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. stag

    Waht BHO eally said was "up your's America, I'm da boss now."

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Russ Eicher

    It's amazing to me that no Republicans voted for the stimulus package. We have millions of Americans out of work and others fearing for their jobs and homes. The Republicans can't get off of their hands and vote for a stimulus package that has a lot of good things in it? Shame on them for appearing to not care about the common man.

    Shame on the Democrats for not trying to compromise with the Republicans and jamming the package down the Republicans throats.

    Let's stop playing politics with the lives of the American working men and women.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Sunday from baltimore

    Who cares what MCCAIN thinks...if we ever cared for his opinions, we would have voted for him and we did not. He should go home and sleep in his 8-15 houses.

    I wonder how many Arizonians is getting free accommodation in any of this many houses. I wonder why hes still getting paid by the FED govt and screaming HELL HOLE about govt job expansion programs.

    Its like fighting against Govt health care when MCCAIN have lived on it all his life. The REPUBLICANS are JOKE and i am sure we can all see through it. Like Palin, MCCAIN needs to disappear because he is not going to get air time from Obama administration LOL

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Robbie

    besides tax cuts (which, if I get in this financial crisis, they'd go straight into my savings account in case I get laid off .. therefore they won't stimulate the economy) .. what do you suggest McCain ?

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Irma in North Carolina

    John how can you possibly know what the american people are going through. You with you 7 houses ands 10 or 13 cars and a wife who can spend thousanss of dollars for a dress. You and your gang are just so bitter that you and sarah did not make it to the white house, that you and your gang are going to work against the president for the next four years, or possibly 8. You thought you and sarah with her hate rallys she gave and the way you bashed the president(which you ae still doing) would get you into the white house but the american people showed you different . Your party is loosing members fast i for one am no longer a republican. If you keep up the way you and your gang are doing now there wont be enough republicans left to vote in a republican president. I sure know that no democrats wont vote for you.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Thomas Underwood

    This bill is the king of pork. Eat hot dogs america because soon you will have nothing to eat with the children moron democrats running the show.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Mel

    Typical for McCain. Consider the source. As bad as things are, the GOP that got us into this mess is still rooting for the president, and the country, to fail. They're useless.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. LA2NC

    Perhaps Mccain needs to remeber that the people voted and HE LOST. If he wants bipartianship, then maybe he and his party need to come to the table with something other than TAX CUTS. Why should they be consulted when we all know what they will say........... TAX CUTS, TAX CUTS AND AGAIN TAX CUTS.

    February 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Ray

    McCain is acting like anybody care about what we thinks or saysl

    He can't quite get it that he is yesterdays news

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. jay

    good man mccain.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Chris (Washington, DC)

    Why and the world do we care about what McCain has to say? He lost the election because was out of touch and the public saw him as mean spirited. This is all he seems to do. Where was McCain when outstanding Republicans like Sen. Specter, Sen. Snowe and Sen. Collins stood up against the rhetoric of McConnell and worked with the Democrats? McCain needs to leave Congress and take his outdated mean "maverick" tactics with. Pres. Obama is trying to change and work with others, but that requires the Republicans to be willing to work. It can't be one sided.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Bryan

    McCain LOST! Why should President Obama listen to the same tired good for nothing ideas that McCain and his buddies used to get us into this mess. If Obama can accomplish just 1/4 of what he set out to do this country will be doing good. Bush was not honest, didn't have good intentions and he just DID NOT CARE.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Jeff from Jersey

    This was not a bi-partisan bill because the republicans used this important legislation to make a "stand" to show try and show that they might be down but not out.It was a shameful exhibition on the part of republicans when this country was in such dire need of this bill.
    Then again,republicans don't much like helping americans unless they are part of the military/corporate complex that helped bring about all these domestic problems in the first place.They like buying new military "toys" and golfing with CEO's.They only make public statements about corporate jets and such to try and keep the average american in the dark about their real agenda and to keep getting us to vote for them so they can own 4 or 5 or 7 houses as does Sen. McCain.Have they actually figured out just how many he owns or does he STILL not know exactly how many are his?

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. sherey

    Doom and gloom aren't you McCain? And why so hung up on bipartisanship? The Republicans should be more cooperative!

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. J Mark

    Oh please. Can those people be any more childish?

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. David

    He's right.... this is not reaching across the aisle.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Bob

    All of a sudden republicans have "found" their fiscal conservatism, eh? What a joke. Repubs withheld 100% of their vote over about 5% of the total stimulus package. I guess the GOP has decided to define itself as the opposite whatever president Obama is for. It's why they'll continue to lose seats in the House and Senate in 2010

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Mary George Smith

    McCain sounds like a sore loser. He needs to be quiet for a while and give us all a chance to support our new president. McCain needs to show Obama the civility that Obama always shows him.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Truth

    People argue socialism and how this spending bill will hinder your children. Look around people – look at the debt that the Republicans have left us. Plus, we already have a socialist government. You don't control your money or the businesses. Businesses are controlling America and those businesses are controlling your government thru lobbyist. They take your tax dollars and spend it on whomever and whatever projects they deem important. Why do we need tax dollars to build a presidential library? Republicans use your ignorant to push their own agenda. Labeling projects pork is an insult to your intelligence. Then they complain about tax dollars going to lazy people. Stupid, your tax dollars go all over the world to people who do nothing and hate you!

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. smithoman

    Let me get this... The Republicans try to kick Obama to the curb by voting the party line and now it's Obama's fault? Give me a break.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Taxpayer in Pittsburgh

    McCain, by his own admission, doesn't understand economics. So why should he be offering opinions on how to get the economy rolling again?

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. jerry

    get over it!!!! you lost

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. RD

    A bad beginning? Isn't this what we call 'sour grapes'? Senator McCain, please get with the game. The campaign is over and it does no one, especially you, any good to be as critical as this. It makes you look bad, a sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. E. Goodno

    Well, let's see, John... Your Republicans didn't vote for any Democratic proposals as well – so does that mean you cooperated or not to bring about a bipartisan proposal? You mention the bill weak on job-creating allocations. I didn't know you were such an expert on econmic recovery that you know precisely in this mess, that your party created, what definitively will end up creating jobs and what will not? Even the top economic advisors admit not knowing for certain how to apply the funding.

    Accept it John, you lost the election due to your own incompetence in providing sound proposals – much less knowing how to even organize a successful campaign.

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. happy voter

    so happy he didn't get elected !
    what about tax breaks, that so much republicans wanted and so big part in this stimulus bill, did they help creating jobs during Bush administration ?

    February 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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