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. gabbyur24

    Good God, where has McCain been, and where has the news media been, John King, while the drug border war has spread throughout the US? It isn't just north of the border any longer and hasn't been for over a year. And he's amazed the American people haven't been informed. The news media have let the people down as usual. Now some in Congress want to stop the fence? It works. E-Verify works. Ask for a comprehensive investigation in Congress of the impact of legalizing 20 million people of one ethnicity. I'm not a Repub but my irresponsible Dem leaders have made me an Independent. And to the Mexican national who is afraid to go back to Mexico; why do you support an open border that is bringing the violence to America that you so fear?

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Maggie

    I cannot believe how out of touch with reality McCain continues to be – indeed had he been elected (perish the thought), we would have had McSame for president.

    February 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Carol

    And here I thought McCain would be the only Republican to compliment our President Obama for his great beginning! Just shows you how wrong you can be about people and their reactions.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. marisol123@earthlink.net

    More sour grapes from McCain. Perhaps he should just visit his freind Palin in Alaska. Both are losers with endless delusions of being "the best for the nation". After all, its easy to criticize those who have to make the tough decsisions, isn't it? We didn't vote for you so just keep your biased, ignorant opinions to yourself.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Andrew

    McCain should have been Pres. in 2000, if not for Bush's racist-dirty-ploys in the S. Carolina Repub. primary, against McCain just because McCain had adopted a dark-skinned Bangladesh orphan kid following a Tsunami. That said,

    McCain has good points about Obama's misguided (by Nancy Pelosi) Stimulus Spending, which rather than helping Americans get back to Productive Industry and Private Industry, basically just layers on and piles on more Debt for more of the Problems in USA: Too much spending on Education (half as productive now as in 1960, twice as many professionals per students v. then) and too much overpaid healthcare Drs.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. keep your change

    I think its funny that so many of you who voted for Obama think McCain is just crying & mad because he didn't win......McCain is right...you wait & see how all this "CHANGE" is going to effect our lives....Obama is not going to make anything better....I am so glad I didn't vote for this fool..........

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Mark Ferbet

    From everything I have read, Republicans made little effort in actually trying to sit down to negotiate. You can't come to the table saying... "Only tax cuts" and nothing else. You have to be willing to give and take...

    Unfortunately for the country, Republicans continue to use the economy as a political sparring match, instead of truly trying to work.

    Kudos to Collins, Snowe, and Specter for actually coming to the table to work... the rest of you need to take a lesson from them. If you want to be heard... you need to be willing to concede that you are the minority party, but also willing to actually work with your Democratic Counterparts... on a COMPROMISE.... if your unwilling to work.. then you deserve the sound beating you got in the last two elections.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. KC - Iowa

    Who cares what John McCain thinks!?!?! Just because Obama wants to be bipartisan doesn't mean the Republicans get to dictate his agenda! He doesn't owe them one!

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. repub4obama

    This poor loser makes me giggle.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. tonybama, grahamsville, ny

    John didn' t seem too concerned about the billions wasted on his Iraq War-talk about generational theft, at least this time there will be some return for our expenditures, besides tens of thousands of dead bodies.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Larry

    Do you think Obama realizes his daughters children are going to be paying for this??And if he does know ,and doesn't care what kind of a father and grandfather he is,why do we want him as our President.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. frank in mich

    so if all the r's would have wanted it thats ok wheres the change you moron james

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Deb

    McCain's first choice of treasury sec was phil gramme, one of the major architects of de-regulation and the present financial crisis. His back-up was John Thain with his $1400 trash can who also ran Merrill Lynch into the ground. Obama gave McCain a chance to rehab his clueless image (fundamentals of the economy are sound) – graciously treated McCain as something besides a loser who used vicious "terrorist" smear tactics when he thought they might work, then groveled and said what a great guy Obama was. Now this is the thanks Obama gets. McCain says/does whatever the Repub party says – just like trying to foist that nitwit Palin on us. He's a pathetic puppet and I THANK GOD he lost. The Repubs would do anything to get back in power even if they destroy the country, as they almost accomplished with Bush. There is no reason to ANY of their pathetic ideas.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Gary

    What do you expect from the guy!? He ran against him and lost! This is the guy that said "our fundamentals are fine" DAYS before the collapse started! This is the party that basically for 8 years doubled the deficit and put us into this mess. These are the tactics and plans that DON'T work as shown by real evidence... lets give President Obama a chance. After all: HE won the election. The republicans are doing their usual act: unwilling to recognize that real Americans are hurting.

    Tax cuts? Like an additional $13 or even $50 a week is going to go into the economy when people are seriously afraid of losing their job! Yeah right. Get real.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. gloria martin

    I voted for Mccain,but I am trying to give Obama a chance.This time the democrats have failed the American people by slipping in more spending and not enough job creation.I blame Pelogi,mostly.It looks to me that Harry Reid might be more willing to meet with some of the Republicans requests,thereby showing some bipartisanship;the way this country should be.Most of the bill is common sense,whether you're Democrat or Republican:LESS SPENDING,MORE JOBS!! WAKE UP CONGRESS!! WORK TOGETHER!!

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Ken Arthur

    And we should value the opinion of John McCain for what reason??? This man, and his party, have presided over the demise of the American economy since they took control of congress in 1994 and further hindered progress under the last 2 years of the term of George Bush. Read the other story Mr. McCain about the starving rural Alaskans posted a little below this tripe. That is the real result of GOP policies. Maverick capitalism results at their finest.

    February 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. waedvm

    Seriously, who cares what McCain thinks...he is just another rank and file Republican that is bitter and cannot put these differences aside to do waht is best for the nation.

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    McCain your negative politics are such a thing of the past. Let's discuss intergenerational theft and how you and the Bush Administration took deficits to new levels so that you could line the pockets of the rich and fight a war that we had no reason to fight. You truly are a hypocrite.

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Trish

    Yeah, but at least we are free from your Nazi dictating morality while presiding over the most dysfunctional, morals flaunting family in America. At least we still have Constitutional rights, because our constitution hasn't been replaced by the primative dogma of a so called "religious" extremist. And we don't have a president who was bent on continuing a ridiculous military adventure costing thousands of lives, agains't a country that did us no harm. We have a diplomatic, decent, brilliant president who is doing his best to clean up the mess left by 8 years of a moron, a guy you fawned on and revered, and a guy you were all set to emulate. You squandered your reputation by your selection of a mean spirited, hate filled redneck who didn't even have the intellectual curiosity to find out what the vice president's role is. And the hate speeches you and Frau Palin made across the Northeast – lies and vicious innuendo tinged with racism – you nearly got the neo-nazi's, ignorant poor and blatant racists (the Republican base) to riot and pillage. Barack Obama has done more for this country in a month than your man Dubya did in 8 years. You and Frau Palin would have tanked Democracy as we know it, like you an your party have nearly tanked the country. Your opinion means nothing to me – I just consider the source.

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Matthew, Detroit

    350 billion in TARP fund.
    800 billion for stimulus.
    1 trillion for banking stimulus from Geitner.
    500 billion for health care
    500 billion for new entitlements.

    Potential in the 1st 1 1/2 year of 3.15 trillion added to the national debt.

    Clinton added 1.7 trillion over 8 years

    Bush added 2.5 trillion over 8 years

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Vanessa

    If this is a bad start, I would not be able to stand a good one. I just don't understand a party that voted for and supported a war that is killing thousands and costing the American people trillions of dollars be so concerned about 800 billion that may out a few dollars in the pockets of Americans. We need all we can get to make IRAQ what it was before the invading.

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. mike

    That's right, he must be a poor looser, too old, partisan biased, because, God knows, Obama is incapable of a lie, right?!

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Max

    One word for you McCain: LOSER.

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Ashley

    OH WOW!!! This is ridiculous!!!!! Bush put this nation in a deficit to last 5 generations!!!!!!!!!! & McCain is worried about more money being spent... what a JACK@S*.

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. R F Stubbs Jr

    "I've read quite a few of these comments, seems that the best liberals can offer is just vitriolic name calling. Does not surprise me that there is no real substance offered. It will not be long before these liberals realize that they will get no real substance from Obama either."

    February 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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