran this country into the ground while Bush say by helplessly. For all those who haven't researched, now may be a good time. This stimulus will NOT work. Obama made many promises which he can't keep and he will fail sure as I'm sitting here. I hope he doesn't, I want our country to thrive. I just don't think we will under a Democratic government.

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Me

    How about you either contest what McCain is saying or support it. Saying "Mccain is crying or mad because he lost" is ignorant. Address the situation not the person.

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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