Jimmy Carter: McCain a 'warmonger'

Former President Jimmy Carter says he welcomes criticism of his foreign policy from Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Rand Paul’s Russia visit displays advancement of peace through diplomacy MORE (R), blasting the veteran Arizona lawmaker as a “warmonger.”

"That's a compliment to be coming from a warmonger," Carter told MSNBC host Ronan Farrow Thursday in an interview at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

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"I was lucky enough, when I was president, to keep our country at peace and provide peace for others,” he continued after applause from the audience. “I was lucky enough to go through my four years — we never dropped a bomb, never fired a missile, we never shot a bullet."

Early this year, McCain said President Obama's handling of the civil war in Syria made him a worse president than Carter.

"I have never seen anything like this in my life. I thought Jimmy Carter was bad, but he pales in comparison to this president in my view," McCain told a Phoenix radio station.

The hawkish McCain, who is expected to become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and others on the right have compared Obama to Carter, whose presidency was plagued by numerous foreign policy crises.

Carter, though, has also been a critic of Obama’s foreign policy.

Last month, Carter said it was difficult to determine the 44th president's Middle East policy, as "it changes from time to time."

Carter also said Obama "waited too long" to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

"We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” he said. “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”

The wide-ranging interview with Carter airs early Friday afternoon on MSNBC.