The Michigan Democrat who on Friday will set the record for the longest-serving member of Congress said “the American people ought to demand better behavior from the members of the Congress on both sides of the aisle.”

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), 86, began serving in Congress since 1955 — before President Eisenhower was re-elected, with 11 presidents, casting more than 25,000 votes along the way.

Dingell said this morning on MSNBC that Gerry Ford was “a much better president than people will say.”

“Actually, Nixon was a surprisingly much better president than his reputation, although he was, as Churchill said about Cromwell, a ‘great bad man,’” he added.

These days, Dingell said, “it’s my belief that essentially with all this quarreling and haggling and fighting, we’re breaching the trust of the American people, because we’re the custodians of the system.”

Dingell and Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) are the last World War II veterans serving in Congress. Hall, 90, is the oldest member of Congress and announced last month that he’ll be running for re-election in 2014. In his youth, Hall once pumped gas for Bonnie and Clyde.

Dingell stoked controversy in 2010 when he said of ObamaCare “the harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

But he’s also earned liberals’ ire for years, being called names such as the “NRA’s waterboy” for opposing gun control.

Dingell has voted against gun-control measures such as bills allowing lawsuits against gun manufacturers, earning the NRA’s highest rating.