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. Michael in Michigan

    McCain's chief economic adviser was Phil Gramm, one of the greedy idiots that created this mess.
    The reason that they put losers like McCain on, is that if they put economists on, they would laugh at the proposals the republicans put out. The media can't have that.
    The Democrats say this, the Republican's say that. That's all they think reporting is. The republicans have learned they can say any kind of nonsense that occurs to them, and the media will go out of their way to pretend it makes sense.
    People aren't being fooled this time. They support Obama, and the media can't seem to tear him down.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. TC

    Hey McCain, you are not President nor party leader so step off. President Obama did go to Capital Hill to sit down with both sides. He also sat down in the White House with several Republicans, both in groups and individually. Are your senior moments getting worse? Also, the President didn't get all he wanted/hoped in this stimulus either. I am not saying I am a fan of it, I think far too many needed projects got cut in favor of head scratching ones.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. gregg45

    also.. to those about iraq.. NO ONE FORCED THEM TO GO,,, NO TOE TAPPING GENERAL FORCED THEM TO SIGN THAT PAPER,,, they went on there own,, like flying on a plane... u where not forced to take a flight that might or not crash... it was a choice you made,,,

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. mike

    Coming together doesn't mean getting things the way you want. We did things the Bush(Mcpain) way and it does not work. Stop being a baby and give someone else a chance.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Dave

    Wow. McCain is actually right. Good for him—it's a horrible bill, and most importantly, a continuation of the socialist policies started by Bush. We're screwed.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Bobby

    I don't care what McCain thinks.
    If I cared, I would have voted for him
    I didn't.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Jim

    How bad is the economy going to have to get before Americans take back their government at all levels and ensure the common qualified American can serve in office, now locked out by the two parties and corporations? The elected officials are behaving badly because that is what America elected, thinking they can get something for nothing from the responsible and accountable hard working, ethical and moral people.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. CranialRectalLoopback

    McStain is a bad beginning, middle, and end.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Armand

    Super Bowl Party? Thats a leader-–from Illinois

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Cardinal

    It's way past his bedtime......

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Angie

    Wake up people read bill H.R.45 You sheeple are going to let them take our guns and all you all can do is fuss and fight. stand up and demand answers to the stimulus bill . they are taking your freedoms away day after day . and no one cares .this stimulus is bad news for america. quit bickering and demand answers

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Soldier girl

    John Mccain, a man I had a lot of respect for has shown that he is not the maverick that he claim to be. Everything he has done so far has been the furer his own cause and people like John King is soft on questioning him. This is the same man who voted for a war that left many of my comrades dead and families with a hole in their hearts and then voted for the first stimulus package. I will never vote a Republican again unless the truely change their dangerous and selfish behavior! By the way kodos to those Republicans who had the guts to try to save this country from the abys of economical disaster.

    February 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. jen

    evolm your are the buffoon> Your credentials are bufoon credentials.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. ck

    You lost, your opinions are falling on deaf ears. Move on!

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. JF

    "Sit down together". Give me a break. This is nothing but a mixture of sour grapes, panic that their "reign" is in peril, loss of what little credibility they (Repubs) may have had left, etc. ... just pick ANY of the above. I am truly amazed at the blindness these people have to the whole situation...they are either living in their own world, or exercising yet more DENIAL, which was the hallmark of the past 8 years. I guess when your whole reason-for-being is to protect and propel the rich, feeling that there is enough time to 'sit down together and hash out a plan' (aka let's stall and evade like we have for decades) is a common response. Trouble is, the average American (like myself) does not have the luxury of TIME to wait for that "perfect plan" that the Repubs seem to think exists.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Keith

    Little Mc continues to demonstrate that the Republican Party is really the Obstructionist Party. They obviously didn't hear the message from the "majority" of the American people in the last election. The rhetoric of the Republican leadership needs to stop licking its wounds and finally do something to heal the damage it perpetuated on this country under George.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Arthur

    Unbelievable.. What did McCain say about George W. and the "Republican" economic agendas the past 8 years while the country was sliding into the worst economic disaster we've had in 80 years? Seems like he should have said something then eh? I just get angry when I hear Republicans talk economy.. You'd think they'd be too ashamed to open up their mouths at all.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. bruce morningstar

    John, what did you do to work with the Democrats? It seems like the GOP has one and only one position. Boehner comes from a rich district where there is zero unemployment and his people are so rich that they need tax cuts. Well, they got tax cuts and he still voted against it. I am unemployed, my wife's executive recruitment business is down to zero, thanks dubyas economy. With no income, we get nothing out of this bill, so McCain is right in the respect that the bill fails those of us out of work and past unemployment Why do Boehner or McCain need tax cuts? They can sell one of their many houses. These men really do not care about any American worth less than 5 million dollars. They should resign and let some qualified people who understand the enormity of this near Depression situation, govern. They do not represent America, nor do they care.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. A.P. Fremont, Ca.

    Mccain is not only a loser. he's a liar. I'm amazed at how he could stand in the Senate with a "straight" face and tell a bold lie to the American public saying, " this stimulus will put our grandchildren and children in debt". what a "liar'. The bank's vaults have been emptied from fradulent- embezzling acts by Wall Street with CDO mortgage accounting corruption sales. the deregulation was cleared so this could occur by his colleague, Phil Gramm Republican of Texas. now that the bank's have been broken, the stimulus Wall street needs to be paid back to the American people by Wall Street !!! Don't blame the stimulus which holds Corruption responsible for repayment. Blame corruption that made the stimulus necessary !!!!

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. LULU

    Look at all the tax evaders he put in his cabinet. Doesn't that tell you something. ? I knew nothing would change. not with that crew. And the big one let Pelose and Reid load the spenders dream up with pork. Look what San Francisco is getting as usual. Tons of Pork. Dobbs and Barney should hit the road and get our of there. Better still be thrown out. for their funny business.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. TC

    And Mr. McCain where were your party's tax cuts for the average American? The $400 isn't going to help me at all. What a joke. Add a zero or so to that and then I could think of actually doing some personal stimulation to the economy.

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Eric

    mccain should shut his mouth, theres a reason why hes not occupying the oval office right now. more then 50 percent of America does not care about his opinions

    February 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. William

    Oh, for the love of Pete! Shut up and sit down, Sen. McCain! You couldn't be more transparently partisan. Remember, your Fearless Leader, The Shrub, was asking for just as much money, but only wanted to hand it over to the clowns on Wall Street, who got us into this mess, to do with as they pleased. He gave them nearly a half billion dollars, which they appear to be squandering, and our financial markets are still frozen. At least President Obama is doing things that will put money into local communities and get people back to work. Your party is a bunch of losers and your obstructionist tactics and lies are not going unnoticed. We'll give the Democrats their 60 seat majority in 2010; you can bet on that. The President is off to a very good start. So far, his only real mistake is to insist on building a spirit of bipartisanship with the GOP. You've proved that you'll have no part in any cooperative effort, so now it is time for you to be completely shut out of the process. Dems: exclude the GOP members of Congress and call all the shots yourselves. Trying to reason with them is useless as long as Rush Limbaugh is the de facto leared of their party.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Peachy Keen

    Members of your own party have blasted out the fact that no one in your party has even read the 1100 page bill, so how do you even know what is in it and if it will or won't create jobs? The Rebuplicans, of which I once was, make me sick to my stomach.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Bruce

    Democrats on this blog have no clue. Terry writes that it puts money back in the pocket of the average worker! RIGHT, a whole $13.00 a week. No one says that part of the stimulas is going to go to illegal workers! Or wet lands in the bay area for Ms. pelosi, or a high speed train from LA to Vegas. Give me a break people this isn't sour grapes it's fricking common sense!

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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