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. Shoots

    Okay guys,

    Read most of the comments about this article again......get it, do you get it, yeah, they all suck, D's, R's, they ALL S U C K. It's a game they play that we the citizens do not benefit from.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Barbara

    You lost! You lost! You lost! Just fold up your tent , take it to one of your eleven homes and preach to the gila monsters! Stop sucking your thumbs and just retire – leave the Senate to those who "get" today's economic situation and who are interested in doing something positive about it.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. jess

    And we should care what this sad, delusional, cranky and clueless old man has to say because...why?

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. karen

    McCain is a loser! So his opinion of a good start, no doubt, would be if President Obama had lost this first battle on the recovery package. Fortunately for the Country, his opinion and that of his Republican colleagues, is the MINORITY opinion!!! Let's see that it stays that way!

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Southern Princess

    McCain is a sore loser and the rushpublicans only want to be in control and therefore they won't do anything to help Americans. I can't stand the republican party. Kudos to the democrats for a great bill.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. jp

    It makes me wonder, where were all of the "so call" experts, scholars, economists, and republican politicians prior to Americans being robbed of its' resources? Why wasn't there a loud outcry from these people about the spending (in Iraq -on war, infrustructure, and the first bank bailout, etc.) prior to President Obama's move to the white house? Why were these people afraid to mention the word recession and talk about all of the trillions of dollars Bush swindled Americans and American Businesses out of? I'll tell you where they were, they were making money and not doing their jobs in reporting the facts to the American people. Now they have so much to say about what should and shouldn't be done and the American people are suppose to believe them. I don't think so. The republicans and all of the "so call"experts, etc. should "move and get out of the way" and let President Obama and the American people give the USA a "blood transfusion" to get the heart (economy) moving in the right direction. As for Bush and Dick, Americans should call for an investigation of this administration, who proclaimed to be the most patriotic people (only words), but their actions clearly indicate(d/s) that they have distain for the USA and it's people. To be patriotic doesn't mean waving an American flag, or wearing an American pin, or starting an illegal war based on a lie for your own personal gain. True patriotism is doing what is ethical for the United States of America and the American people.

    February 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. phillip Marlowe

    Let's see how much more hypocritical the republicans can be. You hire a black as the head of the republican party to somehow counter Obama, wow that was subtle. Your moral majority types are getting arrested for prostitution, soliciting sex in airports, and having gay affairs after voting against gay marriage. Your presidential candidate is called a war hero after being shot down and spending the entire war in prison. You pick Palin to be a VP and who cannot even tell you a single magazine or newspaper she reads and on and on. Bill Clinton then revived the economy, Bush destroyed it. Obaba is trying to do undo the damage and you are as usual obstructing him. Gosh, it won't be long until the only place you will see the republicans is on the Cartoon Network.

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Proud American

    Wow I should take note of that comment, and coming from a Idiot who started and ended bad. Since when did the President of the United States need advice from a loser?

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Brad

    Reading these comments makes me realize that those who love Obama really do worship him. If they would read the tax plan that Obama wants they would realize that it will put a burden on our future generations. But I guess it is true what they say – they only want a quick fix – it's all me, me, me. "Who cares about others." "I want money to help me." That is all I hear. Obama is only playing party politics and does not care about what others think. Now that he has his plan approved he has only proved the point that he can make Americans think they are smart – when he actually dumbed them down. Be careful – watch your back- and look out America, Obama will only make things worse the future on the United Stated. One nation Under God – NOT! – It's one nation under Obama!

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Bill Petty

    You can look this up if you wish. It is listed in the encyclopedia as one of his most famous quotes. Norman Mattoon Thomas (November 20, 1884 – December 19, 1968) was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. The Socialist Party candidate for President of the US, Norman Thomas, said this in a 1944 speech:

    "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism," they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." He went on to say: "I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party.
    The Democrat Party has adopted our platform."

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. chad

    Why do the Republicans cry and whine so much?
    How about we give all of them a one way ticket to Iraq to clean up their mess.

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. MattTX

    You democrats sounds more bitter than Mccain. Difference is Republicans believe in ideals, you folks throw all your eggs in the hope basket of a person.

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. rich

    This package will not create jobs. The majority of it is to payback all the favors they (democrats) got to get elected, Obama included. This is not going to create the jobs needed to generate the tax revenues needed to pay for it. So, when Obama has to skyrocket taxes on the people that are somehow able to keep jobs only those that voted Democrat get the increase.

    If this were part of the bill I'd bet 100% of the democrats would have taken a second look and say "do we really need smoking cessation or std prevention propaganda 'right now' ?"

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. James K

    Where is McCain's plan? He's certainly had enough time to develop this. It's been obvious since September (some could say December 07) that we're in this mess and what has he offered? Why doesn't he go back to one of his 7 houses and think about it. Phil Gramm his economic adviser called us all a bunch of whiners....who is whining now? McSame indeed.

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. steve fielder

    "Generational theft", indeed. John McCain doesn't seem to have had any qualms about costs to future generations when he was running interference for Charles Keating or cheerleading for the Iraq War.

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. JC

    I love these comments. Republicans vs Democrats is just like Yankees vs Red Sox. Face it, you're just talking smack about the opposing team. 90% of you have no idea why you voted for Obama (if you even voted) other than he was Democrat, or young, or black, or different, etc. You have no idea what he stands for, what his views are, what he wants to accomplish, etc.

    Get over it. McCain is a great American who lost an election. Obama will likely be a great leader who just happened to win.

    February 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Florida

    These are hard days for Sen. McCain – it's easy to see the sadness in his face, realizing, as he said during his concession speech, that he made errors during his campaign that resulted in him not being President at this time...

    Still, as a Senator, he is correct that this was not what America needed – a "stimulus" bill that weighs as much as the pork that is hidden in it...

    Unfortunately, it seems that all Sen. McCain can do at this point is think about "what might have been" had he made better choices in the final months of his campaign, and, for the choice that many American voters made on November 4 – in the end, the Senator might not be the only wishing for "what could have been"...

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. tom

    Neither Obama or McCain had anything to do with this bill. If you think they did, re-evaluate your view on our country. Everything is done behind closed doors and the decisions that are made aren't published or decided by the "President of the USA". We are not a democracy.

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. chuck

    John McCain has become Arizona's biggest GARBAGE.

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Evelyn

    Thank God john Mccain is not the president. I don't think he could remember where or what to do. Go OBAMA

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. JOSH Marx

    sore loser? jelous? he faulted his own party in the same breath. you people are blind idiots.

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Joanne

    What the Republician Party and John Mc Cain seem have missed is: If the American people had valued their opinions in the first place they would be the majority party and John McCain would be President. But that is not the case. George Bush and his party have done so much damage to this Country that it is going to take extreme measures to correct it.

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Robert Malsbury

    As an Arizonan who used to vote for McBush for Senator, I can't anymore. He has single handedly ruined the GOP ( Grand Obstructionist Party ), but that is not a bad thing.

    His choice of Sarah Palin is a prime example that he can not make critical decisions! It would be a great joke if it wasn't so serious..

    It's time he retired from Politics!

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Ken


    CNN didn't block you inane comment. The reason the comments run so heavily against your ilk is because people see through your BS.


    Republicans did have input as invinced by Collins, Snowe, and Specter, who gained compromises that cut some of the proposals out of the bill. BTW most House and Senate member have staff members who read these bills. Why don't you learn how our government operates.

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Nick

    A response to Conservative (posted on Feb 15) :

    Clearly, CNN is more of a liberal news source than others. If one stops to consider the bigger picture of corporate sponsorship and the overall lack of independant though that runs rampant in the main stream media, I think the point is clear that no News source is "unbiased." Therefore, yes,more of CNN's readers will typically support Obama; not because they are blind or ignorant, but because CNN represents their political views. So,before you criticize CNN as whole for having leftist leanings and not falling in line with the Fox propaganda machine, maybe you should consider the source of your own political views and how skewed they seem to be. Especially in light of your near verbatum vomiting up of Fox New's slogan. Just saying.

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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