Politico

In a fiery speech Thursday night before House Democrats, Obama rejected the GOP’s characterization that the stimulus package was merely another spending bill.

“What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously, that’s the point,” Obama said at the retreat in Williamsburg, Va.

On Friday morning, McCain fought back.

“The whole point, Mr. President, is to enact tax cuts and spending measures that truly stimulate the economy,” McCain said. “There are billions and tens of billions of dollars in this bill which will have no effect within three, four, five or more years, or ever. Or ever.”

The back and forth is more reminiscent of the sharp attacks the two men exchanged on the campaign trail rather than Obama’s hope of moving past partisanship in Washington. And it comes as McCain has positioned himself to becoming a leading opponent of the Senate Democratic plan, which may cost more than $920 billion if major cuts are not made.

McCain’s criticism comes after a significant period of détente between the two campaign rivals and a direct effort by Obama to woo McCain and get him involved in policy negotiations. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), still a strong surrogate for McCain, told Politico that he believed Obama was “AWOL” on bipartisan negotiations on the stimulus, further showing the discontent on the GOP side of the aisle.