In an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday morning, McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said he thought Mr. Obama "has learned a lot in the last two years," and that there was room for Republicans to work with him.
"He is a very intelligent man. I think he's doing a lot of right things. This emphasis on cutting spending that we'll be talking about...was something that obviously was not talked about in the last two years," McCain told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "I think there's common ground because I think the president realized, as a result of the November elections, that the American people have a different set of priorities."
McCain said he was hopeful that Mr. Obama's recent efforts at bipartisanship could signal a changing atmosphere in Washington.
"I think the president has already changed a great deal," McCain said. "Tomorrow night he's going to be talking about cutting spending. That's what the message of the November election was. He'll be saying some things that we don't agree with, but obviously with the new appointments, with an agenda where he wants free trade agreements passed … I think there's going to be a number of areas that we can at least find common ground on."
McCain also said that he, like a number of other Congressional members, would be sitting with a member of the opposite political party during Mr. Obama's State of the Union Speech on Tuesday - though he noted his belief that the bipartisan seating issue was being "overblown."
"I'm going to sit with [New Mexico Democrat] Tom Udall and hopefully [Colorado Democrat] Mark Udall will be sitting where I usually sit," McCain said.
"This whole thing is a good idea," McCain continued. "I think it's been a bit overblown, but the fact is it's a good thing to do. Why not?"
McCain added that he hoped this year's State of the Union speech might have fewer "interruptions" than in years past.
"It might be nice to cut back a little bit on all the jumping up and down," McCain said. "I kind of thought we were there to get a message from the president. I frankly think the cheerleading side of it has detracted from the ability of any president, Republican or Democrat, to speak continuously to the American people without so many interruptions."
"I think there will be plenty of interruptions," McCain continued. "It doesn't matter where you sit. It might be nice to have a few less!"