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. AJ

    In some alternate universe, this man is president.

    Scary, huh?

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

    Wow. Reading the ignorant comments between the two parties makes me especially glad to be an independent...

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. not my president

    The people writing comments on this story sound like a bunch of lemurs walking off a cliff. Please people, don't let your hatred for GWB lead you to support the biggest econmic error this country has ever made.

    Democratic senators voting for a trillion dollar+ spending bill that not a single one even had time to actually read? You can't be serious!

    Clearly we need change, but it's not necessarily the case that any change is good change.

    I predict that before Obama's first term is over, we will have had another 9/11 (probably plotted by former Gitmo prisoners), unemployment will be near 20%, inflation will be in double digits, and yet somehow the democrat lemurs will still find a way to blame GWB.

    Why don't I just say, "I told you so" now"? Wake up, America!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Thi Le

    I think Obama is more than a President, he is a leader of a new religion. He knows how to make people follow him without understanding why. He learned how to talk as an attorney, a community organizer, and from his Pastors.

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Tiane

    Hey McCain,

    USA to McCain....have a big McHeartAttack because we think you should go to jail for getting our country into this mess! Mr. DeRegulation who created this mess!

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Lisa

    Obama got me when he signed the equal pay for women bill... He's off to a GREAT start as far as I'm concerned.

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Greg Orlowsky

    Hmm, I like the idea of generational theft. Seems like politicians have been talking about this for a long time. I remember talk of this kind back in Reagan's era. Now, I only go back so far. Has anyone older than me remember this idea from before the Nixon era?

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. eric momah

    Republicans should be ashame of them selves especially mcCain after saying that economy was undoubtably sound. he should pack and move back home,the old man has nothing left to offer.

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. zelda

    come on guys– this is a headline? who cares what this old troll thnks? please have some sense and try and report the news...

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Paul

    McCain must be wearing his zero-gravitas suit. Having lost by such a huge margin his comment, made so soon, smacks of sour grapes. Not to mention that he's a fine one to talk considering his pick for running mate...

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Dave

    Evolm, I see that you are a sad white folk who feels the right to rule belongs to the whites only. You commented that only 43% of whites voted for Obama. Does that give creditbility to the white George Bush who brought down your economy to its knees in 8 years? Your likes are not fit to live in this age with your supremacist hate ideology. People like you are responsible for the hate lingering in our soceity today becasue that was what your ancestors did to the less fortunate injecting them with smal pox and burning others on the stakes, in an attempt to erradicate the entire black race. You should be droped in the middle of Iraq or Afghanistan and get a taste of what reality is.

    February 15, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. deemarie Sweet Home, Oregon

    I voted for Obama. Am a Democrat. But have a bad feeling about this bill and how it was handled. Just because the Rep. did it doesn't mean we can/should too. We should take the high road.

    This bill should have been gone thru with a fine toothed comb. And when they agreed on a particular point (extending mployment benefits, Clean Coal plant) then vote and sign into law that particular point.

    This bill should of been done ingrementally not as one huge bill no one really understands or prbably has even read!

    No new bills should be forced thru congress.

    I'm with poster Jeff "People need to stop with knee jerk reactions regardless of party affiliation and think things thru instead of rushing in too quickly throwing money at a problem hoping to fix it."

    We as a country should gear ourselves to a future of non-growth. Of sustainabilty. We can't, resource wise, from what I read, continue to grow, grow grow. Do you want the USA to be like China? I sure as hell don'

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Lola

    McCain needs a lesson in economics. I don't understand why he has the nerve to comment on the stimulus package since he admittedly knows nothing about economics. He lost the election and what we're dealing with is SOUR GRAPES. He is jealous, resentful and a loser. At least Obama is working to help the country,he's actually working instead of sitting around criticizing the previous administration. Why doesn't someone ask McCain "what have you been doing for the past 8 years?"

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Kristy

    You cannot blame John McCain. He is stating it correctly. Obama has done nothing to help the American people that are in need, just those that want to upgrade their lifestyles. Tell me what Obama has really done in that bill to help create jobs? Nothing. We are laying off more and more people everyday. None of that "proposed" money will be going for anything worthwhile to help this country. Why is it that the government believes that we can save this country with money WE DON'T HAVE!?

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Bhaskar

    Breaking News from CNN – Republican researchers found that Tax Cuts cure Cancer!!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Susan

    Dear Dems and Libs,
    I have a few acres of land. I'm thinking of holding a lottery in 2 1/2-3 years from now to allocate a limited number of campsites on the farm to the winning individuals. The winners will be able to live safely and grow food along with livestock. That will probably be the only way you will be able to survive and eat.

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Big John

    It's a much better start than Shrub did when the Enron executives driving the submarine rammed the Japanese fishing boat killing innocent people

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Streamwood Bill

    Why sould I believe or trust John McCain's evaluation of anything the current president has done or will do? His judgement is obviously flawed.

    After all, he is the person responsible for putting Sarah Palin on the national stage.

    There are far more insightful, less partisan Republicans whose opions I value.

    Why not get Colin Powell's analysis?

    February 15, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. gl, Pittsburgh

    Ryan – Shut the hell up becasue you were under Bush spell for 8 years and look at this country now.

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Polly Schnell

    How sanctomonius of John McCain – the one that thought our ecomony was basically sound as it was quickyl falling apart.. He refused to work with the handful of Repuiblican who were willing to work with the President to try to find a solution for the failing economy. He sounds like a spoiled little boy who didn't get his way when he lost the election so he is going to pout and refuse to "play". What chance does the President have of bridging the political gap between Republicans and Democrats when the Republican leaders refuse to even try. I have no idea if the stimulous package will work but for me and the millions of American people drowing, I hope that our new President is succesful and I wish every polictician out there would try to work with him to find a way out of this "hell hole" that we keep sinking further into

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. MTGuy

    Last time I checked, Obama won the election. It is up to him, not the loser, to decide the course of action. My opinion is that the Democrats should simply ignore the GOP and let the cards fall where they will in 2010. I voted for a policy shift to the left last November, NOT a type of bipartisanship the GOP was unwilling to engage in since 2000. The GOP has become a regional minority party – treat them as such.

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Dan in IL

    John McCain is worried about debt and jobs?

    Where has he been in the last 8 years?

    I guess I wouldnt care about debt or jobs if i owned a dozen homes too.

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Stephen Espenshade

    I am very afraid for my family.
    I am afraid for this country.
    Obama could sweet sell suicide.
    Jim Jone's comes to mind.

    The irresponsible actions taken since his inception,
    have been shocking.

    There has been no bipartisinship,- back room, back hand,
    deals, and crafting of this porkulus bill have been his way.

    This bill is going to make things worse, our government bigger, and will
    proove faulty.

    If the Market was left alone, it would recover in 18 months.

    Our constitutional rights have been eroded, and his ideas on health care, censorship, and the census make me think he wants all control,
    much like Napolean, Hitler, Mussolini.

    The Man is a Sweet talking, back stabbing, deal cutting, narcisistic,
    publicity hound.

    The only thing bigger than his ears seems to be the ego between them.

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. weston

    McCain needs to be reminded that the American people voted against his ideas. We've realized tax cuts for the wealthy aren't the answer and government intervention is necessary. The conservative republican solution had its chance to work, and it failed miserably. Now the democrats get their turn to make policy.

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Karen

    I'm not at all surprised Obama is off to a bad start. He is full of ideology, great motivational speeches but little else. Economically, he is on the wrong side of the equation and no amount of public support and leeway is going to change his economic ignorance. The country is in big trouble and everyone is smiling because we finally have a black president. *shaking my head*

    February 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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