Thom Hartmann Dangles October Surprise Bait for Jimmy Carter - and Fails to Reel Him in

His interview with former president Jimmy Carter didn't go quite as Thom Hartmann expected, which made it all the more amusing.

As Carter continues making the rounds to drum up sales for his new book, he was a guest on liberal talker Hartmann's radio show Tuesday, but there was something else that Hartmann wanted to talk about first. (Video after the jump)

Here's how the conversation went as Carter deflected Hartmann's attempt to resurrect ancient left-wing conspiracy theories --

HARTMANN: I'm very pleased to welcome back to our program the man that I consider the best president of my lifetime, Nobel Peace Prize-winner, one of our world's genuinely great statesmen, president, former president Jimmy Carter. He has a new book out called "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power." President Carter, welcome back to the program.

CARTER: Thom, it's good to be on with you and folks all over the country.

HARTMANN: Thank you so much. Uhm, before we get to your book, which I have read most of and I think it's absolutely brilliant, I have an unrelated question about American politics. Do you mind if I ask that or would you prefer ...

CARTER: I don't mind.

HARTMANN: It's OK?

CARTER: Yeah.

HARTMANN: About three or four years ago, the LBJ Library released tapes of LBJ working with Everett Dirksen trying to stop the Nixon campaign in '68 from blocking LBJ's peace deal with South Vietnam. They were not successful and Dirksen called what Nixon did treason and those tapes are now available. (Former Iranian) president Bani-Sadr has said that something similar happened to you during the Reagan campaign and George W. Bush was only president because of the intervention of the US Supreme Court, something you've commented on in the past. I'm wondering, you know, have we had a legitimately elected Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower?

CARTER (forced chuckle): Well, I think so. I wouldn't want to, I wouldn't want to comment on that. That's pretty, pretty gross. But yeah, I think we've had a legitimately elected president. I don't think that George W. Bush won the election in 2000 against Al Gore because I think that he probably lost Florida and also nationwide. But, you know, when the Supreme Court rules in our country, that's what we have to accept.

HARTMANN: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, in your book ...

Oh man, that one had to sting -- right after Hartmann introduced him as "one of our world's genuinely great statesmen" (as opposed to the merely great), Carter shoots down Hartmann's fringe theory about the illegitimacy of GOP presidents as "gross" -- as in, grotesque. Further, "when the Supreme Court rules in our country,," Carter points out, "that's what we have to accept." Hartmann's response? "Absolutely."

Yet within the last month, Hartmann was pedaling the debunked October Surprise theory that top Reagan campaign officials conspired to delay release of American hostages from Iran until after the 1980 election. Now that One of Our World's Genuinely Great Statesmen has signaled his disdain for such conspiracy mongering, will Hartmann finally stop flogging this dead horse? My guess -- absolutely not.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts