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. Bill in Virginia

    McCain is a LOUSY Senator who would make a terrible president.

    Go Obama!

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Catty

    The carter administration was a dark moment in US history. 1 term was all it took!

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. Robert in Toronto,ON

    Where's the article on McCain joking about beating his wife in that same interview in Las Vegas! CNN – THAT would be a bigger headline grabber.

    You don't seem to have a problem diggin up Obama dirt, so let's see some balance.

    June 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Obama-Junkie, IL

    McCain will lose this election in a landslide if he keeps this type of campaigning going on. When McCain speaks of good presidents and bad presidents, he chooses Ronald Reagan as good and Jimmy Carter as bad. When was those last two presidencies?

    Carter was president in 1976 and Reagan became president in 1980!

    McCain is making himself into an old backward thinking Republican candidate by focusing on the 1970s and 1980s.

    Many people 60 and younger see the bad past president as George W. Bush and the good past president as Bill Clinton.

    June 27, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. ls


    June 27, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Scott

    And this is how the GOP is going to try and win.

    They aren't going to talk up how great McCain is, they are going to talk down Obama.

    McCain is on the wrong side of almost every single policy debate and can't win on his policies. So he is going to tell us Obama is another Carter, Obama is weak, partisan, untruthful.

    Like it did with Clinton, these attacks are going to blow up in McCain's face.

    This is Obama's election. He is going to win in a landslide.

    McCain has no shot at all.

    People are tired of the GOP politics, and what is great is that Obama has geared people up to be expecting these attacks, so people see them for what they are. Pure BS.

    Obama 2008

    June 27, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    And John McCain you are the clone of G.Bush...just older.

    June 27, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. A Latte Lover, Seattle, WA

    Say what you want old McNasty, but Jimmy Carter at least was a President (I remember him fondly) something you will never be!

    Women for Obama/???, 08

    June 27, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. RickytheGriff

    Jimmy Carter spent his retirement building house for Habitat for Humanity. I wonder what George W. will be doing in his elder years?

    June 27, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Mike

    Not very presidential sounding – calling a former president "lousy"...

    I wonder what one word McCain would use to sum up Bush's presidency?

    June 27, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |

    AND BUSH IS.........

    June 27, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. adam

    Maybe Carter backed off N-power b/c of its dangers of production and its undiposable waste.

    anyway, to bash Carter and embrace Bush shows that McCain is a True Republican and not the Maveric he'd like us to believe.

    June 27, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Frantz (Atlanta)

    Call me crazy, but should the focus be on Obama, not on Carter?

    Maybe he thinks we still in 1978 not 2008.

    June 27, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Lucy

    And this is the reason Obama is kicking his b*tt all over the polls!....oooohhhh...Am scrared................UGH!

    June 27, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    McCain is a lousy pilot.

    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA






    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Milly - Arizona

    Old man McCain is off his bearings again! He's just flip-flopping on everything – I remember he once praised Carter, but now he says he was lousy as he McSame is right now.

    I guess McSame prefers to bacalled McBush

    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Xavier, Saint Louis, MO

    Please! Bush gets that award, hands down!

    Obamanation '08


    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Phil, FL

    GW Bush 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.

    He started a needless war and Mcwarmonger has set him up as his idol. 95% agreement –

    No to McShame

    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. MCM

    G W BUSH is the worst president EVER!!! Carter wasn't great, but he was FAR better than the chump in office at present!

    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Didine - Maryland

    I just can not believe John McCain, calling a former president name. He is so unpresidential. I am very disappointed by him and he will never get my vote. What a childish attitude!

    June 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Neutral

    It cannot be disputed, Carter was indeed a lousy President. Carter would give this country to terrorists if given a chance. His botched up rescue of hostages in Iran have killed few of our good men in uniform. Not only Carter was a lousy President, he is also as stupid as they come; him and Bush are on a race who's more stupid Jimmy Carter or Bush?

    McCain 08!

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Kenneth M

    I liked McCain better when he was vetoing bear.

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. All is Fair

    If Democrats want to connect Bush and McCain, then I see no problem with connecting Obama and Carter.

    Fair is fair

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Matt

    You ain't seen nothin' yet.

    Uhhh...bama will take the throne as the new 'Worst Ever' from ol' Jimmy.

    Clinton will have to settle for third place.

    June 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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