June 27th, 2008
09:33 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain calls Carter a 'lousy president'

McCain delivered a tough assessment of Carter.
McCain delivered a tough assessment of Carter.

(CNN) - John McCain directed his trademark straight talk toward a former president, flatly calling Jimmy Carter a "lousy" commander in chief.

The Arizona senator has long attempted to portray Barack Obama's policies as in the mold of Carter's, though the Republican has previously held back criticizing Carter so directly.

But in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun published Friday, McCain was decidedly more blunt than he has been in the past. McCain, who is a proponent of nuclear reprocessing, was asked why he thought Carter was against the process when he was president.

"Yes, because Carter was a lousy president," McCain quipped. "This is the same guy who kissed Brezhnev."

McCain's comments are in reference to the now famous moment when Carter and then Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev kissed after signing the SALT II treaty in 1979. Both the agreement and the kiss were widely panned by Republicans.

Carter himself largely stayed on the sidelines during the prolonged Democratic primary race, refusing to publicly back a candidate. Though he had long dropped several hints that he was a supporter of Barack Obama and he formally endorsed the Illinois senator shortly after he tied up the nomination.

Watch: Jimmy Carter sounds off


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. A.

    I'm so sick of people calling this pathetic man a war hero.

    1. He was drafted.
    2. He sucked.
    3. He has no character.

    More like war monger.

    June 27, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. D Mills Garland, Tx

    God I hope we're not stuck with McCain for 4 years!

    Obama/Clinton 08

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Democrat in LA

    I heard this was Jimmy Carter's response:

    "John McCain was a lousy airman."

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. John

    I was pretty young when Carter was president but I can certainly remember all the jokes about him and the gaffes he did. If Obama gets in – history will be repeating itself.

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. steve

    Carter did what every President hasn't had the genitalia to do–tell the American people the truth about how they are wasting energy, and need to conserve. Been on a binge since, with policies disguising the reality that oil is not a sustainable primary source.
    Despite being publicly for campaign finance reform, been writing letters to agencies for lobbyists and their firms–don't have to ask for anything specific, letter is enough that this interest is "with me". His staff are big lobbyists waiting for their payday after the election, make their pile of $$$ for their clients (think BIG OIL!).

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. TheNumantine

    err...John, Jimmy isn't on the ballot against you. Do you know what year we're in? What century?

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. disgusted

    I cannot believe that he actually said that!!!. This is someone who supposedly loves this country, and yet finds no issue will slamming someone who has already served his time in office. You have a lot of nerve and absolutely no tact Mr. McCain!!!. At least Jimmy Carter was an honest man who did his best, loved his wife and family and stuck by them, and firmly believed in what he thought was right.

    John McCain doesn't have the slighest clue as to how to be honest, how to stick by his family and can't stick by what he thinks is right because he changes his mind every five minutes.

    Give it a rest and go back to your barbeque....I understand you could have a future on the trail as a cook......

    June 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Michael

    SIMP (this must be an abbreviation of simpleton). McCain went through misery he only endured because he would not leave his men.–misery you and I cannot imagine. For you to refer to him as "a bag of crap" says a lot more about you than is does Senator McCain.

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Bdiddy from Chicago

    Yeah let's talk about lousy Presidents, let's talk about inheriting a balanced budget with a surplus, no debt, then see that turn into over a trillion dollar deficit. Let's talk about $4 a gallon gas and by fall maybe at $5. Let's talk about record foreclosures across the nation, Let's talk about the nation, let's talk about the worst stock performance since the depression. Let's talk about food prices soaring nationally, the weakend dollar globally, fewer jobs, higher education costs, pending lapse of social security, health care costs and no one being able to afford health bills, lets talk about $150 Billion a year on one war and we're fighting 2.

    Yes Senator McCain great idea to go back 28 years and 4 presidents to pick on Carter, you just lost my vote...at least be honest with yourself. G.W. Bush Will go down as the worst President in this Nations History.

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. The Surly Scholar

    Apparently Carter was a lousy president because he refused to ride an atomic bomb all the way to Moscow, a la Slim Pickins.

    A REAL leader would have started a nuclear war.

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    McCain is a blithering idiot. While the country did suffer economically under Carter (thanks OPEC), he was responsible for bringing together Israel and Egypt. This was the first time an Arab country recognize Israel's right to exist. Contrast anything Carter did with the policies of current Moron and Chief and you can see what McFlip Flip has to offer as a President (FOUR MORE YEARS).

    June 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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