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. Lynn

    McCain may have lost the election and may have not been the best repub canidate for the job, but America lost electing this unqulaified man we have in office now the only ones who support him are those with there hands out for freebies.

    February 15, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. Katie

    John McCain fails at life.....

    February 15, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Whatever75

    "Sit back you Dems and see all your freedom and ability to think for yourself taken away. Just wait and see. We'll see who has the last laugh."

    Have you been living in a cave or something? Ever heard of the Patriot Act? Let me guess, you make six figures and don't know what it's like for normal, hard-working folk. Go back under your rock.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. virginia for obama

    Hey William! – Obama IS what we wanted and got. So there!

    The Rethugs had no intentions of working with president Obama.They used this oportunity to showboat to their base and the media. TELL US YOUR NEW IDEAS without mentioning TAX CUTS for the rich. THAT'S OLD,OUTDATED AND DOESN'T WORK.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Jamey

    As if McCain, whose whole career could be summed up as a "Bad Beginning", is relevant.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Mike

    Change?CHANGE? SEN McCain is dead on! Great idea president Obama lets take out another loan that is being bought off by some other country at a ridiculous interest rate. Don't bash a man who is calling a spade a spade!

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Renee

    So now we're considering the man that lost to be the expert and qualified for Monday Morning quarter backing? THIS is his new role? Critiquing the man and party he lost to? Really

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. John Archer

    Thomas Collins, your argument does not make sense. Cutting taxes on businesses is a way to immediately stymy the multiple rounds of layoffs companies are now experiencing. If you are a supporter of the this stimulus package, then I must ask, how does throwing money at a variety of specific sectors of our economy solve the problem? It will only create jobs in selected sectors, such as alternative energy, construction, etc. If you want a fair bill, then it is vital to cut taxes on businesses and give them an immediate reason to reinvest in human capital.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. tessrow

    I'd like John McCain to explain how the Iraq war and the looting by Halliburton was not "generational theft" incurring debt we'll be paying for many years to come. Yet he seemed just fine with that.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Robert Malsbury

    Why can't CNN spell? I see mispelled words everyday on the bottom of the screen in their news crawls. Or, how about the link on John King's page that says, "Stete of the Union"?

    Really folks, the people working your Chyron's are stupid!

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Devon the moderate

    Hey EVOLM,

    Keep clinging to your skin-color based agenda; if you live on our soil, he IS YOUR PRESIDENT...

    Those of us whom suffered under 8-years of Bushism's raise a middle finger high and proud to you and your racist, inbred, klansmen buddies...

    Obama is the President and I salute him, wish him well and look forward to a return to Prosperity for this once GREAT nation.

    Oh yeah, I'm one of those in that 43% of White people that voted for this brilliant individual and look forward to his leadership and transparency.

    EVOLM, you're an idiot and I'm calling you out for everyone to see.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. len

    After 8 years of deregulation and mismanagement, getting us into this awful mess, Republicans are in no position to throw stones.
    A trillion dollar Iraq war and another trillion Bush pushed through a few months ago....all Republican devised...they expected bipartisan support then ....the Dems are asking for no less now!!!
    I laud obama's efforts so far...hey, it's only been a few weeks!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. jimsworthile

    Sounds like you guys are all grumpy.

    February 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Tammy in arizona

    McCains negativity is what cost him election, we had a Republican president (Johns friend) in office for eight years...destroying and rebuilding Iraq sunk the US economy–
    Now its Obama turn, have some respect McCain and quite trying to turn everyone against the President. (geeez..not even in office for a full month)
    This is exactly how you acted during debates negative, angry, no eye contact and no good ideas.
    We love you here in Arizona John but quite dragging us down.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. karen

    How is this news? Of course he's going to say the bill is no good and Obama is not doing a good job.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Beachbum

    It looks like Republican "sour grapes". I don't sense that there is any spirit of cooperation on the part of the majority of Republicans in Congress. Perhaps this bill is not the right one, however since the Democrats do hold a majority, it would be in the interest of Republicans to show be conciliatory in order to reach some level of compromise. Acting like petulant teenagers isn't going to accomplish a thing.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Dave

    That the dems would vote through $780 billion in a "stimulus bill" that will do nothing to stimulate the economy, is disappointing. That so many american people support that is amazing. Expecially with $2-$5 trillion being needed for the next bill and a third one coming after that.

    People need to start reading up on the issues and not just get glossy eyed when Obama speaks. Where exactly do you think this money will come from?

    This is not a good bill, regardless of the political party you're in. That's why there were also dems voting against it.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. tony

    sour grapes

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. grant

    spoken like a true sore loser

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. unblind

    You people are so wicked.. and you do not even see or understand your own stupidness.. you are deaf, dumb, and blind.... I hope you all will go learn to speak russian.... a few of you might live ? God willing... you people really are rotten..

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. John

    I am even more thankful that I didn't vote for this disingenuous fake. What a sad little man. What a bankrupt little political party. Bub-bye fellas!

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Talia

    I guess "generational theft" is okay if you're funding a meaningless war and helping your buddies at Haliburton get rich but not if you're helping the American people with aid and money for infrastructure etc.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. MOJerry

    Our national debt under W went from $4.6 TRILLION to over $11 TRILLION. Divide 6.4 TRILLION by 8 years, and that's 800 BILLION for each year he was in office. Thsi stimulus package is LESS than what W and Repub's spent each year!
    NOW, the Repub's want to exercise fiscal restraint and conservative values?
    During the campaign, McCain said he knew where Bin Laden was, and he would "go get 'em." How about that for a goal, John? Either you were lying, or you're withholding National security information.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Maria Loi

    Mr. McClain is very dishonest to say what he said. The republicans are not willing to cooperate with him but play politics. They are political crooks. Luckily, the American people did not vote for him.

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. Rushpublicans dragging down America

    Grumpy McLoser speaks: Who cares?

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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