In a fiery speech Thursday night before House Democrats, Obama rejected the GOPâ€™s characterization that the stimulus package was merely another spending bill.
â€œWhat do you think a stimulus is? Thatâ€™s the whole point. No, seriously, thatâ€™s the point,â€ Obama said at the retreat in Williamsburg, Va.
On Friday morning, McCain fought back.
â€œThe whole point, Mr. President, is to enact tax cuts and spending measures that truly stimulate the economy,â€ McCain said. â€œThere 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.â€
The back and forth is more reminiscent of the sharp attacks the two men exchanged on the campaign trail rather than Obamaâ€™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.
McCainâ€™s criticism comes after a significant period of dÃ©tente 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.