Washington (CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter called former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman an "attractive" candidate for president in 2012.
Although the one-term president said President Obama will be his choice in the next election, he said Huntsman, who formed a federal political action committee on Tuesday, is "very attractive to me personally." But he added that his "intention is to vote for the Democratic candidate."
Carter, who stirred a controversy in 2009 by saying animosity toward Obama was race-related, said race was also a factor in the so-called "birther" movement.
"I still believe that racial issue is one of the factors, not the only factor, in people accusing President Obama of not being a citizen of America. To delegitimize his administration and his actual election," Carter told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux Tuesday.
Carter said Donald Trump, who has championed the movement, accomplished what he wanted: a jump in national polls.
"Donald Trump was apparently just using it to get publicity for himself and to separate himself from the even more rational Republicans," Carter said.