McCain: 'The president won'

“The president won. I give him credit, he won,” McCain said on CNN’s “New Day.” “But he should have negotiated earlier, and we could have prevented some of this pain.”

The senior senator — whom Obama defeated in the 2008 presidential election — said he predicted the outcome of this battle because of the shutdowns he witnessed in the 1990s. McCain is confident, he said, that it won’t happen again. 

“We’re not going to shut down the government again. I guarantee it,” he said. "We’re not going to go through this shutdown again because people are too traumatized by it.”

Early Thursday morning, President Obama signed a bill Congress had just passed to lift the debt ceiling and reopen the government after being closed for 16 days. 

The measure is only temporary, and Congress has until January and February to resolve the nation’s fiscal issues. A smaller agreement is more likely than a larger deal, McCain said. 

“I think we could reach a smaller agreement than the ‘grand bargain.’ If we can just get a budget for the year, I’d be overjoyed." 

Republicans, McCain admitted, have suffered the most from this debate. 

“The American people disapproved of Republicans the most. But also Democrats and the president. Everybody suffered in this thing.”  

On the GOP’s internal struggle, he added, “There’s a fight in our party, and that fight has been to waged.”