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. John

    Wow! There are a lot of intelligent replies to this very serious topic...just kidding. The man makes very valid points, and deserves the respect of the American people, if for nothing else, for the sacrifices he's made for the country that I'm pretty sure none of the scholars posting here have come close to making. The fact that these kinds of comments are indicative of the level of ignorance and misunderstanding on the part of the average American voter is not surprising. Only fools would vote the people into office that have been voted in, actually believing that they were voting for change. How anyone can believe anything that comes out of any politicians mouth is beyond amazing. O'Bama's election is historic , and it should be. But that's about all regarding his terms as president that will be noteworthy in a positive light. He and his team are steering the country down the wrong road and are quickly making a bad situation worse. Every day it becomes clearer and clearer tha they have NO clue or plan for much of anything. This stimulus bill is a joke. The Democratic "leadership", if it can be called that, is a joke. The government created this problem, going all the way back to Clinton. Who out there is dumb enough to believe that government can actually solve it, when they don't even fully understand it? O'Bama and his crowd are not the people for this moment in history. I don't know that John McCain would have been either. We're in trouble....BIG trouble, with ABSOLUTLEY NO LEADERSHIP to guide us. No leadership. We have a government FULL of corrupt, greedy, self-serving politicians controlled by special interested from the state level all the way up to the White House, who sold us all out loooonnnng ago. Nobody is looking out for you. Nobody. I didn't vote for O'bama, but I want to see him succeed because he is now my president. If he fails, difficult doesn't begin to describe the days ahead. I'd like him to succeed. But, I'm not holding my breath, and neither should anyone else. He IS a politician.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Chimaobi Chijioke

    Mccain, is obviously still bitter about his defeat, if you want to help out and make things work, instead of criticizing Obama try and make you party work better with the President as against trying to frustrate all he is trying to do. The Republican party should focus on improving the economy instead of criticizing the president and pointing out all the wrong things he has done

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Matthew, Detroit

    People, You need to have something intelligent to say.

    Why do you comment without facts or intelligent statements.

    Calling names does not make anyone look at or even read your opinions.

    Please try to at least write something that makes sense and is true. Do your research and stop spouting other peoples wild statements.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. gary

    McCain never got to start a beginning. Tell him to shut up and go away. He lost and please don't play that POW cards.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Don

    Long term effects? Remember the two WARS Bush started? That's defintely a harmful long term effects that yielded no results and in the process, hurt our economy.

    When McCain said, "We are committing generational theft", I would say, Bush did just that! Obama is trying to help the ordinary folks not steal from them!

    Jeez- McCain, You lost the election. Be quiet and let Obama run the country as he was elected to do so.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Ray

    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 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |

    Evolm, you sound like (and probably are) a total idiot – shut up & go cry in a corner w/the rest of the repug losers.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. linda

    McCain, coming from some-one who wanted to suspend his campaign to support Bush's bailout, sounds like sour grapes to me.
    I see the green monster at work.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Scott

    It is a sad situation to read some of these comments other have made. We have become of society of "he is a Republican, so his idea is ...." Put some facts behind your statements. McCain is simply making a point. This vote went right down party lines. Isn't this something we ALL should break from. He even was critical of his OWN party. Most people who have posted, obviously didn't read past the first few paragraphs. I'm not saying who is right and who is wrong, but come on people. Especially about the post regarding the bridge to nowhere. Read your facts. Find out who voted for what. You might be shocked to find out who was against that bill. It was a refreshing change to see all of us rally in early January to the theme of equality and change. Some in this country still can't get past Bush=all Republicans.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. sam

    The republicans way of fixing things are to give out tax cuts, which never works. Obama wants to be bi-partisan but when the republicans are giving him one-sided, bad advice Obama has to just ignore them.

    February 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Glenn

    Who was in power for the last 8 years as our country was run into the ground? oh yeah the republicans..wake up McCain ...we have made our decision, and your ideas belong to THE PAST.

    I support The President.

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Chris T

    Funny how the Obamites on this site resort to name calling whenever their great leader is questioned. You call McCain names but you offer no rebuttals to what he says..disgusting

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. gregg45

    357 comments.. 4 to mcain.. the rest to god.. ask who is not biased.. and remember america... we had a one party rule ,,, 215 years ago... so beware , what u wish for

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Kathy in Florida

    Who let John out of the nursing home? Shut up and go home!!

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Myles

    Just please... go away.

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Time for Change

    McCain is an old dumba$$.....

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Robbie

    I find it amazing that people can call for "change" and then resort to the same old name-calling and personal attacks. This bill (once it is read and disseminated) will be found to be an unmitigated disaster. I give the government 6 months before the Demopublicans/Republocrats cram another useless spending bill down our childrens' and grandchildrens' throats.

    Liberterians are the true party of change!

    February 15, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. 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 cash Wall street stole from American banks 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 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Phil

    I love how McCain labels this bill as generational theft. Wasn't it "W" who put together and based the bailout bill in October that is costing us $700 billion in taxpayer dollars. And we can;t even account for half of that money since they didn;t keep detailed records. Oh and how about that lovely war in Iraq that is costing us $120 billion or more per year. It we want to talk about generational theft, lets talk about the Bush administration and it's spending over the last 8 years. People go read the details of this bill, it will create jobs and it is not pointless spending. Three years from now we'll probably be saying how great of a bill this was.

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Herbert

    Get lost old man. We don't want you here.

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Sammy in Boston, MA

    WHO CARES what McLame says? For God's sake - SHUT UP! NOBODY wants to hear what HE has to say.

    I don't believe anymore that we need to hear from the far right of the spectrum. They have shown us all to be a bunch of morons. SHUT UP and stop bothering us.

    Thank you.

    Sammy in Boston

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Chuck

    This comment from a loser!
    Who cares what McGoo thinks?
    He was an idiot, is an idiot and will be an idiot!

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Denise

    Ok. Please understand that in any business when a new policy rolls out...you read the entire policy once. When "re-visions" are rolled out, you read only the revisions/the new additions. That's how we do it at my company, which is a Fortune 500 company. Otherwise we would do nothing at work but read. This was explained once on CNN by a Senator, but it does not seem to get as much media play. I can't believe so many people just listen to what the news media puts out. The Rep. that slammed the bill on the floor, gets played over and over to create the hype and the scare! This, as with ANY bill is a risk...The repubs bill does not guarantee 100% success either. I'd rather take the risk with the new White House.. than with the old. Oh-By the way...it appears that no one read the stimulus bill that bailed out Banks. It seems to have missed alot of "details" (as we are seeing today). AND- It did not work !!! Regardless of your party- be patriotic and PRAY for the success of this bill ! For our country ! I'm tired of hearing all the negativity and talk about what will not work...NO ONE KNOWS!

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Ed


    Sad, Sad, Sad...

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. gregg45

    its amazing how all those who voted 4 obama are now waiting to see how much there check will be

    February 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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