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. Liberals R Out Of Touch

    Liberals have absolutely no clue about Jimmy Carter. He was one of the worst presidents in the history of the USA.

    Many of the people here railing against McCain weren't even born yet when Carter was president. These same people now have unrealistic views about what the president is and isn't responsible for.

    If Obama is elected, I hope he is held to the same bizarre standards as these fools hold Bush. Bad weather via hurricane/floods/etc? Obama's fault. Terrorist attack? Obama's fault. People hating us across the world? Obama's fault.

    I'll get my "Obama: Not my president" bumper sticker and act like a fool just like the democrats have the past 8 years just to let them know how stupid they look to the rest of us. I'll make sure to blog every negative story imaginable is Obama's fault just like how those rabid fools blame Bush for everything.

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. joseph

    obama is lousy

    June 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Robin

    Name one excellent thing Mr. Carter did while in office ?

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

    McCain is a lousy human being who sold his soul for this final chance at the White house.

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. David in Chicago

    Actually, Carter was a pretty decent president. He did help the energy crisis. From the day he walked into the White House until the day he walked out, their were 8 million more new jobs. He created the Department of Education which is still fully in service today. He did a lot of stuff but actually... if you read up on him.. it actually seems like his life's biggest achievements came after he was president. I never knew much about Carter until this article.. so I went and looked him up in the wiki. Interesting guy. I don't think he was phenomenal.. but I don't think he made as many mistakes as George Bush.

    I don't think calling someone's job "lousy" is very professional. Afterall, being president is a job. A very honorable job. Calling someone lousy is not honorable.

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. TexasLady

    Jimmy Carter is the first president I remember – I was 6. But I remember the gas lines, the inflation, my friend's families loosing jobs due to the economy.

    Now, he's off making friends with terrorists.

    Oh, yea, democrats at work

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. obama will win georgia

    this is incredibly disrespectful coming from a candidate for president. it is one thing to criticize a former president for his decisions and policies. bush is deserves far more criticism than carter ever could. at the same time, i can't see obama calling bush a "lousy president"

    straight talk sounds a lot like playground taunting and name-calling. not very presidential. it's a good thing mccain won't win the election. 30 years from now, someone running for president would call him a senile old fool

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Tired of W, OH

    Patrick Henry from Ft. Myers said: Carter 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 officers.

    Patrick, if you think that Carter was the worst President in our nations history, answer one question: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE PAST 7.5 YEARS?!? Every word you typed could be true if you just replaced "Carter" with "Dubya".

    No, Carter was not a great President, but he did not perposely and methodically erode our Constitution. He did not ignore the Geneva Convention. He did not use false intelligence to start an illegal war. And Carter sure as H ell won't be tried for war crimes like Dubya will.

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Ron

    The Supreme McJudge has spoken. Let everyone listen, and form his own opinion.

    June 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. JR, Plymouth

    Whatever one's opinion (and I would disagree with McCain), any past holder of this office deserves more respect than this sort of cheap shot. McCain proves once again his "straight talk" is just a manifestation of his basic mean and angry temperament; just the type of "maverick" to have access to that tempting button....

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. saga for Obama

    McCains campaign is like his comb over...gone

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. IndependentGA

    Well that maybe the case. But that was more than a quarter of a century ago. Most people dn't remember who Carter was. But we know all to well,who G. W. Bush is. And if you asked most people. Bush will go down as the worst president of our life time and maybe in history.
    Its funny how the GOP are bringing people in the election that haven't been around in decades. They do this because they know that they lose on the issues. The problem with the GOP is that they have no vision. Their policies are outdated and have proven to be a detriment to our society and to the world. They can't suggest with a straight face that we should embrace their policies, so they resort to the tactics of fear and smear.
    The GOP needs to regroup and come up with a vison that works for the American people. I challange any republican to tell me why
    I should support their agenda. Not why I shouldnt vote for Obama or Barr. But why should the American people and myself have faith in thier causes. Given the last 7 1/2 years....
    (sounds of crickets)
    You can't.... so do all of us a favor and keep ya mouth shut. We've heard enough of your lies and had enough of scaring us into votring for you..... GOP IS BAD FOR AMERCIA AND BAD FOR THE WORLD,,,,,,,

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Travis

    And Bush smooched McCain.

    I wouldn't ding someone else on awkward necking, Johnny Bomb-Iran.

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Nia - Phoenix, AZ

    And McCasin is one lousy Senater to AZ. Our boarders are non exsistant, the infrastructure is out dated and enificiante, The enviroment keeps getting worse and worse, people are losing there houses....just go to the local mdia pages and see for yourself how "well" of a job he doing and if you don't feel like doing that look at the way his campiagn has been managed. He bankrupted early on, still has issues raising cash....is that realy what we want for our eceonomy?

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Shelly in IL

    NO, I can gaurantee Bush was the lousiest ever.

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Better than your little pal, Dumbya who, in addition to being THE WORST PRESIDENT IN US HISTORY, is also a lousy individual whose hubris has almost succeeded in destroying a one proud nation! Enjoy your pet albatross, loser!

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

    This clear evidence Obama is setting the tone in this election. Obama's main attack message is that McCain will make a similar President to Bush Jr, and Bush Jr was a lousy president. Now Obama is trying to draw a less effective comparison to Carter. It is less effective first off for practical reasons. Carter was president under extremely different circumstances. We were battling communism, rather then terrorism and the Oil crisis then was supply based, while this is a demand based problem. It is also less effective politically because Obama's support among young voters will not be hurt because they simply don't remember Carter's presidency. It won't hurt it among AA (but nothing will). Also Carter is no longer relavent. Americans are not seeing the effects of Carter policies today, but Bush is the current president and we feel the effects all the time. Plus McCain keeps siding with Bush day after day strengthening Obama's analogy.

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Nathan

    Unbelievable. I have always admired McCain, although I have often disagreed with him. But the more I see, the less I like. This is just mean, and very un-Presidential. We need a leader who is the leader of the whole country, everyone. The big problems we face require us to work together. This will require some restraint, some manners, and some good will.

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Will, NYC

    True or not, a Navy man doesn't attack a fellow Navy man. That's not only unpresidential, it's disloyal to the honor of those who served like Carter did in WWII.

    I am really disappointed in him for this.

    June 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Sabrina

    McCain is out of touch with reality. President Carter is a man of honour and respect. Look at the mess we have now. In my opinion it is not Pres. Carter who was the worst but without a doubt, it is Bush by mile. Idiot!!!!

    June 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. David in Chicago

    To: Republican who loves OBAMA

    Me too! lol This is the first time. Man, Obama better not let us down right?

    June 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Ridgeway

    Excellent. Dead on and if it's possible he's an even worse ex-President. He and Jane Fonda wear sickle and hammer underwear. Carter is a senile old fool constantly working toward the undermining of America. He's a stooge for Liberals and Hamas no doubt.

    June 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. MLG

    McCain is right on!!!

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

    Jimmy Carter and Obama are VERY similar. Except Obama is more liberal and has less experience.

    Both believe in a policy of appeasment. Which failed time and time again in Iran, N Korea, and Gaza/Israel. LOOK IT UP!
    Both will meet with our enemies at a drop of a dime, but getting them to visit our soldiers is like pulling teeth.

    If you study Carter, you'll see that he promised "Change" he considered himself a "Peacemaker" but he delivered nothing.

    What did Carter realy do? He created an Islamofascist state in Iran.
    He gave N Korea nuclear technology, and the N Koreans turned around and made weapons with it.

    What really upsets me is that you people don't know jack about history, yet you're so sure of your opinions.

    Hopity hope hope, change change change.

    June 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Dandelion.

    What a douche.

    June 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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