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. dmoinauburn

    Conservative wrote, "It funny how all of the comments are in support of Obama. CNN is obviously just another liberal media source that is unfair and unbalanced."

    What a joke. It's funny how conservatives see people with different points of view and call them "unfair and unbalanced." Just another example of how conservatives have no ideas to contribute to the debate. The kind of tax cuts the Repubs want might have stimulated the economy for a short period but would have done nothing in the long term - just like in years past.

    February 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. kencollier

    McCain's just trying to make people like me feel better about switching parties.

    February 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. 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 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. David from Ohio

    If John McCain had been elected, his response to the economic crisis would have been a giant package of tax cuts that would have failed and we'd spend the rest of this decade and half of the next in a sputtering economy. The reason Obama has had a rough start is because Republicans have decide that their political power is worth the sacrifice of millions of people's livelihoods. Same broken record of tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts we've heard for the past quarter century. And they call themselves fiscally responsible... McCain (and his crony Kyl) should retire. I thought we saw the real McCain the night he conceded. Apparently not.

    February 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. Norma

    Give President Obama a chance. He just got into office and things can not be fixed or changed over night. And McCain you sound like a pretty sore loser, things take time.

    February 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. joseph Krupa

    John the loser...

    Stupid old man..just a another republican who wants the president to fail...these are not true americans...

    They are members of the "rush limbercheese" fan club.
    They just want that money...and to hell with people who are not rich.

    Are you a member of this club?

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. cliff

    stu, you are dead right with your comment

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. gl, Pittsburgh

    McCain is a evil old man that hate the fact the he was beated by a black man. How sad. He never have any thing but mean thing to say are advise President Obama.

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. Christine

    Excuse me, but 46 million Americans did not vote for Obama. We will see how America changes it's opinion of the 'Messiah' by 2010.

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Willa

    It's John McCain who's beem sowing the seeds of discord in congress. He and his ilk would like nothing better than for Obama to fail, even if it means bringing the entire country down.

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Nancy

    Loser or not, McCain is absolutely right.
    The corrupt Messiah blew it once again.
    Hope he read some Hadith before paying up for a railroad from Disneyland to Vegas.
    Those still enchanted with mr. Big Ears are the losers.

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. virginia for obama

    @ Evolm. Where do you live MARS?

    If you live here in the USA he's your PRESIDENT. Get over it.

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. McWhine

    Why are listening this twice presidential campaign loser? Don't ever extend the feeding hand to this "Songbird."

    February 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. williefloyd

    I wonder what it would take to convince the media that the public is no longer interested in McCain or any other Rep. They lost and have made it very clear they are not going to work with Pres. Obama. I am so sick of hearing the bashing and bickering on these sites that I have found Law & Order & NCIS much bettter viewing in my spare time. As I work full time and maintain my own home, I don't have a lot of time to fill.

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    to the uneducated who post on this forum and are upset that the final bill was not given enough time to be reviewed .. the final stimulus was a merger between the house/senate versions – both houses of congress have had weeks to familiarize themselves with ALL aspects of the bills – reading the entire final package cover to cover was hardly necessary to cast an informed vote, regardless of which way you chose to vote. as for the ignorant schmuck who refers to Obama as the "black" president – were you raised that way? Your parents would be oh so proud (really, they probably would).

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. sylvia salamone

    McCain, be a man and admitt you and your republican pals were wrong and helped get this country into the mess we are in!

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Liz

    How many weeks has Obama been in office? Come on~give the guy a chance! At least he's aware that "the fundamentals of the economy" need help, and he's trying SOMETHING!

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Phil

    Yeah... The No Party is at it again.

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Maurice Bretzfield

    John McCain is a bad loser. His comments are nothing but sour grapes. Senator McCain should take a look at the polls-the American people think that President Obama is off to a fine start.

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Julia

    Obama administration will be a total failure!! God help America from him..

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Dan R

    This headline is so false people. I watch the show this morning, I couldn't believe this is an actual headline. I'm very disappointed in CNN for posting this. Its time we start holding the media accountable for making these dramatic false headlines, it doesn't help our society a bit. If you ask me the media creates most of the problems in this world. This is absolute BS.

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Bill

    Sore winners is what all these carping liberal comments sound like. Come on folks, if Obama was as strong leader he would have taken Pelosi behind the woodshed and told her cut the BS and work a reasonable deal with the other side. I know that's what LBJ would have done (a democrat BTW). Folks, get you heads out of your posteriors. Obama ain't no saint, he ain't no savior and certainly has failed his first test on leadership in a crisis when it was sorely needed. God help us if he continues this type of deferential behavior to Congress.

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Terri

    That's great . You were so eager to give the banks our money...couldn't wait. Now WHAT'S a mistake? I want that bank money back. We need to stop trying to placate republicans, banks and fools.

    February 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. John

    John McCain still doesn't get it even after he lose the election in a landslide – John, your ideas have led the country to this economic disaster so, just retire in peace and quite.

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Eileen

    John Mc cain is a sore loser. Shame one the Media for even speaking to him. He should not get any air time. He had is chance and he LOST.! Go home and shut up.

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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