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. David Peter

    George Bush is the worst president.

    June 27, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. ANGIE

    thats funny says carter was lousy but praises bush and his policies hes a real funny man that mccain

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Brad

    McCain is an idiot. Listen, you grumpy old coot, at least Carter made an attempt at the concept of peace. All McCane ever wants to do is solve things by throwing the bodies of our youth at it and hoping a few get impaled. Shut up McCain, you're lousy. Go away already, you senile prick.

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Observer in Observing, MI

    And Carter inherited his problems from who?

    Tell me.

    No Sir, I reject your judgement of Carter. The man was as far ahead of

    his time as you are behind yours.

    How's the view from 1976 McCane?

    No Thanks!

    Obama '08

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Jerry

    McCain is a warhead that all he talking about is war I need help with my bills that what American is looking for a president who cares about us in American with this bad economy I dont trust McCain how he going to call Carter lousy president look at his friend Bush

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. CS in PA

    Gee, McBush, I am wondering what you really think about the current disaster we refer to as president? True to the Republican form this week – the religous nuts and now the senile fools slinging slum and mud!

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Ghani

    Wow! a 71 years old, bold headed candidate calling another 70 and above years old former president "lousy"! What could the voter expect from such a candidate other than lousiness.

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Democrat in 08!

    Are you serious? Not the fact that he called Jimmy Carter lousy but the fact that his remarks can be directed at Bush. What a hypocrite!!!!!!! And a lying one at best!!!!!!! This just goes to show how out of touch Mccain really is and this guy is running for president? He can't even talk about a president that is relevant today. What the hell Jimmy Carter who cares! Why doesn't he talk about how lousy Bush is as a president since he is the one affecting everybody badly in America today! Even though I would use a stronger word to describe Bush!

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. EDW

    My dad is 72 years old and has learned a lot of grace over the years. Mr. McCain has not.

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. John McCain is a lousy Non-President

    Way to go John McLousy

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. John McCain-McFlip-Flop-McBush is no "maverick"

    And you, sir (although you don't deserve the polite title), have no room to talk because you've hugged George Bush ( the lousiest president in our history in case you haven't noticed his 23% approval rating – the lowest EVER – with the AMERICAN people) and embraced 95% of his policies. So you differ by 5% friggin' percent?! Whoop-dee-flippin"-doo!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Mohan

    This is the problem with Conservatives and Republicans. They despise and humiliate dignified personlaities the rest of the world respect. So long as McCains, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Carl Rowe and the like form the core of Republican party, an Obama victory is ensured.

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Well Informed Voter

    McCain should stop the name calling, and concentrate on issues at hand. He knows better.

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Ray n Jax

    Once again McCain's dementia is exposing itself.. The worst President currently lives in the White House. So Mr McCain since your in the fall of your life and your dementia is progressing to unthinkable levels, why don't you just give it up.. You can save America from yourself!

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. California Voter

    To put it another way, Carter has done more good since he left office . . . . . . . however, I would question how wonderful some of the recent Republican presidents have been as well.

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. ProundToBeDemocrat

    Mccain the Old man he can not find anything wrong with obama, now he trying to get Carter involved it ain't going to happen Mcbush, pesident Carter is too smart for that all he going to do is ignore you.

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. John

    Ah, Mr. McCain...and how many U.S. servicemen died in combat during Jimmy Carter's term?

    Apparently, Bush or McCain don't believe the Commander-in-Chief is doing his job unless U.S. soldiers are dying in a war nobody cares about!

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |

    He is attacking Carter so he'll have an excuse to attack Obama. This is such a weak attempt.

    McCain doesn't even deserve to stand in Obama's shadow. These republican attacks are sickening and only makes them all look bad!

    Obama will win on November!

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. JONNA

    Just like a bully, pick on people who can't defend themselves. Shame on you McSame

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Crush Rush

    McCain will lose in a landslide and he knows it,hes just making talking points for 2012.Big Oil runs the world now and will screw who ever is not playing ball.

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Ray from CA

    I can't belive this
    I hope Mr. Carter and everyone else come after McCain for what he said I am so sick of what he said
    You are a filithy person McCain and you will never be president

    June 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. J in Houston

    McCain is spot on with what most Americans think. I love all the little kiddies coming in talking about President Carter being a good President. You can tell they obviously weren't alive at that time.

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. freddie

    Just like Peepaw makes out with GW every chance he gets!! Well...it's the weekend so he needs to go home and rest I guess.

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain

    Duh ! Well obama would be the next Carter if elected. Carter ran on a similiar message in 1976 But actually had experience as a governor.
    Obama would be a 2nd Carter Term.

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Seems like a play for the conservative vote to me.

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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