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. Eric

    Look at the pictures up top. Carter looks younger!!!!! LMAO!

    Obama 08!

    June 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Democrat in LA

    Hey, better to be a lousy president than a lousy senator– and from a third-world, fly-over state to boot!

    Rating McCain's presidency won't be an option for any of us, thank goodness. Anybody else hate having to wait four more months for the inevitable? Give me that remote with the real-world fast forward button.

    June 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. pam Eugene OR

    That was very rude Senator McCain. You have no tact or diplomacy at all. I would never want you to represent our great nation. You need to go back to bed and hopefully crawl back out on the other side.
    Shame on you!

    June 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Dave of Oregon

    Just what you would expect of McCain! Try to make Obama into a Carter, this will not fly! President Carter had very endearing presidential policies. And by making Carter less than desirable, this is supposed to shake McCain from Bush, which will also not fly! McCain is unmistakably attached to Bush, who is a deplorable president, while Obama cannot be attached to Carter who is not a deplorable president. The right will always want to show that Carter was bad while forgetting about Bush who is bad! Now, that is a problem indeed!

    June 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. RP

    Carter was a disaster as a president. It was his poor handling of the Iran hostage crisis that gave rise to the modern terrorism. He makes Bush look like Abraham Lincoln. No one can seriously say Jimmy Carter was a good president......even Democrats can't be that dumb

    June 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Ken from Utah

    I'm a Obama supporter, but come one! Like the dems haven't ripped Bush a new one?

    OBAMA '08

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. KenB, Michigan

    Is anyone else reminded of the dancing chipmunk in CaddyShack

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Liam 1982

    McCain should stick to lawn bowling and yelling at the neighbourhood scamps who look through his window while he peruses his Wilfred Brimley superhero comic books...OBAMA please 08

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Joe Reg

    I thought Carter was enjoying his retirement.

    What about the last 8 years of Repubs administration?

    Deficits, wars, economics mismanagement.

    No more repubs, not this time not this year.

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. POW/MIA Daughter

    Wow!

    At least Carter didn't attack the POW/MIA family members like John "Songbird" McCain did.

    POW/MIA Family members ask how can John McCain be trusted to keep his promise as President of the U.S. to bring our troops home with honor from Iraq when he left his fellow Americans in chains and wrote them off for dead (against the weight of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary)? The answer they insist is that John McCain can not be trusted to do the honorable thing if elected because he has already dishonored his fellow servicemen some of whom still languish behind in captivity and despair.

    McCain was well aware of thousands of live-sighting reports of POWs, aerial photographs and satellite imagery of pilot distress signals from the ground in Laos and Vietnam and heard testimony from witnesses telling of POWs in captivity but McCain chose to disbelieve it all. The benefit of the doubt went not to his fellow American POWs. Either McCain was deaf, dumb and blind, or he turned a blind eye to the truth POW/Family members conclude

    Sen. John McCain did not in good faith pursue all leads in the search for the missing and unaccounted for POWs after the Vietnam War when he had an opportunity to do so. Moreover, POW/MIA family members point out that McCain used every tactic and ploy he could to bury the issue and close the book on POW/MIAs forever. He acted as judge, jury and executioner.

    I can go on and on about this fine man but I won't as I am sure this is all going to come out as the election process continues.

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. AWH

    great post Brain from SC...I couldnt agree more...at least Carter didnt start two illegal wars on lies and profit all the way to the bank like "Dumbya" and his croonies have

    Not to mention the complete destruction of our civil liberties and way of life under Bush...No when its all said and done history will not look favorable to Bush or Congress during the last 8 years

    June 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. marie

    People just can't except the "TRUTH".

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. ??

    Can anyone tell me why Teflon John McBush is even remotely close in the polls? He's turning out to be a bigger idiot than Bush....

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Al - NYC

    It's not just Carter... Pres – Reagan, 2 Bush & Clinton

    did nothing to prepare for America's future energy needs

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Bridget

    McCain is right!!!

    Go McCain!

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Michael

    TO JA Cook,

    You sound like a reasonable person. However, although being a pilot and a prisoner of war for five years who could have gone home in the first year does not qualify one to be president, I would match it against an undistinguished term in the Illinois legislature.

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Justice League

    Wow! Actually Bush makes Carter look like Eisenhouer. Too bad Carter couldn't fly a plane. If he had, Delta Force would have gotten the hostages out of Iran. I guess crashing the plane was Carter's fault.

    McCain is REALLY reaching. He just dropped a clip in, and now is going to spray everybody. By November, he is gonna smell like a dirty litter box

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Jeb

    Songbird McCain – Please Google it.

    Also, I believe the current Idiot-in-Chief will be recorded as the Worst President in History.

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Dave of Oregon

    Just what you would expect of McCain! Try to make Obama into a Carter, this will not fly! President Carter had very endearing presidential policies. And by making Carter less than desirable, this is supposed to shake McCain from Bush, which will also not fly! McCain is unmistakably attached to Bush, who is a deplorable president, while Obama cannot be attached to Carter who is not a deplorable president. The right will always want to show that Carter was bad while forgetting about Bush who is bad! Now, that is a problem indeed!

    June 27, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. John

    Mcbush is a loser, Bush wannabe, thank god he has no chance in winning. He lost his mind in nom and will never be president here, ever. Go back to Arizona loser. The GOP dosen't even like him. This is going to be the greatest landslide victory in American history . Obama/Clinton 08/12

    June 27, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Kevin

    John McCain please stop insulting this man of honor.

    June 27, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. ov

    So name-calling is now also part of the "trademark straight talk." Was it also "straight talk" when he chuckled after a supporter called Senator Clinton the b-word? The media needs to do a better job of reporting rather than parroting Senator McCain's brand strategy. We deserve better.

    June 27, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. McCain supporter

    McCain Can you respest yourself please. why are you call somebody that did not say anything about you. You are going negative . If you go negative I will not vote for you.
    Jimmy Carter' did not leave his wife on the sickbed.
    Jimmy Carter is a nice one so better becareful on what you said about somebody.

    June 27, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Stephen H

    Wow, if McCain thinks that Carter was a lousy president, then how does he feel about that disgrace serving as our current president? What purpose does it serve to denigrate Carter in this way? I dont recall Carter lying to the American public to enter into a war for political reasons. Nor was Carter in the pockets of the big oil companies. Jimmy Carter was unlucky, not incompetent. Carter was a victum of bad timing in our nation's history. A Republican president in 1976 would have yielded the same results.

    When you just consider competencey, I'll take Jimmy Carter over your boy Dub-ya any day of the week!

    June 27, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Phil, FL

    Vote all the republican rascals out in November.

    Let's get this country back on the right track – American jobs – American products – American Constitution – American laws.

    Just vote no to republican incumbents !!!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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