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. Hopeful Again after all these Years

    John McCain is such a loser in so many ways....personally, professionally. Continue to be a part of the problem instead of the solution John. Let the smart guys clean up the mess you and your cronies created. You guys had the opportunity to run the show and you ran it into the ground.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Angie

    how would old man mcsame know? when he was running for the job he lost, he thought the economy was "fundamentally sound" (typical repub comment, as long as they have a job, home and money in the crooked banks) they would think that. they are so selfish. But the average American who is unempolyed,have lost their home and have no money think differently. PLUS he didnt even know how many homes he owns. If the people in Arizona should vote this old coot out of office in 2010. his ideas (as with most repubs) are outdated and self serving. he is one that rubber stamped the horrible ideas of dumbbell bush 90% of the time. Just like American voted for change in November, Arizonians need a change as well. And look who he picked as a running mate, sarah "the pitbull in lipstick" or bush in a skirt ( just a dumb). So mcsame I dont think you know anymore then or have any better ideas then the rest of those whinning, sour grape losers.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Nobama

    I would like to see any of you do anything better.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Mike

    Anyone here not bipartisan?

    Is our two party system so broke that we as a people can't even discuss important issues without taking sides?

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Jon Samuel

    Obama and a bunch of liberal hacks who caused the current recession just rammed through more pork-laden government without even reading a $787B bill. Incredible. This farce of a bill will do nothing for the economy and do just the opposite – slow down the economy and increase a bloated government. These liberals don't care about this country and are bent on destroying it.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    The left-wing hate and vitriol for this American Hero continues.

    The bill will be signed in to law....a dark day that will surely lead us in to the Obama Depression.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Kathi

    Obviously all the rants here are thrilled with the "stimulus"! You must need that $13.00 per week your going to get. Or maybe the community service agenda, maybe its the increased student grants for education (that you can't work for), go Big Government! Open those borders! Lets Go! Can I get something too? Please Gimmee!Nancy Pelosi for President next time! Your a disrespectful bunch!

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Saundra in Maine

    I hope the people of Arizona send McCain packing next time they vote.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. linda

    Coming from some-one who wanted to suspend his campaign to support Bush's 750 bIllion dollar bailout, sounds like sour grapes and an attck of the green monster.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Aaron G.

    While I don't completely agree with the stimulus bill, bipartisan efforts work both ways. I'm a strong independent, but I'm getting *really* sick and tired of Republican stalling and obstinate behavior. I realize democrats have their own share of blame, but this time around I think the error is on behalf of the Republican party. For shame.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Jan Marie

    john king, john mccain = 1 in the same. King get over mccain, he lost...hahaha. what he says no longer matters, but continue CNN to interview him to speak for the ignorant republicans. King and McCain = 1 in the same. King, you were 1 day late on giving the love of your life your heart for Valentine's Day. Move on, McCain has nothing new to say but we do – McCain you LOST!! We can't hear you.

    February 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. cliff

    when you remove emotion from your thinking, maybe you can see the facts. you can not borrow your way out of trouble. goverment lives in a box and they do not get it. McCain is not perfit but obama is farther from perfect. what McCain says is true. we have left our kids and grandkids with a terribel dept to repay. 5 to 10 years the earning dollar with get hit with 42 percent with tax'x. thats almost 1/2 of what you earn will go to the goverment to pay back the loan. Bad business should go out of business.

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Paul

    The Republicans are a bunch of hypocrites. Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. When will they learn that TAX CUTS for the past 8 years has been a FAIL solution???

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Jo

    The GOP, as usual don't care about middle america more than they care about their Wall Street buddies. Of course they need to make this Stimulus Bill look like it's wasteful spending because they soon want to FORGET the years of their own wasteful spending.......and their type of spending is beyond $$. The sacrifice of the men and women's lives for a Nonsense WAR is unforgivable. No one really knows whether or not this stimulus bill will work but we have to do ACT to help the people who are suffering everyday. I know full well how scary it is to lose a job, I just went through it . Luckily, I found one! Imagine the millions that can't find one. I don't think these GOP crooks know that until their own jobs and homes are gone. McCain, why don't you donate one or two of your homes to people that are now homeless before you start sounding like a SOAR loser - time to get a grip on reality, you're not the PRESIDENT. Stop selling out and retire already!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Joe American

    more ring wing concervitive media propaganda

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

    Oh that's right, McCain lost!! No one cares what you promised America. Go sit back in your corner and keep your mouth shut!! No one wants to hear it!!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. steve

    Competing proposals in negotiations? Perhaps if the Republicans had offered feasible alternatives that could have been the basis of negotiatons. McCain offered one feable attempt that he knew would not be considered by anyone. He is NOT even the leader of his own party now. And again saying tax cuts will stimulate the economy? Businesses won't add jobs, and production capacity, even with tax cuts, unless there are customers to buy the products.

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Tomas

    Senator McCain claims the stimulus bill is "generational theft."

    His words are purely hypocritical. Senator McCain voted for and funded the Iraq War. The war in Iraq was based on lies and deceit, and it is costing our next generation trillions of dollars.

    So tell me Senator McCain, who committed "generational theft" now? Surely it can't be you.

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Senior Citizen

    The more you spew this republican garbage the more you show how much they want to hamper Obama's programs. McShame supported the disasterous Bush/Cheney rape and pillage of our treasury and resources. Along with destroying our world reputation .

    Now, the man who lost the election and the GOP (Gougers of the People) are still clinging on to their old ways.

    OBAMA, we are behind you. Keep going to the people.

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Hannah Stevens

    McCain is over the hill. He should take his Alzheimer's medication and go home to Cindy. Oh that's right she doesn't want him around either. I am so happy that we were smart enough this time around to not elect this old fart.

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Proud Conservative

    Can't resist posting one time and one time only. I can't take any more of the liberal bleeding heart #%&@ on this site. Hope all of you Kool Aid drinking Obama worshippers enjoy the socialist state he is turning this country in to. 2012 won't get here soon enough!!!

    Headed back to FOX..............

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

    It is truly sad how bipartisan and pickering this country has become. Everything is bipartisan from the democrats to the republicans. Both parties follow their own line and have for ever so to sit and through slurs does not make sense. The question is now on the table is will this improve the economy. Another questions is are we following true to the countries ideals and not changing. The country wanted change and now they will have to live through what ever is going to occur. You cannot be short sited and think anything that has been done or is being done will be fast and easy... nothing is. Pull up the boot straps as it is going to be a long road.

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

    I am beginning to think that nothing will ever be deemed bipartisan, unless the Republicans say it is. Obama's intentions are good, and he is trying to do something. I guess McCain's good intentions stopped with Charles Keating. McCain is entitled to his opinion, and I am entitled not to listen to it.

    February 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Dan, TX

    Most of the pundits think Obama is the big winner. He got pretty much what he wanted in the stimulus bill. The public doesn't quite know what to make of it, but the majority trust Obama's judgment. McCain's alternate plan was garbage and he was essentially laughed off the Senate floor, so I'm not quite sure why he thinks Obama is off to a worse start than his own.

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

    more political parties please

    THESE TWO SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

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