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. kb

    Hey John.....

    Go wiz in the wind!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. gregg45

    well.. lets just ask the president of that socialist country in south america,, whom is trying to change its constitution,, let obama reign for a 1000 years,,, he is your next demon god,,, never mind the economy... i have dogs i can eat,,, eventually,, soylant green,,, might come up.. stupid people votes for the voice ,, keep your animals more fed than you,, u never know

    February 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. Robert Malsbury

    Play the video on this page and it will take you right to the "Stete of the Union"!

    February 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Sherrod Porter

    JESUS walked on water. HE healed the blind. HE turned water to wine. There is no possible way for Obama to "quickly" fix this problem. He has already stated that it will get worse before it gets better so I really don't understand the criticism. I mean it's kinda of hard to show bipartisan when the other party doesn't "show" up to vote on a bill. Where I'm from we call that "pot calling the kettle black".

    February 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Randall

    The only bad beginning is that Obama– in an effort to be bipartisan– let this bill get diluted. He should have told the Republican party WHO GOT US INTO THIS MESS with their trillion dollar war in Iraq, etc. to go take the hike the American people told them to back in November. C'mon John, YOU LOST. Have the decency to go home and shut up.

    February 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Charles

    Sorry John .... Your comments just aren't relevant anymore. The Republicians spent money like drunk sailors on shore leave for the past eight years and now you're the voice of fiscal responsibility? I don't think so! I shudder to think how much trouble this country would be in if the GOP had you in the pilot seat now.

    February 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Marc

    And the comments here fall along party lines, too. So much for a bipartisan administration... As Bill Clinton said, "Obama's promises are a fantasy...".

    February 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. RICK

    America isn't stupid which is why we voted against mccain. Nothing would have gotten done if he became president. We saw that in his idiot smile and we saw in in his rich wifes eyes... I say give john mccain a pay cut. And send it to the american people on his behalf...

    February 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    If I weren't so irritated with Senator McCain's stubborn opposition to the Stimulus package, I would feel sorry for the fellow.

    His conduct and that of others like Graham is pathetic. They appear completely indifferent to the horrendous mess that they for the most part are responsible.

    Last night's SNL skit wasn't funny, in my opinion. It was chilling because of the underlying truth about the inaction of many GOP leaders. I suspect that, like that idiot Rush Limbaugh, most are praying that Obama will fail.

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Bert

    Well, Johnny, if you won the presidency you could have done something different. But unfortunately you thought the fundamentals of our economy were strong. Thanks for the tip-off, though; otherwise we might not have realized that you were the biggest moron in politics!

    Why on EARTH does this man have a microphone when it comes to anything related to financial or economic matters? He is irrelevant.

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. DC IN DC

    Hope we can hang on till 2012 GO SARAH

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. karen

    Why, oh why, does anyone think we care what McSame thinks?

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Andrew

    The Republican party, including Mr. McCain are sinking their own ship. Leaders of their party have been saying that they're not just going to jump in line and follow like ducks in a row. How is it that not 1 single GOP member voted in the House for this bill? I've never seen a group of grumpy old (mostly) men act so childish and be so heavily dictated by political ideology. Or, is it just hatred of the Democratic party and of Obama? I'm not certain. Either way, when it comes to economic policy, we should listen to economists, not politicians. I've yet to hear a well renowned economist say that doing nothing or tax cuts are the way to fix this problems. I commend Obama for his leadership and the Dems for acting. One final note....what was it that Bush's tax cuts did for the economy over the last 8 years? Oh yeah, I remember now, THEY SUNK IT!

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Taylor

    The ageism and disrespect in these comments in more than sad. This is a tragic commentary on our country that we hide behind our keyboards and throw out names based on how long a person has lived. What does what he said have to do with taking a nap, taking meds, or drinking Metamucil, why is his name dishonored to become McGeezer or McSenile, and why is he called baldy and old fart? Did you listen to the interview? McCain's comments were delivered tactfunny, and with respect. If a person's view and position differs from another, isn't there a more productive and adult way to disagree than to hurl age-related insults? It also shows a herd mentality and an utter lack of language skills to sit down and type out "sore loser" as we see in about every third post.

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Stan Evans

    It's really difficult to achieve bipartisanship when Republicans, who incidentally helped to create the unholy mess that President Obama's administration is attempting to resolve, are playing the usual political games. The American people have seen enough of this crap, so wake up! By remaining in this state of denial, they're headed for another big loss in 2012! McCain continues to whine, moan and complain about someone who genuinely cares about the welfare of the American people! A human being who will make mistakes, from time to time, especially when dealing with an unprecedented set of problems. Now, it's time for him (McCain) to work together with his fellow senators, Democrat and Republican alike to get this country back on track.

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. mhp

    Guess during which party's watch, they slept on the wheel.
    Do you think, you could do a much better job in 21 days, when this kind of unprecedent crisis was in effect.
    How easily you are forgetting what you said last year. In the morning, you said the "US economy is strong....and in less than 8 hrs you changed your opinion"
    PS. I am a former Republican!

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Rob

    So, the scorned loser McCain blames Obama for the Republicans' rejection of bipartisanship? Cute.

    The Republicans would have called Obama weak if he gave them what they wanted.

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Olegringo, NM

    Obama will go down in history....

    February 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    It is NOT TRUE that no one read the stimulus package.

    You are just listening to CNN and MSNBC's video of Rep John Boehner (R-OH) ranting on about that very subject, saying "No one, no one" read the bill.

    Right after that, Rep Jared Polis (D-CO) was interviewed. He said he had plenty of time to read the bill because it has been available all throughout this process. Then he just kept track daily of any changes.

    CNN and MSNBC refuse to find out the exact date and place when this bill was available to read.

    Until they do that (which they won't), just consider this subject inaccurately reported. Reporters are not very good researchers these days.

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. frank in mich

    you liberals are unbelievable. the great one appoints cheats that dont pay their taxes and thats ok Daschle stepped down why hasnt Geitner? if any liberal out there can answer that im listening

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. cheffer

    Hey John Please, Isn't time for the early bird special at Denny's

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. sweden

    hi, i just want to say that when bush asked for a bailout money the Rs were pretty happy but ofcaurse this is the doublestandard of the american politics, i just want to say to mcbush he is not the right man to talk economy or to talk at all...

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Brigitte

    Gosh, what happened to growing old gracefully? McCain is an absolute disgrace. John, get out of the way!

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Tom

    John, It's time to pack it in. If you remember back in 2000 when the Bush camp talked you into withdrawing from the primary sooner rather than later, you had the same comments then. Obama responded to the economic criss better than you did, that's why he was elected. After the fallout from 8 years of Bush become clearer and clearer, republicans will have a hard time selling any agenda, and I believe most of them know it. They are looking to undermine the newly elected and very much loved new president any way they can. And there you are, towing the party line as always. It's a shame that you can't see that is exactly what was rejected in November in favor of a man who can think on his feet and for himself.

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Guess what John? You lost. Time to pipe down. Guess what else John? You'll never be a leader in the Republican party again. Do shut up.

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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