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Jimmy Carter: Hopefully He'll Live Forever


GreyhoundFan
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I hesitated to start a new thread, but we could use something nice. Happy Anniversary President and Mrs. Carter.

He is such an honorable man.

Edited by GreyhoundFan
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*Exhales slowly* I thought you were about to tell us he had died.

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2 minutes ago, Cartmann99 said:

*Exhales slowly* I thought you were about to tell us he had died.

I'm sorry. I should have thought of that. If anyone has a suggestion for a thread title, I'll make the change.

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“Jimmy Carter Will Live Forever”?  
 

......because he will, right?

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59 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

I hesitated to start a new thread, but we could use something nice. Happy Anniversary President and Mrs. Carter.

He is such an honorable man.

Best former President ever. 
To clarify, I mean as an ex president, he has worked to help others and create good in the world 

Edited by onekidanddone
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Jimmy Carter is everything someone who professes Christianity should be.

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This is an article from two years ago. I enjoyed reading it and thought I'd share: "The un-celebrity president"

Spoiler

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PLAINS, Ga.

Jimmy Carter finishes his Saturday night dinner, salmon and broccoli casserole on a paper plate, flashes his famous toothy grin and calls playfully to his wife of 72 years, Rosalynn: “C’mon, kid.”

She laughs and takes his hand, and they walk carefully through a neighbor’s kitchen filled with 1976 campaign buttons, photos of world leaders and a couple of unopened cans of Billy Beer, then out the back door, where three Secret Service agents wait.

They do this just about every weekend in this tiny town where they were born — he almost 94 years ago, she almost 91. Dinner at their friend Jill Stuckey’s house, with plastic Solo cups of ice water and one glass each of bargain-brand chardonnay, then the half-mile walk home to the ranch house they built in 1961.

On this south Georgia summer evening, still close to 90 degrees, they dab their faces with a little plastic bottle of No Natz to repel the swirling clouds of tiny bugs. Then they catch each other’s hands again and start walking, the former president in jeans and clunky black shoes, the former first lady using a walking stick for the first time.

The 39th president of the United States lives modestly, a sharp contrast to his successors, who have left the White House to embrace power of another kind: wealth.

Even those who didn’t start out rich, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have made tens of millions of dollars on the private-sector opportunities that flow so easily to ex-presidents.

When Carter left the White House after one tumultuous term, trounced by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election, he returned to Plains, a speck of peanut and cotton farmland that to this day has a nearly 40 percent poverty rate.

The Democratic former president decided not to join corporate boards or give speeches for big money because, he says, he didn’t want to “capitalize financially on being in the White House.”

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said that Gerald Ford, Carter’s predecessor and close friend, was the first to fully take advantage of those high-paid post-presidential opportunities, but that “Carter did the opposite.”

Since Ford, other former presidents, and sometimes their spouses, routinely earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it; I don’t blame other people for doing it,” Carter says over dinner. “It just never had been my ambition to be rich.”

‘He doesn’t like big shots’

Carter was 56 when he returned to Plains from Washington. He says his peanut business, held in a blind trust during his presidency, was $1 million in debt, and he was forced to sell.

“We thought we were going to lose everything,” says Rosalynn, sitting beside him.

Carter decided that his income would come from writing, and he has written 33 books, about his life and career, his faith, Middle East peace, women’s rights, aging, fishing, woodworking, even a children’s book written with his daughter, Amy Carter, called “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer.”

With book income and the $210,700 annual pension all former presidents receive, the Carters live comfortably. But his books have never fetched the massive sums commanded by more recent presidents.

Carter has been an ex-president for 37 years, longer than anyone else in history. His simple lifestyle is increasingly rare in this era of President Trump, a billionaire with gold-plated sinks in his private jet, Manhattan penthouse and Mar-a-Lago estate.

Carter is the only president in the modern era to return full-time to the house he lived in before he entered politics — a two-bedroom rancher assessed at $167,000, less than the value of the armored Secret Service vehicles parked outside.

Ex-presidents often fly on private jets, sometimes lent by wealthy friends, but the Carters fly commercial. Stuckey says that on a recent flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, Carter walked up and down the aisle greeting other passengers and taking selfies.

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“He doesn’t like big shots, and he doesn’t think he’s a big shot,” said Gerald Rafshoon, who was Carter’s White House communications director.

Carter costs U.S. taxpayers less than any other ex-president, according to the General Services Administration, with a total bill for him in the current fiscal year of $456,000, covering pensions, an office, staff and other expenses. That’s less than half the $952,000 budgeted for George H.W. Bush; the three other living ex-presidents — Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama — cost taxpayers more than $1 million each per year.

Carter doesn’t even have federal retirement health benefits because he worked for the government for four years — less than the five years needed to qualify, according to the GSA. He says he receives health benefits through Emory University, where he has taught for 36 years.

The federal government pays for an office for each ex-president. Carter’s, in the Carter Center in Atlanta, is the least expensive, at $115,000 this year. The Carters could have built a more elaborate office with living quarters, but for years they slept on a pullout couch for a week each month. Recently, they had a Murphy bed installed.

Carter’s office costs a fraction of Obama’s, which is $536,000 a year. Clinton’s costs $518,000, George W. Bush’s is $497,000 and George H.W. Bush’s is $286,000, according to the GSA.

“I am a great admirer of Harry Truman. He’s my favorite president, and I really try to emulate him,” says Carter, who writes his books in a converted garage in his house. “He set an example I thought was admirable.”

But although Truman retired to his hometown of Independence, Mo., Beschloss said that even he took up residence in an elegant house previously owned by his prosperous in-laws.

As Carter spreads a thick layer of butter on a slice of white bread, he is asked whether he thinks, especially with a man who boasts of being a billionaire in the White House, any future ex-president will ever live the way Carter does.

“I hope so,” he says. “But I don’t know.”

‘A good ol’ Southern gentleman’

Plains is a tiny circle of Georgia farmland, a mile in diameter, with its center at the train depot that served as Carter’s 1976 campaign headquarters. About 700 people live here, 150 miles due south of Atlanta, in a place that is a living museum to Carter.

The general store, once owned by Carter’s Uncle Buddy, sells Carter memorabilia and scoops of peanut butter ice cream. Carter’s boyhood farm is preserved as it was in the 1930s, with no electricity or running water.

The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site is essentially the entire town, drawing nearly 70,000 visitors a year and $4 million into the county’s economy.

Carter has used his post-presidency to support human rights, global health programs and fair elections worldwide through his Carter Center, based in Atlanta. He has helped renovate 4,300 homes in 14 countries for Habitat for Humanity, and with his own hammer and tool belt, he will be working on homes for low-income people in Indiana later this month.

But it is Plains that defines him.

After dinner, the Carters step out of Stuckey’s driveway, with two Secret Service agents walking close behind.

Carter’s gait is a little unsteady these days, three years after a diagnosis of melanoma on his liver and brain. At a 2015 news conference to announce his illness, he seemed to be bidding a stoic farewell, saying he was “perfectly at ease with whatever comes.”

But now, after radiation and chemotherapy, Carter says he is cancer-free.

In October, he will become the second president ever to reach 94; George H.W. Bush turned 94 in June. These days, Carter is sharp, funny and reflective.

The Carters walk every day — often down Church Street, the main drag through Plains, where they have been walking since the 1920s.

As they cross Walters Street, Carter sees a couple of teenagers on the sidewalk across the street.

“Hello,” says the former president, with the same big smile that adorns peanut Christmas ornaments in the general store.

“Hey,” says a girl in a jean skirt, greeting him with a cheerful wave.

The two 15-year-olds say people in Plains think of the Carters as neighbors and friends, just like anybody else.

“I grew up in church with him,” says Maya Wynn. “He’s a nice guy, just like a regular person.”

“He’s a good ol’ Southern gentleman,” says David Lane.

Carter says this place formed him, seeding his beliefs about racial equality. His farmhouse youth during the Great Depression made him unpretentious and frugal. His friends, maybe only half-joking, describe Carter as “tight as a tick.”

That no-frills sensibility, endearing since he left Washington, didn’t work as well in the White House. Many people thought Carter scrubbed some of the luster off the presidency by carrying his own suitcases onto Air Force One and refusing to have “Hail to the Chief” played.

Stuart E. Eizenstat, a Carter aide and biographer, said Carter’s edict eliminating drivers for top staff members backfired. It meant that top officials were driving instead of reading and working for an hour or two every day.

“He didn’t feel suited to the grandeur,” Eizenstat said. “Plains is really part of his DNA. He carried it into the White House, and he carried it out of the White House.”

Carter’s presidency — from 1977 to 1981 — is often remembered for long lines at gas stations and the Iran hostage crisis.

“I may have overemphasized the plight of the hostages when I was in my final year,” he says. “But I was so obsessed with them personally, and with their families, that I wanted to do anything to get them home safely, which I did.”

He said he regrets not doing more to unify the Democratic Party.

When Carter looks back at his presidency, he says he is most proud of “keeping the peace and supporting human rights,” the Camp David accords that brokered peace between Israel and Egypt, and his work to normalize relations with China. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

“I always told the truth,” he says.

Carter has been notably quiet about President Trump. But on this night, two years into Trump’s term, he’s not holding back.

“I think he’s a disaster,” Carter says. “In human rights and taking care of people and treating people equal.”

“The worst is that he is not telling the truth, and that just hurts everything,” Rosalynn says.

Carter says his father taught him that truthfulness matters. He said that was reinforced at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he said students are expelled for telling even the smallest lie.

“I think there’s been an attitude of ignorance toward the truth by President Trump,” he says.

Carter says he thinks the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has “changed our political system from a democracy to an oligarchy. Money is now preeminent. I mean, it’s just gone to hell now.”

He says he believes that the nation’s “ethical and moral values” are still intact and that Americans eventually will “return to what’s right and what’s wrong, and what’s decent and what’s indecent, and what’s truthful and what’s lies.”

But, he says, “I doubt if it happens in my lifetime.”

On Church Street, Carter points out the mayor’s house with his left hand while he holds Rosalynn’s with his right.

“My mother and father lived in that brick one,” he says, gesturing toward a small house across the street. “We use it as an office now.”

“That’s Dr. Logan’s over here.”

Every house has a story. Generations of them. Cracked birdbaths and rocking chairs on somebody’s great-grandmother’s porch. Carter knows them all.

“Mr. Oscar Williams lived here; his family was my competitor in the warehouse business.”

He points out the Plains United Methodist Church, where he spotted young Eleanor Rosalynn Smith one evening when he was home from the Naval Academy.

He asked her out. They went to a movie, and the next morning he told his mother he was going to marry Rosalynn.

“I didn’t know that for years,” she says with a smile.

They are asked if there is anything they want but don’t have.

“I can’t think of anything,” Carter says, turning to Rosalynn. “And you?”

“No, I’m happy,” she says.

“We feel at home here,” Carter says. “And the folks in town, when we need it, they take care of us.”

‘A heart of service’

Every other Sunday morning, Carter teaches Sunday school at the Maranatha Baptist Church on the edge of town, and people line up the night before to get a seat.

This Sunday morning happens to be his 800th lesson since he left the White House.

He walks in wearing a blazer too big through the shoulders, a striped shirt and a turquoise bolo tie. He asks where people have come from, and from the pews they call out at least 20 states, Canada, Kenya, China and Denmark.

He tells the congregation that he’s planning a trip to Montana to go fishing with his friend Ted Turner, and that he’s going to ride in his son’s autogiro — a sort of mini-helicopter.

“I’m still fairly active,” he says, and everyone laughs.

He talks about living a purposeful life, but also about finding enough time for rest and reflection. Then he and Rosalynn pose for photos with every person who wants one, including Steven and Joanna Raley, who came from Annandale, Va., with their 3-month-old son, Jackson Carter Raley.

“We want our children to grow up with a heart of service like President Carter,” says Steven, who works on Navy submarines, as Carter once did.

“One of the reasons we named our son after President Carter is how humble he is,” Joanna says.

Carter holds the baby and beams for the camera.

“I like the name,” he says.

A modest life

When they reach their property, the Carters turn right off the sidewalk and cut across the wide lawn toward their house.

Carter stops to point out a tall magnolia that was transplanted from a sprout taken from a tree that Andrew Jackson planted on the White House lawn.

They walk past a pond, which Carter helped dig and where he now works on his fly-fishing technique. They point out a willow tree at the pond’s edge, on a gentle sloping lawn, where they will be buried in graves marked by simple stones.

They know their graves will draw tourists and boost the Plains economy.

Their one-story house sits behind a government-owned fence that once surrounded Richard Nixon’s house in Key Biscayne, Fla. The Carters already have deeded the property to the National Park Service, which will one day turn it into a museum.

Their house is dated, but homey and comfortable, with a rustic living room and a small kitchen. A cooler bearing the presidential seal sits on the floor in the kitchen — Carter says they use it for leftovers.

In a remodel not long ago, the couple knocked down a bedroom wall themselves. “By that time, we had worked with Habitat so much that it was just second-nature,” Rosalynn says.

Rosalynn Carter practices tai chi and meditates in the mornings, while her husband writes in his study or swims in the pool. He also builds furniture and paints in the garage; the paint is still wet on a portrait of a cardinal that will be their Christmas card this year.

They watch Atlanta Braves games or “Law and Order.” Carter just finished reading “The Innovators” by Walter Isaacson. They have no chef and they cook for themselves, often together. They make their own yogurt.

On this summer morning, Rosalynn mixes pancake batter and sprinkles in blueberries grown on their land.

Carter cooks them on the griddle.

Then he does the dishes.

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I just want President Carter to live longer than the Trump administration. he absolutely does not deserve having Trump as the president who authorizes things for his State funeral.

I thought they did a good job with George HW Bush's funeral, but Trump is so petty and childish that I could see him really screwing up Carter's.

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  • 2 months later...

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

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People make fun of Biden over his age but if I had to choose between 96 year old Jimmy Carter and Bunker Bitch it would be a pretty easy decision.

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Happy Birthday, President Carter! I appreciate you for your kindness, decency, and humility, both in and out of office. May you live until the orange menace is out of office.

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  • 8 months later...

The WaPo published this in anticipation of Jimmy and Rosalynn's 75th Anniversary tomorrow: "Inseparable"

Quote

PLAINS, Ga. — When they arrived, they strolled hand-in-hand toward their pond with a graceful willow at its edge.

“We’re going to be buried right there, on that little hill,” Jimmy Carter said, motioning toward the lawn sloping up from the pond.

“There are little white azaleas all the way around the back of it,” Rosalynn Carter said, pointing and remembering the recent day when a beautiful bluebird landed on her future gravesite. “It sat there all the time I was talking to the man who was actually digging the holes to put the vaults in.”

“I’m pulling you along now,” Jimmy said, laughing and tugging gently on his wife’s thin hand.

“I know, I know,” she said, smiling at him and locking her pinkie around his.

On Wednesday, the Carters will be married 75 years, the longest in presidential history. Jimmy, 96, and Rosalynn, 93, will mark the occasion in the town where they met nearly a century ago. “They will probably just sit and hold hands,” said a friend and neighbor, Jill Stuckey.

Three days later, family, friends and Carter administration officials will travel to Plains for an anniversary party in the local high school auditorium.

On the summer evening three years ago when we met with them, they chatted happily about what they looked forward to most: gathering with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, working at the Carter Center in Atlanta, teaching Sunday school, greeting political leaders who come to Plains to talk to the 39th president. (In April, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited.)

But their health was failing, and no one was denying the obvious. Jimmy had been treated for a series of health problems, including melanoma that had spread to his brain and liver. Rosalynn had osteoporosis and had recently undergone surgery for painful intestinal problems.

They had made their peace with the inevitable, but they said the hardest part was knowing that one would leave the other behind.

Eleanor Rosalynn Smith and James Earl Carter Jr. have known each other virtually since birth. Their love story blossomed in World War II and survived the searing scrutiny of political life. Two years ago, the length of their marriage surpassed that of George H.W. and Barbara Bush. Jimmy is also the longest-living president in history.

The Carters’ union has evolved with the times, starting as a traditional “father-knows-best” marriage in the 1940s and ’50s and eventually becoming a full partnership.

Born in the Deep South in 1924, Jimmy became a champion of gender equality. He appointed record numbers of women to the federal bench, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who went on to serve on the Supreme Court.

Rosalynn, born in 1927, was at first a stay-at-home mom, but she gradually took a leading role in the family business and politics. By the 1960s and ’70s, when many women were demanding equality, she had become a pioneering voice in the State Capitol and the White House.

“Over the years, we became not only friends and lovers, but partners,” Rosalynn said at Jimmy’s 90th birthday celebration. “He has always thought I could do anything, and because of that, I/we have had some wonderful adventures and challenges.”

With her husband’s support and over the objections of others, Rosalynn Carter expanded the role of the first lady. She attended Cabinet meetings, worked on mental health and other policy priorities and formally created the Office of the First Lady, in the East Wing with its own chief of staff.

“She was representing what was happening in the women’s movement at the time,” said Anita McBride, who served as Laura Bush’s chief of staff in the White House. “She had the support and respect of the president. He saw her as an equal.”

The couple, whose journey together took them from a peanut warehouse in Georgia to the historic peace accord between Egypt and Israel at Camp David, has been inseparable since leaving the White House.

“It’s uncomfortable when we are not together,” the former president told us.

The first date

The Carters like telling the story of how they fell in love, and they shared it with us over dinner in 2018.

In the summer of 1945, he was home in Plains, their tiny hometown in south Georgia, on vacation before his final year at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

One July evening, Jimmy joined his younger sister, Ruth, and her boyfriend on a drive through town. The couple was up front in a Ford convertible, and Jimmy was in the rumble seat. He was dating a beauty queen from a nearby town, but she was at a family reunion, so he was solo.

“We were cruising around town, looking for something to do, trying to pick up a date,” Jimmy recalled as he walked home after our dinner, holding hands with “Rosie.”

They stopped, and he pointed out the United Methodist Church across the street.

“Rosie was in front of the church, right there, and I asked her for a date,” he said.

“I had come to a youth meeting, and I was standing outside,” Rosalynn said, finishing his story as she often does.

“She always thought I was cute,” he said with his famous toothy grin.

Jimmy had first laid eyes on Rosalynn when he was 3 and she was a day old. Her family lived next door, and Jimmy’s mother, Lillian, was a nurse who helped take care of the newborn.

“He looked through the cradle bars and saw me,” she said.

When they were teenagers, Rosalynn said, she had a crush on the “worldly” Naval Academy midshipman, and “Ruth and I had been trying to get me together with him.”

So that evening, when she was 17, she eagerly hopped into the car with him. They went to a movie — though neither of them now can remember which one.

“The moon was full in the sky, conversation came easy, and I was in love … and on the way home, he kissed me!” Rosalynn wrote in her memoir, “First Lady from Plains.”

As we walked down the street in Plains, Jimmy Carter said he remembered being walloped by a sudden clarity that night in 1945.

The next morning his mother asked him how the evening was.

“I went to a movie,” he said.

“Who with?”

“Rosalynn Smith.”

“What did you think of her?”

“She’s the one I’m going to marry.”

Rosalynn listened to her husband tell that story, smiling, tightening her grip on his hand.

“I didn’t know that for years,” she said.

The former president was asked if he thought their marriage was always meant to be.

“I do, yeah,” he said. “I’ve always thought that.”

Yet Rosalynn was reluctant at first. She went to the train station the day after their date to see him off on his trip back to the Naval Academy. They began writing letters to each other. A few weeks later, in August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Rosalynn said prayers of thanksgiving that her new beau wouldn’t have to go to war.

When he returned for Christmas, he asked her to marry him. She said no.

“It was all too quick,” she wrote in her memoir.

Rosalynn described herself as too “young and naive” to marry. But just a few weeks later, she had a change of heart. His parents brought her to Annapolis for a visit, and he proposed again. This time she said yes.

“As soon as I got home, he sent me a copy of ‘The Navy Wife,’ a guidebook, which I studied to the last detail,” she wrote.

In July 1946, a month after his graduation from the Naval Academy, they were married in the Methodist church where he first asked her out. She was 18. He was 21.

When he was ‘the boss’

The Carters started a life together on the Navy base in Norfolk, followed by stints in Honolulu and San Diego. Rosalynn was often alone raising babies as her husband worked on a battleship and then submarines.

It was a typical marriage of the times, he told us: “I was the boss.”

“The first part of our life, I dominated everything, except the household, which Rosalynn ran,” he said.

He said it shocks him now that he didn’t consult her about his early job moves.

“I know better now!” he said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he looked over at his wife.

Their three sons — Jack, James III (Chip) and Donnel (Jeff) — were born during the Carters’ Navy years; daughter Amy was born 15 years later.

Jimmy Carter wrote in his book, “Sharing Good Times,” that in those early years, he “never considered it necessary to seek her advice or approval.”

In 1953, he returned to Plains to be with his dying father. The trip reminded him how much he enjoyed life in his hometown. He decided to leave the Navy and move his family home — without consulting Rosalynn.

In Plains, they moved into publicly subsidized housing, which was all they could afford. He was running his father’s peanut warehouse and found that he couldn’t do all the work himself, from the office ledgers to the visits to farmers.

“So Rosalynn started running the office for me. She took a correspondence course in accounting,” he told us.

“I knew more about the business than he did,” she said, with a knowing look.

Still, it was a slow transition and not always smooth.

When he decided to run for state Senate in 1962, on his 38th birthday, he neglected to tell his wife.

“I just came in one morning and started changing my clothes, from blue jeans to a suit,” he recalled. “Rosie came into the bedroom and said, ‘Jimmy, who died? Are you going to a funeral?’ ”

Four years later, during his first bid for Georgia governor, things came full circle. He was on the phone at home when Rosalynn walked by, and he called out and told her to pack his suitcase for the coming week of campaigning.

“Do it yourself,” she snapped.

The shock of it angered and confused him, but it jolted him into rethinking his attitude. And after that, he told us, there was no part of “our business, personal or political lives that we haven’t shared on a relatively equal basis.”

An active first lady

Starting with Jimmy’s 1970 election as governor, Rosalynn was a key adviser on politics and policy.

“Dad started to change when he ran for governor, because Mom was a much better politician than he was,” said Chip Carter. “She cared about him getting elected and reelected, and he cared about the Panama Canal.”

President Carter’s first executive order created a presidential commission on mental health. He tried to install Rosalynn as its head, a role she had played as first lady of Georgia. But McBride said the Carters ran into a “buzz saw” from advisers who questioned the legality and politics of installing a family member in that role. As a compromise, Rosalynn ran the initiative as “honorary chair.”

She became the second first lady to testify in Congress. Eleanor Roosevelt was the first.

“She helped put real substance into the Office of the First Lady,” McBride said.

During our conversation that summer night three years ago, the Carters told us they frequently disagreed while he was president but always kept it private. She insisted on a one-on-one lunch with him every Thursday in the Oval Office.

“She opposed my policies a lot when I was in the White House, but never publicly,” he said.

“We would sit on the Truman Balcony in the afternoon and talk about what we did,” she said. “I told him what I thought.”

He began calling her his most trusted adviser, and he invited her to attend Cabinet meetings.

“People underestimated her,” said Gerald Rafshoon, communications director in the Carter White House. “She was really the eyes and the ears for Jimmy Carter. And she was the person we’d go to if we needed to turn Jimmy around on something.”

Rosalynn was more upset than Jimmy when Ronald Reagan defeated him in 1980. “I hate to lose,” she said.

After one term in the White House, the Carters returned to Plains and the house they had built in 1961. They were still in their mid-50s, and they decided that they still had much to do. They subsequently raised millions of dollars and traveled the world for the Carter Center, which promotes free, democratic elections, health initiatives for the poor and equality for women.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his many years of work on peace and human rights.

The Carters also helped Habitat for Humanity build houses around the world — often banging hammers side by side.

Growing old together

In March 2019, we went to see the Carters again in Plains.

But hours before we were to meet, Rosalynn, then 91, went to the hospital. She woke that day with severe hip pain and couldn’t put any weight on her leg.

When Jimmy joined us for dinner, he had just left her in the hospital, and he clearly wanted to talk about his wife. He remarked on how easy it was to be with her and “her gentleness when we have an argument.” Their disagreements were mainly trivial, such as what to watch on TV, he said. “But we never go to sleep angry.”

He pushed his chicken around the plate, not eating much.

“We found out a long time ago that we needed to share everything. I gave her plenty of space. She does what she wants to, and I do what I want to. But then we searched for things that we could together.”

He played tennis, so she took lessons. When she was 59 and he was 62, they tried downhill skiing. They went fly-fishing together from Montana to Mongolia. They spotted 1,300 types of birds on their many birdwatching trips.

Later in life, he said, he would occasionally spend a few days overseas without her for the Carter Center. But they didn’t let that get in the way of their nightly routine of reading the Bible together before bed — often in Spanish.

They would read to each other on the phone. Or, if the time difference made it too difficult, they would read alone, each knowing that the other was reading exactly the same verse.

Jimmy said that was comforting, especially on a night when Rosalynn was in the hospital 10 miles away in Americus. When he got home, he told us, he would read at his bedside while she read the same words just down the road.

Apart, but together.

The Carters frequently visit with Jill Stuckey, who installed a handicapped-accessible ramp to her back door because steps were getting harder for Rosalynn. At first, the former president insisted that he would still use the steps. But as Rosalynn grew more unsteady, he took her hand and walked down the ramp.

A couple of months later, Jimmy fell and broke his hip at home as he was heading out for a turkey hunt. On the day of his discharge after surgery, Rosalynn suddenly started slurring her words.

She was rushed to the hospital, and doctors told her that she had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a temporary blockage of blood to the brain often called a mini-stroke. Doctors said she should remain overnight, so he extended his stay, and they were placed in the same room.

“It was kind of cool to see the two of them lying there together watching the news,” Chip Carter said. “The hospital prepared a salmon meal that looked like one you could buy in a real expensive restaurant. They had a good time, I think.”

His father started every day by bringing Rosalynn coffee and orange juice in bed, then rubbing her feet before she got up. “It’s kind of this lovey-dovey thing that’s been going on forever,” Chip said of his parents. “They’ve evolved, and still are evolving, into an equality that I don’t think many people ever get.”

Jimmy has since weathered surgery for a brain bleed after another fall, and Rosalynn’s health remains frail. But they both keep up with the news.

Last New Year’s Eve, they went to celebrate at Stuckey’s house. Around 9 p.m., they were ready for the Secret Service to drive them the few blocks home. In the back seat, Jimmy leaned over to Rosalynn to give her a kiss. She smiled and slipped down her blue covid-19 mask.

Then they drove past the church where they had been married nearly 75 years earlier, starting yet another year together.

 

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  • 1 year later...

At this rate, he really WILL live forever! He's got a special place in my heart because 1976 was the first election I was eligible to vote in, and he was my choice. He had a rough presidency, but I always felt he did his best; I've never for a minute been sorry I voted for him. God bless you, Jimmy! ❤️ 

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He may not be perfect but he really is someone to try to emulate. 

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On 10/2/2022 at 8:59 AM, GreyhoundFan said:

image.png.13a22b9a8c5dfaaa574b3089a1dcf721.png

Thank you, @GreyhoundFan, for posting Mrs. Betty Bowers comment. I adore MBB’s comments anyway but this one made me smile and tear up at the same time. The Carters really are the best. I deeply admire their ability to recognize they should grow and change with their faith as they learn more about their world. They really do seem to embrace the second of Jesus Christ’s Commandments: Love your neighbor as your love yourself (and everyone is your neighbor.) They are two of the examples I use when some pulls out the “they were raised in a different generation” bit. (I am very lucky that I have a few people in my personal life around their age I can use as well.) I like to use the phrase, “Oh really? Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter would like to have a word on the subject.” 
 

Those two deserve the fast track to Sainthood, even if they aren’t Catholic. 
 

 

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