(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
Thankfully, we'll never find out how lousy a president McCan't would be.
What a pathetic comment from Senator McCain. I know Jimmy Carter was not popular at the end of his term, but I really respect the man. President Carter had to work through a series of difficult crises, but even to this day he tries to make the world a better place. So to say that Carter was a lousy president is an insult.
I'm not ashamed of the Carter years, but I'm certainly ashamed that you believe you should be president.
McCain knows lousy Presidents....he's been the lap dog for the worst ever!
That picture of Bush kissing McCain's forehead still sickens me......after what Bush did to McCain in the 2000 primaries in South Carolina.
Can't wait for the map to turn blue in November.
How dare you have the audacity to call anyone a "lousy" anything. You ought to start with your family issues. You were a lousy husband and father. And you think because you were a POW you have what it takes to be a president? How about all the unlousy pilots with the skill to not get shot down? McShame you disgust me.
McCain is absolutely correct.
If you think that Bush is the worst president ever then you would be wrong. Our terrorist loving ex president Jimmy Carter's approval rating was 5 points lower that President Bush's is right now.
Under Carter, we had 18% interest rates and run away inflation. Under Carter, we had gas shortages and gas lines.
Under Carter, we had stores running out of food because of the gas shortage.
Carter led to one of our alies ,the Shaw of Iran, to be over thrown to give us the mess that we have in Iran today.
Carter did more to mess up the country in 4 years than Bush has done in 8.
Yeah, he was a lousy President. He didn't start any wars in the middle east or push the boundaries of executive privilege. He didn't turn a deaf ear to natural disaster victims, or leave a legacy of environmental destruction to last generations.
Hell, he didn't even torture anyone – what a joke!
I guess George H. Bush was. Lol. He needs to shut up, because he wont be President so he has no grounds to call A "President" lousy. He's never been a president and he never will.
Jimmy Carter tried to help people and for that the republicans trashed him. George Bush helped military corporations over humans and the republicans admire him. George Bush stopped looking for Osama who was behind 9/11 and started an endless war against a nation that did not commit any aggression towards the United States.
Let all those who say Carter was the worst line up Bush's 8 years and lets see who really will be remembered as the worst.
carter is a moron and obama will be one
McShame is an anal cavity, my friends.
I hope it was mistakenly said-this kind of comment might backfire.
George W Bush is a "lousy" President.
Let's keep current ,old man!!
you tell them mccain!
Carters only failure was he didnt NATIONALIZE THE OIL COMPANIES.They screwed him and made a deal with the Iranians to hold the hostages till Dumbo got in office.
McCain sure has sacrificed his principals for this chance at the presidency.
I used to love John McCain (back in 2000) but the man has traded in his beliefs for a republican nomination for president.
No way can I vote for this guy.
This is coming from a big GWB supporter?
Carter negotiated the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. It was a landmark agreement and still remains in effect today. Peace treaties with subsequent nations have remained elusive.
A lot of people seem to forget that.
This was uncalled for and how in God's name can McSame as George Bush insult anyone? If he should be name calling I think lousy is more befitting the current commander in chief. This is really a lot of nerve coming from someone so closely linked to without question the worst President of the United States of America George W. Bush and his destructive political policies. Shame on you McSame, Shame on You!
Respect for Carter-LOL-he is a traitor to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND IT'S ALLIES!!!! I won't vote for Obama,but I respect him more than Carter any day!!!
is this your "honor for our country" mr. Mccaint? things were bad...yes but Mr. Carter is a great guy. how is it you can fix your lips to criticizes Mr. Carter and run to the WORST president in the US history, your friend and mentor George W.. you have insulted our nation this time. you are the typical repub, rich white guy the repubs idolize.....now i am heated!!!
your war hero days are over today is a new day mr mccain, you flip flop on every major issue, private meeting yet call yourself "transparent", we see right through you to the ENRON advisers, PACs and special interest groups you represent.those very same people who are getting richer by the destruction of our country, yes those status quot supporters who backed Bush and now his protegee McCain!!!
you know what i have go now and donate another $25 to mr. Obama. i urge every free thinking American to do the same...
Mccain= more WAR (13 US soldiers died this week in Iraq)
Mccain= more fat cats getting richer while Americans get poorer
Mccain= a sad sad sad day in America
Very funny as well as risky choice...
Carter may not have been our most successful President, in fact I've never forgiven him for letting our hostages sit in Iran for more than a year before any serious attempt to free them was undertaken. But if McCain had an issue with Carter kissing the Russian after an historic agreement, I'm waiting for his comments about the time Bush looked into Putin's eyes and said he had seen his soul and he could be trusted........
Yes, you are right. He did nothing for USA but to meet with Hamas and Iran,,,
Is this how you run a 'respectful' campaign? By insulting a former president that many, many people respect?
CARTER HAS CONTRIBUTED MORE TO THIS NATION
THAN MCBUSH AND ALL HIS CORRUPT LOBBYISTS
SLEAZOS THAT HE SHARES WITH BUSH & CHANEY.
CARTER DOESN'T WRAP HIMSELF IN THE AMERICAN
FLAG WHILE LOOTING OUR POCKETS, AS SLEAZO DOES,
HE PUTS HAMMER IN HAND & GOES TO WORK. AND
HE HAS THE IQ OF SLEAZO & PILL POPPER COMBINES.