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. terry maineiac

    just like repugnants, complain, be critical and offer nothing new except the tried and failed tax cuts.

    February 15, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. Wisest one of All

    ...and the racist empty suit hussein nobama is the beginning of the end of the U. S. Proven Fact!

    Him and his cult followers really do hate the U. S. and its citizens and want the country to be destroyed. Another Proven Fact!

    February 15, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Really?

    I just love how any Republican that supports Obama, gets threatened by his parties supporters. I just don't see anything getting done, for either party, all because nobody can play nice in the sandbox.

    February 15, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. DNC must be changed.

    I absoulutely agree with John McCain. President Obama has promised to American Citizens with "a small Government with efficient works" during the campaign just three months ago. Most American easily can figure out that the $787 billion economic stimulus bill can be first borne a giant monster's Government with fat inefficient before it create 3,500,000 jobs. Around 90 billion dollars will spendthrift to build or repair Federal building, to buy cars for Federal employee, to buy furnitures of Home Land Security, 1,000,000,000 dollars for aids of ABORATION which is MURDER to some countries in Africa, 1,000,000,000 dollars for ACORN that has been investigated by FBI with VOTER-FRAUD because the fraud group ACORN helped illegally a lot for Obama...... and so on. If this bill can not create even 2,000,000 jobs instead 3.5 million which Obama and Democratic have insisted on American should impeach Obama, Pelosi and Harry Reid right way.

    February 15, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Shirley

    Who really cares what McCain's opinion is about anything ~ ~ He is just another Republican 'group-thinker' under the direction of their loud mouth leader, Rush Limbaugh ~ ~ what idiots they all are ~ ~ Thank God for we LIBERAL Democrats, who know that we don't have to be told how and what to think ~ ~ duh ~ ~

    February 15, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Tod

    John McCain is showing his true self. His party controlled this country by fear, exclusion, and greed. Now that they power has been taken away, hear them whine. John you LOST!!! Get over it.

    February 15, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Juge

    So, from your own bad spirits, you are wishing your constituents ill. If you continue this route of offering no help, in fact adamantely denying any help to this country from the bottom up (Not your top down approach {it always seems to stop at the top} ) You can kiss 2010 and the future of the Republican Party good-bye.

    February 15, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Jamie

    Sen. McCain should be ashamed to talk anything about the President, after a humiliating defeat in the elections. If people had thought that the President would be off to a bad start, he would have not won the election. I think McCain should just retire and give chances for more younger people who can think positive. All McCain says is "the democrats are spending", but if you ask him if he has a plan, he just blinks. If you don't have a plan, then don't talk about people who have a plan.

    February 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. xargaw

    Asking McCain's opinion on Obama is like asking a Hatfield to comment on a McCoy. Americans would like to hear from some recognized economists instead of a bunch of aggenda driven partisans. King and McCain are both cut from the same partisan cloth and offer little, if anything, to meaningful debate. Diaglogue like this is a complete waste of airtime.

    February 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. judesuper

    All you Arizona voters out there, let's start a movement to defeat McCain in his next election.

    We can call it, YES WE CAN – DEFEAT MCCAIN!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    new president has close to a 70% approval rating yet the GOP says he's off to a bad start. LOL....why don"t these guys just admit they are still sore from losing the election, not used to not being in power or having to deal with a POPULAR president from another party. In the end most people other than those on the far right will see thorough their sour grapes especially if the nation starts going in the right direction.

    February 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Jansue

    Joyhn McCain-if you did not like the bill as it was originally set up,
    why didn't you get involved in the negotations instead of grandstanding on the sidelines? If, as you say, the Obama Administration is off to a "bad start", the Repubs are as responsible for this state as anyone else. You refused to negotiate . You sat on the sidelines and criticized.

    February 15, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. John McCain

    Don't blame me. I voted for the other guy.

    February 15, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Matthew, Detroit

    SUPPORT the President does not mean blindly going against your own beliefs.

    I dont care if you are a Dem, Rep, or Indy, you vote on your beliefs of what is right or wrong.

    To be honest too many Republicans vote along party lines. Too many Democrats vote along party lines. NO ONE fights for what is right or what they truly believe in, although I do believe that Barack believes in his socialist agenda. When you are an elitist you believe that people can not help themselves and you must GUIDE them.

    February 15, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Savysaby

    Mr. McCain. yes, you're a war hero....and i respect that.

    But, please, you're an old time Republican.........stuck in old Republican thinking. The world has changed; America has changed; the people are moving to the future. Everything has changed.....except Republican rhetoric. The play ended....the people walked out.....too late to call them back in promising re-writes. If you're not part of the solution, your'e part of the problem.

    February 15, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. bill

    Coming from a man who chose Sara Palin as is running mate. And this will be my stock response to ANYTHING McCain has to say.

    February 15, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Cheri

    What a sore loser John McCain is.

    February 15, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Clark

    There will never be any chance of bipartisanship in Congress until we rid ourselves of all the old dinasaurs. We need term limits – maximum of 2 terms for Congressmen and Senators to keep these people from getting so entrenched. Tax cuts and trickle down economics have destroyed our country's tax base and economy. The only time in the last 30 years we prospered without borrowing huge sums of money was during the Clinton years!

    February 15, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Mimi

    The GOP came up with a plan that would have doubled jobs and cost half as much as this plan. No DEMS listened because they were too busy sneaking in a new health care plan for the entire country without review. Oh well, it's your tax dollars and your grandmother who is going to be denied care because it's age vs cost and she won't be worth the care, according to the government, she's too old. According to Daschle American's have come to expect too much from our health care system. Tell that to someone with a chronically ill family member.
    Maybe the Democrats could READ the next major bill they all sign on behalf of Americans. What exactly do they think 2 billion to ACORN is going to do? Be a BOOM to the economy? Oh, and 245 million to Hollywood film makers to purchase film.That's going to REALLY help a struggling family who doesn't have enough money to even go to the movies. Give me a break......I didn't like McCain but Obama will be a great friend of Hugo Chavez someday. Can anyone say Check Card Bill or Fairness Doctrine? Isn't Government control great? Don't come whining to me when you've lost all your rights.

    February 15, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. kevin

    There are no Republicans and no Democrats. There are only the American people. To bring political stances when our economy is in so much trouble is absolutely absurd. These people should be doing what is best for the American people, not to attempt to sway votes for future elections. Yet again, the GOP is just thinking about themselves and not whats best for us citizens.

    February 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Cecil

    Here's what I don't get. Where were all of these wonderful republican ideas over the last couple of years? Are the delusional and / or blind to the past few years? "Fundamentals of the economy are strong?" And they wonder why people are skeptical of their ideas? There is a reason why democrats have the majority in the House and Senate. Most of the shift happened before Obama was elected president. While Obama LISTENED to your garbage proposals, he doesn't have to enact any of your lunacy! Grow Up!!!

    February 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Obama '09

    McCain is a loser..how can he sit there with a straight face and say that Obama didn't sit down with the opposing team? Not only is he an idiot, he also seems to be going senile..is this guy even relevant anymore?

    February 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Melissa Langridge

    what happened to my comment ?


    February 15, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. ds

    Obama-perhaps generational theft.
    McCain- absolutely generational death!

    February 15, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. john

    if Republicans think Obama is off to a bad start we are headed in the right direction...they remind me of the joker antagonizing the criminals in The Dark Knight LOL!! "Let's wind the clocks back a year. These cops and lawyers wouldn't dare cross any of you. I mean, what happened?" Joker

    February 15, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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