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. Mike

    ...and that he was!

    Go McCain!!!!!!!!

    June 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Tully

    If your rebulican or democrat, you cannot refute this. McCain is dead on.

    June 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. zina

    Okay McCain may disagree with Carter's policies, but he should not denegrate the man.

    It seems that McCain wants to be showered with respect, but refuses to give it to anyone else. What a poor characteristic...

    June 27, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Jim

    Wow, more name calling from someone who said he wouldn't stoop to such a level...pathetic...lets blame the guy from before for your failed campaign...unbelievable...

    June 27, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. christina

    McCain is a blithering idiot! Jimmy Carter did a lot of excellent things while in office and in my opinion was a very good president.

    Go write your will you old fart!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    June 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Jeff

    ...and John McCain is a lousy non-president.

    Let's keep it that way!

    June 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Mike

    What is the point of criticizing people that aren't even in this race, and haven't said anything bad about you. Sounds like he is acting like a child.

    June 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. What an Idiot!

    So...what do you think he would say to any other political dignitary around the world. No finesses whatsoever.....what a shame.

    June 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    One thing I can agree on for sure.

    Carter was absolutely the worst President in our nations history. He was stupid, did not listen to advisors, insisted on the wrong courses–at the objection of cabinet officers.

    He was, and remains, and idealist and an idiot. And with te exception of some of his charitable endeavors–was an absolutely ridiculous choice for President.

    He is a very nice man...and I know he is well intended...but he is stupid and ignorant of the appropriate way to deal with the "evil doer's "in the world, terrorists, and megalomaniac dictators of the world.

    June 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Mod

    Ha Ha

    June 27, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Nick - Arlington, VA

    ** crickets **

    June 27, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Ed from Canada

    hey please print this..

    What sounds do the Titanic and McCain have in common????

    GLUG, GLUG, GLUG..

    Wow is he ever sinking and sinking and sinking fast...
    Why doesn't somebody throw McCain a lead life jacket and end this...???

    June 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. JA Cook

    As much as I respect John McCain for his military service, there's no evidence that he can be a good commander in Chief himself.

    He has never commanded troops. He was a pilot who was shot down and endured agonies I can only imagine. That doesn't make him a qualified leader though, nor does his record in the Senate.

    Since he first started eyeballing the Presidency in 2000, McCain's straight talk has been bobbing and weaving in whatever direction seemed to bring him closer.

    I can respect changes of heart as new information becomes available, but pandering in whichever direction the breezes blow.

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. George

    If Carter was lousy, what adjective describes the current president whom policies John McCain is running to continue. McCain might well go down as the lousiest of candidates for president. He has changed his position on almost every issue that endeared him to voters.

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Lisa

    McWar, McBush, McSame, McDumb!!!

    Hillary 08

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. SIMP

    How can anybody seriously consider this old, bitter, short tempered,
    hard of hearing bag of crap as president? John McCain is a joke. I'm so tired of hearing about him being a war hero, 30 years ago. You mccain supporters are just as dumb as he is, just listen to this senile old man and you willl see what I mean, unless you are on his level of mentality.

    OBAMA OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    08 2012

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Becky

    McCain would make a lousy president. Does McCain think that Bush was a stellar president?

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Jacqueline

    How unPresidential. Come on McCain- you sold your soul to fit in with all the cronies you railed against all these years, and now you are finding out (via Obama) that it's always better to remain true to yourself.

    Give us break! The big sleep is over; Americans now realize more than ever the destruction your party has cost us over the past 20 years and we're going to fix it this November. Karma- it's a beautiful thing.

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Shame on you John McCain to say such negative words about
    a great president and a good man such as Jimmy Carter.
    How about that rally in Unity, New Hampshire today!
    The walls are closing in!

    June 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Jimmy Carter had the foresight to put a solar water heater on the White House roof when gas was around $.75 a gallon. Ronald Reagan took it down. Now gas is $4 a gallon.

    John McCain idolizes Reagan and calls Carter a "lousy" president.

    What does that tell us about John McCain's energy policy?

    June 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. JA Cook

    As much as I respect John McCain for his military service, there's no evidence that he can be a good Commander in Chief himself.

    He has never commanded troops. He was a pilot who was shot down and endured agonies I can only imagine. That doesn't make him a qualified leader though, nor does his record in the Senate.

    Since he first started eyeballing the Presidency in 2000, McCain's straight talk has been bobbing and weaving in whatever direction seemed to bring him closer.

    I can respect changes of heart as new information becomes available, but not pandering in whichever direction the breezes blow.

    June 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Dewayne Kincaid

    Coming after Bush, it's hard to credit McCain with much discernment. I wonder what Bush will do in his dotage? As many good works as Carter do you think?

    June 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Cincinnati girl

    So what does that make President Bush?

    June 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. La Raza

    If Carter was lousy then what is George Bush? McCain has lost his bearings my friends.

    June 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. azi

    Look in the mirror McCain...you're the one who is the loser and to think I was ready to vote for you in 2000!

    June 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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