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. wayne

    Everybody else but John McCain realizes that he (John McCain) is insignificant. Just take your old tired out of touch self back to Arizona and do whatever old insignificant people do. Butt out!

    February 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. jaijcoo

    I don't understand why more Americans aren't into politics...It has more drama, backstabbing, double talking, fighting and dragged out storylines than any reality show I know.
    Bipartisanship is nice and all but what the people really want is food on their tables and a steady paycheck...oh and if I'm not pushing too hard, maybe decent health care. Both parties are at fault for the mess we're in. We're all at fault for the mess we're in (Well not me, I've been a perfect angel these past eight years.) So let's quit complaining and just deal with our situation. Until I have to start rationing my hair pins, I'm going to remain optimistic.

    February 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Douglas McArthur

    This is coming from a man that said that the economy was in good shape. This guy has no credibility.

    February 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Ryan

    John McCain is a complete moron. Barack Obama tried to work with the GOP on this one but they are not interested in seeing him turn this economy around. I hope Republicans realize that in 2010, if this comes down to Barack Obama vs. the Congressional GOP, that Obama will win, and the GOP will be reduced to nothing. They are destroying their own party.

    February 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. ABCamel

    'No ideas McCain'. Do something now.

    Republicans made their statement and it said nothing but "We aren't going to do anything we don't have to." I believe if they were the majority in the house and senate, a significant number would have vote yes. It's a numbers and team game – in my observation.

    February 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. PJ

    It will take McCain a long time to forgive an unknown snatching the Presidency away from him. I thought economics was not McCain's thing. Why does he have the answers now.

    February 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Riversun

    What the hell does McCain know about starts? Nothing

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. jeff

    Sore loser.

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. linell, Winter Park, FL,

    I'm sorry, sir, but it was the Republicans who were off to a "bad beginning," not President Obama. You will own this completely.

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Marie

    Face it, McCain, you lost once more.
    One of the major challenges that the country is up to right now is the lack of an adult opposition party, in Washington, DC. With the GOP party in a delusional mode, and having no clue on the economy or on any serious issue, for that matter, it cannot possibly offer a healthy an much needed opposition to government as in true democracy. The only contribution of the GOP is sending an avalanche of talking heads to the cable networks to repeat the same dated and tired arguments that contribute nothing to the debate.
    McCain, you are way out of your league.

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Katherine

    So Sen. McCain will be sending back Arizona's share of this money then? This stimulus bill that was supported and said was need by the Governors. I also recall McCain saying he didn't know much about economic issues and now supposedly he's an expert. Obama tried to negotiate with Republicans. All they were interested in doing was being a road block.

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. SoSaysSam

    You know John, if we wanted your opinion we would have elected you. Get a life, go play on your ranch or something will you, let the man fix the mess you'all made.

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. emily

    oh, john. shove it. BO sat down with the republicans, but instead they went with their usual role as the party of opposition and i'm pretty sure you were a part of that opposition hoedown too.

    February 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. William

    Senator McCain is absolutely right. People are now starting to realize that President Obama said what he did because he wanted to get elected. Obama promised Health Care would be the #1 priority, take a good look at the stimulus package and then you decide how important he really thought it was. As senator McCain said, Obama said we would have bi-partisan discussions and so far that is looking like another lie, the stimulus bill was all Democrat. Obama promised that we would create 3 million new jobs by rebuilding bridges, roads, ect., again, take a good look at the stimulus package and see if you can find anything there that is going to employ 3 million people. Obama made a lot of promises, turned a lot of Republicans to his side by telling them just what they wanted to hear. Well, those of you who were so easily duped, take a good look at what he's doing and this is just the start! As I see it, you get what you asked for!

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. disgusted

    Well since the head of the Republican party said bipartisanship is over-rated any many from the party said they were voting no before it was put online to read, not to mention they attacked the 3 senators who tried to work with the opposition party, not much point in trying if you ask me.

    For everyone who says they didn't read it, they could have if they wanted to. It was online for weeks. All that changed was some dollar amounts and the additions that the republican senators wanted. I managed to read it and it is not my job.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. pat C.

    how can you sit down with idiots when the word NO is all these dumb butts know!
    it was a sad day for america when mccain dumped his vice pick on us. we still have not recovered from that one. if mccain were the president today he would be on life support and palin would be financing her bridges to nowhere with the taxpayers money. you betcha!!

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Hugh

    Well of course, this is quite normal reasonning coming from a Bush admirer. The contrary would have been surprising.

    Let's wait and see what the results will be, once this package really takes effect. If it is a succes, all those GOPers will look like horse @$$eS.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Christian

    McCain is the epitome of the out of touch super rich politician. Does anyone believe what he has to say? Does anyone believe he is not pushing the super rich agenda? They're his people, his constituency and the ones who keep him in office. Andthey're the ones who got us into this mess in the first place!!!

    Give me a break.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Dave

    Shocking! The guy who lost is not pleased with the guy who stomped him.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Annette Wade

    John McCain is not an honorable man! President Obama did everything he could to reach out to Sen. McCain including throwing a party in his honor. I cannot remember any President who has gone further in trying to be bipartisan. Now McCain is bad mouthing the President and it is dishonorable, disingenuous and disrespectful. I just wish McCain would keep his opinions to himself but of course he won't do that because he is still trying to please Rush Limbaugh and the extreme right. The irony is they have never liked him.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. Emilio Parzini

    Mr. McCain is again thinking that "Putin is the President of Germany." This individual needs to retire and stop meddling in "things" that he has "heard" and does not know. He does not have the faintest idea of either Politics, Economics or basic General Knowledge. I mean exactly as his former running mate, the most exalted, the all knowing, the all-wise Palin woman. One may wonder why he has beeen elected "again and again." Well, this is simple...."Among the blind, the one-eyed-squint" is a hero!

    Emilio Parzini (Ph.D)

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Nick

    Listen, John, he won the election. Get over it old man. We've had 8 years of tax cuts that have helped lead us into this mess. Time to let the other team have a shot.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. rhodis

    No Mr.McCain it was a bad beginning for all you obstructionist Republicans. We voted for change and in 2010 we will make sure we get all the change we asked for by voting every Republican out unless you sit down and talk. Your tactics are easy to see through and we are sick of them. Change or your party will be dead as your proposed presidency.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. WP

    OK, so the Republicans who brought you the last 8 years are now going to help the country by doing every thing in their power to undermine and oppose the President. They are disgusting. Where is that patriotism they proclaim? Where are their efforts to help this country?

    Wake up, you lost because of tactics like this. Get on board with helping to resolve this mess that YOU created.....and stop sabotaging efforts to get this country back on track.

    February 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    you lost the election!!! get over it and support the USA

    February 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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