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. marlyn

    Please pray this man retires soon. He gives me heartburn.

    February 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Are all liberals crazy?

    McCain is 100% right. It's sad and extremely unfortunate that the majority of the country is bumbling idiots will follow Obama off a cliff without any question at all. Keep drinking the kool-aid but don't blame the rest of us with a brain with it all goes south!

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. DLT

    So says the loser.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Obama Cares

    mccain if your ideas and the rest of the repulsive republicans are so good, then explain why our country is bankrupt! could it because you spent all our hard earned taxpayers money on A WAR THAT WAS BASED ON A LIE, OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS, you are so discusting.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Eyckie

    I hope they never sit down again with the Republican gang of henchmen again. They don't deserve it after they ALL spit in Obama's face when he reached across the aisle. Every one of them will feel the wrath of the American people in 2010/12. I get the feeling they think that by telling all of these lies they can manipulate the people into believing Obama is or will be a failure. I don't think anything could be further from the truth and they are scared. They should be!

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. Peter E

    Well, at least one partisan hack from one of the parties admits that they are all partisan hacks instead of blaming it all on the other side. Now I wish he had spoken out a lot more about their robbing of future generations during the entirety of the past eight years as well.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. III

    WOW...all you people sure are defensive. All he said was that the "spending" bill was to create jobs and it really doesn't. Lighten up and get a grip.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Cystem Phailure

    Of course McCain thinks it's a bad start. He made it clear he wanted to continue the Bush policies that created this financial fiasco, so he would regard anything done differently as "wrong".

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. 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 because 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 persons salary... Stop trying to make the goverment "fix" our poor decision making and take responsibilty for yourselfs.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Bud

    Tell you what...Let's just cancel the stimulus bill, and while we are at it, rescind the TARP bill and get all the billions back from the bailed out banks, auto industry, etc.

    Let the economy fail and pick up the pieces and start again.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Sue

    This is precisely why –


    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Grace

    How in the world can McSame comment on Obama? And why does CNN even open that rotten can of worms with this loser? Do you want viewership that bad? Come on, McSame lost, he is a loser, and by this comment today, a sore one at that.

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Dave

    I read all these comments and am amazed! I am disappointed in the American people and our leaders. It was the Congress that created this mess, and the uneducated people who buy into all the crap. Wake up people.......if you believe the Dem or Rep are going to fix everything your are mistaking. This spending bill will not fix a thing!

    February 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Robert E. Wilson

    Several Republicans continues to declare that this is the Democrats bill and they will be responsible for what happens. In two years more than half of this bill should be in play and lets judge then.

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Ryan

    Im disgusted by the disrespectful remarks toward a former POW. He deserves respect whether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not. Most americans today are selfish gotta have it now, cant wait for nothing snobs. We real americans who know what its like do without something are a dieing breed and that is whats wrong with america.

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Luke

    Give it up McCain! Remember you and your buddies were the ones who just months ago pronounced our economy as "fundamentally strong" while your banking/Senator pal said we were just a nation of whiners. Who's whining now???
    Not one Republican stepped forward with better ideas except for the same old tax cuts for the wealthy. As for your VP – Palin's Alaska is in trouble too and I don't see her jumping up with any positive solutions for her constituents.

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Norm

    Oh for God's sake. Will he and Palin please fade away?

    They are both as irritating as a groin rash.

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. LuciFarr

    Why is it that the GOP has a problem when spending benefits the American people? They did not hesitate to spend billions to re-build Iraq.

    I wonder if that was because the bulk of the money ended up in the pockets of their cronies, the Halliburton, Blackhawks and KBRs?

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Ed

    When the CBO and Wall Street Journal both claim the crapulous – er, stimulous – bill won't work, I tend to listen. Silly me!

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Jennifer

    Just like Obama said, the Republicans claimed that they wanted tax cuts, exactly what Obama ran for president on. Only Obama placed this into the bill, and the Republicans wanted credit for it so they throw this fit. What is the Republican party if they cannot accept credit for tax cuts? Nothing. Truth told, Republicans only want tax cuts for the rich, they couldn't care less about the rest of us. Keep doing what your doing Obama, this is what you were elected for, don't pay the bitter old man any mind. McCain hasn't a clue of what matters to Americans.

    February 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. You'll see

    Obama voters are still thinking they did the right thing? Seriously? How can you compare the debt over 6 years by Bush to the debt Obama will put us in with just this one bailout. NO money is coming back to the American people. Only corporations that just cut everyones job.
    If you are jobless right now and voted for Obama, you should be happy to be at home unemployed, it's your fault! It's only going to get worse for the people (Dems) who feel like they are entitled to something. Then again what's it matter if you're broke, I'm sure you were in the financial hole before you lost your job. Be happy knowing this bailout will make sure your kids are in the hole forever as well. Congrats you fools.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Nick

    McCain hit the nail on the head. President B. Hussain Obama is bringing Chicago politics to Washington. This "bail out" does not create jobs, and does not help the housing or banking markets. Instead, it increases welfare and social programs for non-contributing members of society. As well, it provides paybacks to all of the new presidents supporters, ($200million to ACORN). This is a partisan socialist spending package that will increase debt, increase the size of the government, and increase taxes for not just us, but our children. During the last couple of recessions, President's Kennedy, Regan, and Bush all lowered taxes to spur the economy; and none of those recessions lasted longer than 16 months. Take a lesson from history.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Evelyn

    Wah wah wah sore loser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. David

    McCain, stop fighting, your battle is over. Nobody cares about what you think anymore. And Like MacArthur said, do what all good soldier's do and please just slowly fade away.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. pjs

    MaCain thinks that this stimulus bill will result in "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". IS HE ON DRUGS, we are ALREADY THERE thanks to 8 years of the Bush administration & his republican party. Bush has this country so deep in debt that my great great great great grandchildren will still be paying for it. I'm not sure this country will ever fully recover from the Bush administration, Texas still hasn't recovered from when Bush was govenor.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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