Yesterday former President Jimmy Carter endorsed Donald Trump. Except he didn’t. Plus Donald Trump wants a do-over in Iowa…. (More)

“Of course, I’m a Democrat and I will support the (Democratic Party’s) nominee”

Former President Carter was in London to address the House of Lords on his work to eradicate Guinea Worm Disease, a Carter Center project that we covered in depth in 2011. In a Q&A after his address, a reporter asked which candidate he supported, and his response was what you’d expect from a former president:

“I was hoping I wouldn’t get that question, but I’m not surprised,” Carter said. He then launched into a confident, five-minute response that began with him recalling his own surprise victory in the 1976 Democratic presidential caucuses (“I was the one who put Iowa on the map”) and proceeded to his analysis of this year’s results there.

“Bernie Sanders has had a remarkable showing, particularly among young people. In Iowa, he had 85 percent of young people’s (support),” Carter said. “I don’t know what the final result will be. My own personal opinion is that it’s very likely Hillary Clinton will still prevail in the Democratic party. Of course, I’m a Democrat and I will support the (Democratic party’s) nominee.”

Then he turned his attention to the WHannabes and said he thinks Trump’s appeal will fade as voters get serious:

“When people actually get ready to put on a ballot, ‘This is the person I want to lead me for the next four or eight years, I think they’ll have a little different opinion,’” Carter said.

Still, better him than Ted Cruz.

If he had to choose between Cruz and Trump for the Republican nomination, Carter chuckled, “I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you.”

(It did, judging by the loud laughter from the audience.)

“The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable,” Carter explained. “I don’t think he has any fixed (positions) he’d go the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far right wing policies he’d pursue if he became president.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution headlined that story “Jimmy Carter: I’d Choose Trump,” because clickbait. Politico was a smidgeon less misleading, with “Jimmy Carter: I’d Choose Trump Over Cruz.”

“His favorite candidate”

Of course the right wing blogosphere piled on, with RedState and another Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline calling it an “endorsement,” while PoliStick’s Matthew Burke left any semblance of truth in the rear view mirror:

“Former President Jimmy Carter, widely considered the second worst president in American history, only behind fellow leftist Barack Obama, has weighed in on the GOP presidential field and announced on Wednesday his favorite candidate.”

First, there have been dozens of surveys to rank U.S. Presidents. Only two – surveys of historians by Sienna Research in 1982 and the Wall Street Journal in 2005 – ranked Carter in the bottom 10, and none worse than 34th. To put that in context, the five most recent surveys rank George W. Bush in the bottom 10, and none of those ranks Carter lower than 32nd. Yes, conservative historians place Carter in the bottom six, but not even they rank him “second worst.” Below him, they rank Richard Nixon, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant and, as the worst ever, Warren Harding.

In terms of popular opinion, a C-SPAN survey of viewers put Carter in the middle, just behind Bill Clinton and just ahead of Gerald Ford, and both Rasmussen Reports polls and FiveThirtyEight survey aggregates placed Carter in the middle of the pack. So by “widely considered,” Burke really means “in my opinion.”

And again, former President Carter did not announce “his favorite candidate” in the GOP race. He assessed two awful options – frontrunners Trump and Cruz – and decided Trump might be less awful. But why let pesky facts get in the way….

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“This guy is really fraudulent”

Speaking of not letting pesky facts get in the way, after throwing a Twitter tantrum Donald Trump said he may sue to overturn the Iowa caucus results:

In an interview on Boston Herald Radio on Wednesday, Trump criticized the Cruz campaign for spreading a CNN report saying Ben Carson would not travel to New Hampshire and South Carolina after the Iowa caucuses, suggesting Carson was getting out of the race. Cruz apologized to Carson on Tuesday for his campaign not sending out updates that Carson was doing laundry and not dropping out.

“One of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. They said he was quitting the race and to vote for him,” said Trump.

Asked if he would sue, Trump said, “I probably will; what he did is unthinkable. He said the man has left the race and he said it during the caucus. And then when the clarification was put out by Ben Carson saying it’s untrue, they got the statement and they didn’t put it out.”

Trump also attacked Cruz over a misleading ‘voter violation’ mailer that probably hurt Cruz more than it helped him, and added:

Trump stated, again, Cruz was “a nasty guy.”

“I’m pro-life. He told everybody I was pro-choice. He also said I was totally in favor of Obamacare and it’s the exact opposite.”

“This guy is really fraudulent,” Trump concluded.

Somewhere, a pot and a kettle are groaning in disgust.

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Photo Credit: Ralph Barrera (AP)

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Good day and good nuts