June 27th, 2008
09:33 PM ET
12 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. wycliffe, NJ


    June 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. jen

    Well McCain just lost the Habitat for Humanity crowd....He is the gift that just keeps giving. His theme song should be Desperato by the Eagles.

    June 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. YO

    That's non-befitting of a presidential candidate. Shame on you McShame.
    Carter is a true statesmen, McCain is a War Monger.

    June 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. MN Indy

    And yet Carter still had a higher approval rating than the current president...whom McCain has nearly identical stances with...

    June 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Sue in MI

    Gosh, that takes balls-calling Carter lousy after what we have put up with in the current administration, and what McCain plans to continue should America be duped again! Carter kept us out of war, actually felt the pain of the poor, and is a genuine Christian. In my book, he goes to heaven, and the rest of the Washington bozos, not likely!

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. cmitch FW, TX

    McCain's will be a lousy president as well. This man is clueless and frightens me. A nuclear war waiting to happen. He is not sure of himself.

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. TEXAN

    OH MY GOD....I can not believe he said this !!!!!!! He is not showing any respect for a former President. AND....he does not have any tact.
    HE IS NOT PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL !!!!!!!!!!!!! His lack of respect and tact will probably get the country into BIG trouble someday. Once again, this shows that Obama is BEST for our country. GO OBAMA !!!!

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Okay, so worst case scenario...

    Obama is another Carter, McCain is another Bush. I'd still take Obama in that case any day of the week

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. SGJ, Chicago, IL

    I smell desperation!

    Senator McCain is a flawed candidate. He is at his best when he is himslef which will turn off the Hard core (far right wing) Republicans. So he flip-flopped on enough to get them back on his side, but now enough indpendents are wary of him being too much like Bush. Now if he tries to calm those fears the right will flee again.

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Tim

    Of course he was a lousy president. Any "good" republican president would have started a war with the Soviet Union.....


    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Connie, Tennessee

    Since McCain is trying to potray himself as SO PATRIOTIC, everyone not old enough to remember when he was a prisioner of war should visit he web site of VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST JOHN MCCAIN. It is very enlightening. Apparently the Navy didn't think he was smart enough for a leadership position.

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Republican who loves OBAMA

    Typical Republican playbook, acting like little children and calling people names. McCain talk about the issues that matter to us. That is why I am a Republican who is voting for OBAMA!!!
    OBAMA '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    If Jimmy Carter was a lousy president, then what does that make Bush?

    He's fighting two wars, one based on lies, and the other, he can't win.

    He's wasted over a trillion dollars on two open-ended wars, and the gas is 4 times higher than when Jimmy Carter was in office.

    Boy, do I miss that $1.00 a gallon gas!

    And Carter's stupidity had 8 men killed, trying to rescue the hostages.

    Bush's stupidity got 4,000 men killed.

    And who is McCain following?

    June 27, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Obama Supporter from FL

    I can't believe we are going to have to hear this crap from McCain through November.

    There's going to be a run on earplugs...

    June 27, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |

    Carter looks better than McCain in this picture and Carter has already been President.

    June 27, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Glenn

    Pooooooooor McBush! he is so frustrated and angry. He absolutely doesn't know what to do. He campaign staff appear rather stupid and thus sio does he. McShame isn't even in the same league as President Carter. Look at Bush's popularity... the lowest ever. His policies and actions and his stupidity got us to the mess we are in now. McSame voted 95% with Bush. McDumb calling President Carter as lousy needs to refelct on his and Bush's eight year failure.
    This election is shaping up to be another 1964 Goldwater disaster for the GOP Senators, Representatives and Presidency.

    June 27, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Casey in CA.

    Oh, give me a break. What about Bush's love affair with Putin?

    "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul," Bush has repeatedly referred to Putin as his "good friend." Even after Putin opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he declared "I love him, believe it or not."

    McCain is a moron. I'd rather have Carter than McCain any day as president any day. At least I know A) I could trust him and B) he's not likely to start yet another WAR.

    McCain = Bush's third term.

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Chanda Cincinnati Ohio

    Since when did trying to work through issues with peaceful, thought provoking, dialoague become a four letter word in this country. America's "if you don't agree with us then we will blow you up" attitude is why this country is viewed around the world as an axis of evil. John McCain would rather drop a bomb then talk, because he is an idiot, and would not have anything of substance to contribute to a conversation wtih world leaders. Go ahead and elect this clown, and we will never regain our status as a leader in the global arena. But oh...I forgot...this country does not need anyone else.. Right!!??!!

    P.S. News flash McCain...your baby brother Bush will go down in history as the worst thing that ever happened to this country!!

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Steve

    McCain knows what he's talking about. He's got an excellent yardstick for lousy presidents. The yardstick is now serving as president. Carter had his issues, and though his heart was in the right place, he really wasn't a very good president, BUT, as many problems as he had, he didn't even come close to the problems Bush has created. When the history books are written, Carter will be treated much better than Bush.

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Enlightened Voter

    Yeah, well atleast he's not a criminal and had the worse approval rating of any president in history like your man gwb.

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Stay home, McSame

    BUt he will support George Bush? George W. Bush will go down as the worst President in at any time in the last 100 years.

    June 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Eric

    Temper, temper John McCain...

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. MK

    If McCain really was a straight talker, he would also call Bush a lousy president, you know he believes it to be true.

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. E. Bunny

    But George Bush is a winner???!????!
    Obviously, McCain can't distinguih between someone who disagrees with his ideas and "lousy government." Lousy government ignores the plight of the majority of it's citiizens. Blame the local gvernment when a Federal Agency that was created to take care of local communities hit with disaster fails to do it's job. (Why DO we have FEMA if we are supposed to dig ourselves out of sewage water when our local infrasture is compromised by natural disaster? FEMA seemed to take care of FLA when it was hit by Andrew under Bush I).

    McCain sounds senile.

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Can't fault him on that one......

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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