The left’s senior statesman, sitting down for a photo op with this degenerate in the heat of an election? After having only just recently quasi-endorsed a guy who, thanks to his associates, is already suspect on Israel? It’s too good to be true. Memo to JC: As an icebreaker, ask him how many Jews really died in the Holocaust.

Gingrich once compared Bush to Carter in how completely each managed to lose the public’s confidence. Another similarity: Each is willing to follow his principles with an almost total disregard for the political consequences.

Former President Jimmy Carter is reportedly preparing an unprecedented meeting with the leader of Hamas, an organization that the U.S. government considers one of the leading terrorist threats in the world.

The Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that Carter was planning a trip to Syria for mid-April, during which he would meet with Khaled Meshal, the exiled head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, on April 18.

Deanna Congileo, Carter’s press secretary, confirmed in an e-mail to that Carter will be in the Mideast in April. Pressed for comment, Congileo did not deny that the former president is considering visiting Meshal.

“President Carter is planning a trip to the Mideast next week; however, we are still confirming details of the trip and will issue a press release by the end of this week,” wrote Congileo. “I cannot confirm any specific meetings at this point in time.”

Follow the link for reaction from John Bolton and CAIR tool Ibrahim Hooper, who’s naturally pleased as can be. How beyond the pale is Hamas? According to his now former foreign policy honcho, Samantha Power, even Obama won’t talk to them — ostensibly because as president he’ll only deign to meet with heads of state, which in the Palestinian case would mean Abbas, but in point of fact because even he can’t work enough messianic mojo to make a summit with Khaled Meshaal go down smoothly with the public. Exit question: Which prominent Democrat will be tasked tomorrow with phoning Jimbo to explain why it’s not a good idea for someone who thinks Israel is an apartheid state to be huddling with terrorists in an election year? Will it be Obama himself? Or the left’s other secular Jesus?

Update: Patrick Ishmael e-mails to reminds us this was a long time coming.

The 39th U.S. president said he met with Hamas leaders in Ramallah, in the West Bank, after last week’s elections.

“They told me they want to have a peaceful administration. They want to have a unity government, bring in Fatah members and independent members,” Carter said. But he added that “what they say and what they do is two different matters.”