HUMOR IS HARD…. The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb had a report on Friday about Princeton inviting Gen. David Petraeus to deliver its Baccalaureate address this year. In the same report, Goldfarb added, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that General Petraeus is planning on delivering the commencement address at the University of Iowa in 2010. Hmmm.”

This, not surprisingly, got some tongues wagging, since speaking engagements in Iowa by nationally-known figures are often hints about presidential ambitions. The Hill reported soon after on Petraeus’ upcoming time in Iowa, and what it might mean in “the battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.”

There’s one small problem. Gen. Petraeus isn’t delivering the commencement address at the University of Iowa in 2010.

[T]here’s this statement, out Sunday from US Central Command:

“Contrary to several recent blogs, General David Petraeus, the Commander of the US Central Command, has not been asked to speak at a university commencement in Iowa in 2010 and has no plans to do so.

“It us [sic] unclear where this rumor started, but it is not accurate.

“Furthermore, General Petraeus is not planning to run for President in 2012. He has repeatedly stated that he feels very privileged to have been able to serve our country in uniform and that he would like to continue to do so as long as those above him want him to serve.”

“When he retires, he has no intention of seeking political office.”

Goldfarb returned to the subject, adding a post script to his original piece: “This was meant as joke, though obviously it fell a little flat. Petraeus has no plans to go to Iowa that I’m aware, this year or next. I regret the confusion that has resulted from my clumsy attempt at humor.”

Humor is hard.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.