February 15th, 2009
11:49 AM ET
12 years ago

Stimulus bill was 'a bad beginning' for Obama, says McCain

CNN

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. Jackie

    Democrats made a gazillion concessions to the Republicans with this stimulus package– and they didn't have to. Obama has bent over backwards (too much, in my opinion) to include Republicans in the solution. But of course, there's more whining and complaining for Republicans to do since they didn't get ALL of the ridiculous and ineffective components they wanted.

    Nothing but posturing. When the economy recovers, I look forward to hearing and reading all the creative ways the Republicans will attempt to take credit.

    February 15, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. amf

    There is very little in this bill that is going to stimulate the economy. There is way too much pork and too little tax savings. Its great you all will have $13 more in your take home pay, that is if you have a job and next yr it will be $7 more. In the meantime utilities and everything else is going up. Tax breaks for new cars, very nice but who can afford one.
    Billions is going to A.C.O.R.N but they are under investigation for v.o.t.e.r fr.au.d. This is going to be a big failure and I am just going to watch to see if I am correct.. I will base my voting next election on the results. I am sorry for everyone. I hope I can survive this mess.....And I wish everyone the best.

    February 15, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. lee

    Interesting remarks from the man who thought THAT WOMAN could be president!
    Arizona, please vote this nasty, senile, old man OUT!

    February 15, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Fatima

    What kind of credibility does McCain has??

    This is the guy who
    - supported Bush's economic policies running our deficit to Trillions;
    - supported the Iraq War that cost us billions.
    - supported the de-regulation with his buddy Phil Grahm – one of the reasons for the current financial mess.
    - supported Bush/Paulson TARP Plan with no accountability on the part of the receivers.
    - supported Bush's tax cut for the rich
    - involved in the Keating Five that cost billions (Savings and Loan bailout).

    February 15, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Shannon

    This from the guy who said the economy was sound.. Humm loser. I don't know why Arizona would elect him again. Crazy just crazy..

    February 15, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Matthew, Detroit

    MR. INDUSTRIAL.

    You are a blatant liar. Although you may not back McCain, I sure is heck did not...

    You cant say he owns 10 Mansions. That is a lie. Your argument is gone as soon as you lie. The guy owns houses. The guy owns rentals. So do many people. Many only break even on those properties. Some make profits. Get your facts straight and dont be ignorant.

    February 15, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. J

    Alright Patrick, let's take a look at that list of spending shall we?

    – $100 million for the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program
    *What inspects for Lead-Based Paint? Robots? No, its people. People with a JOB doing WORK.
    – $200 million to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program
    *Money to pay for better facilities perhaps? Replacing old equipment? Equipment and facilities made by American workers? Or perhaps, once again, hiring more people to do a necessary JOB.
    – $300 million for "Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs"
    *Money spent to hire lawyers and councilors to help women in need. Perhaps even to renovate help centers, creating JOBS for American construction workers.
    – $1 million for the Railroad Retirement Board for administrative costs
    *Money spent to hire more supervisors.
    – $50 million for Health and Human Services to carry out injury prevention programs
    *Injury prevention, in order words, preventing American workers from being being injured and unable to work because of it. Much better than workman's comp, don't you think?
    – $1.1 billion for studies on the effectiveness of different medical treatments
    *Once again, a healthy worker is better than an unhealthy worker
    — $200 million to upgrade labs and facilities for the Department of Agriculture "to improve workplace safety and mission-area efficiencies"
    *See last two points. Also, improving labs and facilities brings JOBS to construction workers and manufacturers who create the lab equipment.
    – $10 million for urban canal inspection
    *More inspectors, more JOBS
    – $16 billion to pay for student financial aid
    *More people with degrees, more people qualified for JOBS.
    – $600 million to pay for a fuel-efficient federal auto fleet
    *Less money spent on fueling, the demand goes down, less demand means lower prices. Less money spent on gas means more money spent elsewhere.
    – $650 million for the Digital Converter Box Program to help the constantly delayed transition from analog television
    *Helping people PURCHASE a product that will keep millions from being cut off from watching television, which, believe it or not, has a LOT of JOBS in its industry.
    – $485 million to the Forest Service for "hazardous fuels reduction and hazard mitigation activities in areas at high risk of catastrophic wildfire"
    *Less money spent on recovery means more money spent elsewhere.
    – Up to $1 billion for "summer activities" for youths as old as 24
    *And who runs these "summer activities"? People with JOBS. Who constructs facilities for these "summer activities"? People with JOBS.
    – $3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control wellness programs and vaccinations
    *See above comments on sick worker versus a healthy worker.
    – $410 million for Indian health facilities
    *Facilities, as in, construction JOBS and manufacturing JOBS.

    Please stop and THINK a little about how money gets transformed from paper to facilities, programs, etc. Hint: It's not magic.

    February 15, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. amf

    Lonnie you are right on. Its not dem or rep bashing time. Its solution time. Its a time to look at the issues and the bill. There are some things in the bill that I can agree with but there is about 2/3 I cannot. I think we have paid bloggers/antagonist on these blogs. Lets just ignore them and share our ideas

    February 15, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. gl, Pittsburgh

    Hope – The answer to you question is yes if they want to stop all their division between the two parties. We vote with them even though most dems thought going to war with Irqac was wrong. It is called comproimse which the Republicans have just proved they are the party of no and will not compromise.

    February 15, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Sanity has returned

    Any spending ( pork or not ) is going to create a job for someone. Sure, some of these things could have been put in another spending bill, but this is the process of a bill. Put tons of stuff in it and then work it. Seems that Dems compromised and took out many things and put in more tax cuts but Republicans don't seem to be happy about that. Truth is, they think they are the only ones who can fix things with their tax cuts and deregulation, those free marketeers. Tell those folks who have become very sick or have died with salmonella poisoning from tainted peanut products. That company filed bankruptcy and now cannot be sued. Free market takes care of itself my butt. I'm so sick of it all. I hope they keep it up and lose a ton more seats in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Mike NC

    Dear Republicans since you are the ones that have screwed up America why don't you just be quiet. President Obama tried to work with you but if it was up to you thereis only idea that you have.
    CUT TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATE AMERICA. Can't you understand that we have tried this for the last 8 years and it does not work. If you had an idea like telling corporate america if you want people to BUY AMERICAN then you should bring back your outsourced jobs so that your products are made by AMERICANS. Also how about financial institutions which have outsourced jobs to foreigners that have access to our personal information so they can service and monitor our citizens accounts . AND NOW ALL THEY TALK ABOUT IS IDENTITY FRAUD. Maybe then we would listen to Republicans again. BUT THEN IF YOU DID THIS YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET THE KICKBACKS FROM YOUR BUDDIES.

    February 15, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. jerrywayne

    Old school–move forward- we have heard this before.

    February 15, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. CDW

    To Dano: I am a Democrat and I fervently hope Republicans do not abandon their long-held principles. In fact, I hope you move farther and farther right and continue to be the party of Just Say No. Nothing, I repeat nothing, would make me happier.

    February 15, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Polly

    It wasn't negotiable. Obama's giving back to those who financially supported him.

    February 15, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. steve

    Mcgrampy you are sore loser.
    President Obama did all to show you respect but all you have is gripe and whine and blast him unfairly.
    Go get yourself a good retirement home after 2010 because we would make sure we defeat you in Arizona.

    February 15, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Gwen Ermlich

    You are not Co-President, McCain. He's right..." we won... we write the bill." Get used to it. He gave the Republicans a chance to get on-board.
    They didn't. I'm sure you would have done the same thing if you had been elected. But you weren't. Get used to that too!

    February 15, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Mike NC

    Mr McCain and all Republican minority since you are the ones that have screwed up America why don't you just be quiet. President Obama tried to work with you but if it was up to you thereis only idea that you have.
    CUT TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATE AMERICA. Can't you understand that we have tried this for the last 8 years and it does not work. If you had an idea like telling corporate america if you want people to BUY AMERICAN then you should bring back your outsourced jobs so that your products are made by AMERICANS. Also how about financial institutions which have outsourced jobs to foreigners that have access to our personal information so they can service and monitor our citizens accounts . AND NOW ALL THEY TALK ABOUT IS IDENTITY FRAUD. Maybe then we would listen to Republicans again. BUT THEN IF YOU DID THIS YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET THE KICKBACKS FROM YOUR BUDDIES.

    February 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Rachel

    Patrick, many of the things you mention are not "pet pork." Have you read stimulus bills of the past like FDRs bills?? It is really important that people understand what a stimulus bill is intended to do. It is clear to me that many don't understand what it is intended for. There are so many positive things to the bill, it is a shame that the naysayers only see those........John McCain doesn't get it-The GOP are the ones that off to a bad start this year. A very bad start. They are the party of NO, the party of Hoover and it will show very clearly in 2010.

    February 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Charlize

    McCain lost all his credibility when he picked Palin as his running mate. Thereafter, anything he says or does is irrelevant for people with a brain.

    February 15, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Richard Neffson

    When John McCain uses the word "theft" to describe the borrowing to pay for this stimulus package, what does he call his $2.5 trillion alternative in the form of more tax cuts for the very rich?

    John, keep on talking so you can remind voters why you were not elected. I

    February 15, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Mike NC

    Since the Republican minority are the ones that have screwed up America why don't you just be quiet. President Obama tried to work with you but if it was up to you there is only idea that you have.
    CUT TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATE AMERICA. Can't you understand that we have tried this for the last 8 years and it does not work. If you had an idea like telling corporate america if you want people to BUY AMERICAN then you should bring back your outsourced jobs so that your products are made by AMERICANS. Also how about financial institutions which have outsourced jobs to foreigners that have access to our personal information so they can service and monitor our citizens accounts . AND NOW ALL THEY TALK ABOUT IS IDENTITY FRAUD. Maybe then we would listen to Republicans again. BUT THEN IF YOU DID THIS YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET THE KICKBACKS FROM YOUR BUDDIES.

    February 15, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. "Lost his Bearings"

    Maybe we should go line for line through the nearly 1 trillion dollars we spent "liberating" Iraq, and then we can talk about "PorK". What about the kind of "Pork" that costs thousands of American lives? Are you Republicans really suprised that no one believes a word you say anymore? As Americans we are not so dumb as to share the water hose with the idiots that set the house on fire.

    February 15, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Pat in IL

    McCain is obviously "losing it", and this is just another example that he'll say irrelevant things just to get a headline and put his former opponent in a bad light. It's too bad that he either doesn't understand the bailout or that he just wants to "dis" the President at any cost...even looking dumb.

    February 15, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Don Jones

    So how do Republican House and Senators LOOSE??? They get to "posture and bluster" about the "pork, waste, fiscal irresponsibility and the "debt to our children"!!!

    Well tell me..please, WHERE WERE the Republicans...when they DOUBLED the deficit??? WHERE WERE the Republicans when it came to "using fear to pas the Patriot Act approve spending that made the "Stimulus Bill"...look like their twin???

    When will ANYONE realize that Senators and House Members (from the Republican Party)...get to posture and bluster and attack this "outrageous spending bill"...yet ALL of their Governors and STATES that voted RED...are TAKING that money and NOT refusing it!!!

    So is the CONSERVATIVE STANDARD...TAKING AND SPENIDNG IT...or APPROPRIATING IT!!! In the end...Conservative Republicans HAVE to come to grips with ...YOUR GUY TOOK AND SPENT THE MONEY!!!!

    February 15, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Davi-May

    What ideas have McCain and buddies proposed? They can spew negative comments, but what have they proposed to correct the mess that the Republicans and their fraternity boy Prez and Peter Sellers (Cheney) lookalike have put us in. Did he not have to run back and vote on the bank bailout? What a joke that man is.

    February 15, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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