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. Pierce

    violin music goes well with those sour grapes

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Rolando from Las Vegas

    Let me be the first to say it on CNN.

    McCain don't be a sore loser. Is this what we can expect from you during the next four years??? Stop your whining.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Amanda

    Not only it was a great beginning but it heralds the end of the GOP as we know it. By staying on course and being disciplined as usual President Obama outwitted everyone.
    McCain would have a lot to learn ... if he were not already history.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. joe

    Sour Grapes.

    February 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Sandra

    This coming from someone who has admitted himself (and had he not already admitted it, and if everyone did not know it already – his actions as a Presidential candidate made abundantly clear) knows lees than nothing about economics! Why in the world would anyone care what McCain has to say – about anything, really.

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. DF

    mccain needs to just go away to one of his 7 houses and not come back. old geezer...

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. sandy lewis

    The Repubs had 8 yrs to help. They need to shut up & get out of the way. The only mistake Obama made was in trying to include them

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Patiem

    It is exactly the same as during the election. He complains about things and offers no solutions. Long term generational theft. Do people forget the mess that Bush and the Republicans left us in? How exactly does McCain think this mess should be solved?

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Rafael

    John McCain is the quintessential definition of the word curmudgeon. Americans rejected that in November

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. ChasG

    McCain needs to get over losing the election. His incessant cry baby comments are not needed anymore. It's over John, deal with it.

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Corinna, from Arizona

    Mr. McCain is a bad loser.... and so are the party politics... The truth is that it sounds like the Republicans don't care whether the country fails just so they can keep themselves, the corporations and the rich in the money. Worthless ideology.

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Han

    Clearly the President tried to talk with the Republicans, but their lock step demand for ONLY tax cuts or nothing was hardly reasonable. Their strategy was to drag this out as long as possible despite the fact that all economists agree that immediate action is urgent. What phonies!

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Brad

    McCain is a hypocrite and apologist for the ransacking of our country by the Bush/Cheney gang. The Republicans and W destroyed our economy and left Obama a mess. And what do the Republicans like McCain do, blame Obama!

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. midwest mom

    but John, I thought our economy was fundamentally strong.....you are just the typical backseat driver....you are much better at comedy that politics...call SNL

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. vanessa from silver spring, MD

    Trust me Sen. John McCain, if you would have won there would have been no discussion with the democrats, no so called reaching across the aisle. You would have said to them, I won and you would have put your Republican plan into effect.

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. ohio tom

    Obama did what he promised. The majority of Republicans ignored the needs of their communities, their local reps, and the nation for the sake of 'being the loyal oposition.' Their loyalaties clearly were to themselves and not the american people.

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Lonewolf777

    Please. This coming from a guy who thought Sarah Palin was a wise choice.

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. Matthew Simonson

    Insane John MCcain is just upset that heeeeeeee didnt get to choose where that money went, If I were him i'd be embarrased that he showed up in a headline like this, and even more embarrased that Sarah Palin has been taking flack for her involvement in Aerial Wolf hunting. So whether its bashing your former opponents or shooting defenseless animals from hundreds of feet in the air it just seem's these two have to be "Right" or everyone else is "Wrong" hardly the attitude leaders should have

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. Jason

    So now that the Republicans are a minority they want the Democrats to treat them better than the they treated the Dems?

    February 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. Kyle Walker

    McCain sounds like a sore loser in his criticism. He should change his tone of message and maybe the Republicans would not look like obstructionists.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Peter

    Who cares what the "Maverick" says?

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I think John McCain should retire.

    He lost the election, and now he is acting like he would have been a better choice and he is going to continue to agitate and agitate.

    Retire, McCain!

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Ed in Arizona

    As usual, Senator (that is SENATOR) McCain's analysis has a distinctly agricultural utility.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. kaz

    Sen. McCain is not in touch with common people. I am glad he is not our president

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Steve

    How about telling me what the previous Republican president did wrong on the US 700 billion dollar budget?

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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