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. Better Then U

    By this time next year all you Obama voters will be wondering why I voted for this loser!! 😉 You will see!

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. kr

    You socialibs will have alot to answer for when the facts behind this wasted spending are revealled and time will show it it accomplished NOTHING!

    February 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Howard

    It seems that McCain is just a little bitter, and does not want the President to suceed. All Republican want to do is cut taxes, but If I don't have a job what does tax cuts do for me? When Bush was in office no Republican challenged his policies or ideals they just approved it. Yet none of his policys did much for the average American citizen. Now Obama comes on the scene and tried to right a serious wrong and Repulicans do all they can to hender him. If that's the Republican way I want no part of it.

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Lonnie

    McCain is forgetting that the republicans lost. Tax cuts for the few that he and other replublicans argued for will not work either. There are not enough jobs for people anymore regardless of what government does.

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Aujean

    @Evolm: It is people like you, that think like you, that act like you, that are holding this country back. As long as you are a citizen of this country, guess what? The black President is your President, whether you like it or not. Maybe you should get on your knees and bow, not to worship President Obama, but to pray and ask God to change your wicked heart.

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Lori, Houston Texas

    Typical Republican who will always believe in Party Before Country and Profits Before People. How pathetic.

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Rod in Reno

    Hey John did the President pee in your cherios....it's good to be the king.Now go back and be the big loser you are with your loser party.......get lost old man

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Ren from Baltimore

    Sen McCain, you used to have our full empathy and support. But you proved a very sore winner of the Republican nomination, and now you follow that up by being an pathetically sore loser of the Presidency.

    You twits have voted along with your colleagues. At what point will you all stop being Republicans and be Americans? Do you or do you not stand behind the Amercian's President after the vote is taken? You "loyal opposition" voice has had its turn, you lost, now knock it off and join the country in moving things forward.

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |


    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Devon the moderate

    The majority of Americans' that Senile, whoops, I mean Senator McCain refers to voted to rid this country of him, his party, and the idea of "lock-step" Neo-Con ideals...

    This wasn't bi-partisan, but it wasn't because Obama didn't try to reach out to the Rich White Male Club; actually it was quite the opposite.

    Repulicanism' over the past 8 years has driven this country to the brink and had Senile, I mean Senator McCain won the election we'd still be hearing how the fundamentals of the Economy were "strong"; just tell that to the Sheriff forcibly escorting you from your foreclosed home, or explain the need for Wealthy tax-cuts to the single mother who just lost her job and can't make this months' rent.

    We, the YOUTH MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE, voted the Republicans and their slavery rooted, pro big-business, anti-individual, pro-bible thumping zealot neocon base OUT OF OFFICE...

    I don't care if we ever have a bi-partisan bill because Republican ideas are moronic and not good for this country...

    Good riddance to OLD TRASH!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. James DelMedico

    Oh Crud, the repulicans all opposed clintons economic plan in "93" and said it would cause a disaster, and he was bring a recession, and it happen to be the most sucessful. The Republicans ways of looking at economics is just wrong.

    February 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Joe F. from Northern California

    Reading the comments, it looks like we're all as guilty of partisanship as congress.

    Before the election "dissent is patriotic" was a common theme. Now, after a change in administration, dissent is discouraged. This whole scene is as juvenilely petty as the Palestinan-Israeli conflict.

    Perhaps it's time for 3rd party to force coalitions, and in turn, compromise.

    February 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Peachy Keen

    McCain, you are just full of it. You are so ticked off because you were trounced in the election and cannot fathom why you aren't president. You aren't president because you are NOT capable of thinking rational thoughts any longer. Sarah Palin? Joe the Idiot?
    Your party, if it keeps going the way it's headed, will someday be a thing of the past.
    Tis time for your nappy poo.

    February 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Doug in Utah

    This is nonsense and we have to make it stop! The time has come to ban ALL political parties.

    No more "straight ticket" options on ballots (paper, please). No more special interest affiliations on the ballot (yes, the parties ARE special interest groups). The Federal ballot has a max of three races – President, Representative and Senator – and it's a two step process. Get 50% +1 or go to a run-off. No more elections on the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November for governors, dog catchers or those ridiculous initiatives created solely for the purpose of energizing one group or another to turn up on election day. Save those for the old primary election day to improve turnout for local elections.

    No more campaign contributions (cash or in kind) from any corporation or partnership, foreign or domestic. Last time I checked, corporations were NOT US citizens with any rights to participate in the political process whatsoever.

    Until We, the People, force the removal of the corruption and conflict of the parties from Washington, we get the government that We, the People, deserve.

    February 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Mike

    Am I happy with the stimulus.... Heck NO. BUT REPUBLICANS LISTEN TO THIS - you had your chance and failed miserably. You failed to lead and you failed the American People. Shut up, sit down and fully support this effort. If it fails then maybe we give you another chance.

    It seems that both parties are guilty of abusing voters. You know the issues and know how to split the vote just shy of 50/50. I am sick and tired of the rhetoric. The Dems have a chance to save us..Am I counting on it. NO, as they will act like the other baffoons that were in power. Next, cramming down the comprehensive immigration reform when they should be kicking illegals out and anchor babies with them (what an archane rule). I am pissed that we give the same industry leaders bail out money without replacing them and their bad behavior first. Give other hard working people a chance and get rid of the Executive level club. heck we have lost so much at least let someone new lose it.

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Susan L.

    Wow. It's absoutely amazing how much CNN and the inside-the-beltway punditocracy can't wait to take Obama down. You're piling on immediately where there is absolutely nothing to pile on over. You spent 8 years ignorning all the corruption and malfeasance around Bush, and a couple weeks in you're declaring Obama dead. And your cover, of course, are those same Beltway Insiders you always go to and use at every opportunity - the LOSER Republicans!!! Who cares what John McCain thinks?!?!? He LOST.

    Why don't you guys have more Democrats on speaking about matters on the Hill? In recent weeks studies showed that every single major news outlet (and CNN was quite egregious on this) had MORE Republicans speaking about the Stimulus bill than Democrats by a 4 to 1 margin!!! And you call yourselves fair & balanced?

    It's funny how to Republicans, you're a liberal rag unless you do nothing but spout Republican party talking points all day and then, suddenly, you're "fair and balanced". Sort of like what bipartisanship means to Republicans - do it our way, give us everything we want, then we might call you bipartisan, but we'll still stab you in the back. Go ahead and be friends with the back-stabbing Republicans, CNN. Since you're not Fox, they'll still stab you in the back.

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Joe

    Bush and the Dems shoved the Financial bailout down our throats! Dems with their idiotic policies to make every poor person a homeowner caused the meltdown by forcing banks to lend money to people that could not afford it. All your negative comments only make you bolster you fantasy land beliefs but it does not change the facts!!

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Bill

    I am surprised McNasty does not want to have lots of "Town Hall" meetings to discuss the stimulus package!

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Dickson

    I just wish one of the reports would challenge the GOP current talking head to explain in simple terms how now, there tax cuts are the answer.
    They didn't work before and they will not work now. Ask some real questions to the GOP leadership.

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Dan

    Everytime the Republicans talk about spending I get a lump in my throat. The Republicans spend billions of dollars to kill people. The Democrats spend billions of dollars to help people. Hmmmm. What would YOU rather do?

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. astrid2000

    If Obama's begining is "bad" as you say, yours would have been earthwrecking. You who have no understanding of economics and was a very poor student, have nothing to offer but sour grapes and jealousy. You would do our country a favor by just shutting up and getting on with your retirement. Old sailors never die, they just talk too much! .

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. mss

    There should be a mandatory retirement age for Senate and House of 60 years and oh.. also no one can serve more than 12 years in the congress..
    We need new ideas, new thoughts and new blood in these places.. some lifers in the congress rarely add value to take our country in the new direction

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Sylesh

    Obama sucks. He's doing a terrible job. Everyone just sucks up to him because he's African American.

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |

    if John King sat down with an elected official and talked politics, dont believe anything that comes out of Kings mouth. He is the great one for not searhing for the truth.

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Dixie

    So what if only 43% of white people voted for Obama?! Are you saying the election would have had more validity if more whites voted for him? What kind of ignorant reasoning is that? It sounds as though you believe in a supreme race, God help you!!

    February 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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