James Earl "Jimmy"
(born October 1, 1924) served as the
President of the United
from 1977 to 1981 and was the recipient of the 2002
Nobel Peace Prize
, the only U.S.
President to have received the Prize after leaving office. Prior to
becoming president, Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate
followed by the governorship of the state of
, from 1971 to 1975, and was a peanut farmer and naval
As president, Carter created two new cabinet-level departments: the
and the Department of
. He established a national energy policy
that included conservation, price control, and new technology. In
foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords
, the Panama Canal Treaties
and the second
round of Strategic Arms
(SALT II). Carter sought to put a stronger emphasis on
human rights; he negotiated a peace
treaty between Israel and Egypt in
1979. His return of the Panama Canal
Zone to Panama was seen as
a major concession of US influence in Latin America, and Carter
came under heavy criticism for it.
His term came during a
period of persistent stagflation
number of countries, including the United States, which
significantly damaged his popularity. The final year of his
presidential tenure was marked by several major crises, including
the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Iran and holding of hostages by Iranian students,
an unsuccessful rescue attempt of the hostages, serious fuel shortages, and the Soviet invasion of
By 1980, Carter's disapproval ratings were
significantly higher than his approval, and he was challenged by
for the Democratic Party
in the 1980
. Carter defeated Kennedy for the nomination, but lost
the election to Republican Ronald Reagan
After leaving office, Carter and his wife Rosalynn
founded The Carter Center
in 1982, a
nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization
works to advance human rights
. He has
traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, observe
elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication
nations. Carter is a key figure in the Habitat for Humanity
project, and also
remains particularly vocal on the Israeli-Palestinian
With his dog, Bozo, in 1937, around
Carter is a native Georgian, born and raised in the tiny southwest Georgia
hamlet of Plains near the
larger town of Americus.
Jimmy Carter as a midshipman at the US Naval Academy
Carter family originated from southern England (Carter's paternal
ancestor arrived in the American Colonies in 1635), and had lived
in the state of Georgia for several generations; his
great-grandfather, Private L.B. Walker Carter (1832â€“1874), served
in the Confederate States
The first president born in a hospital, he was the eldest of four
children of James Earl Carter
and Bessie Lillian Gordy
Carter's father was a prominent business owner in the community and
his mother was a registered nurse
He was a gifted student from an early age who always had a fondness
for reading. By the time he attended Plains High School, he was
also a star in basketball. He was greatly influenced by one of his
high school teachers, Julia Coleman (1889â€“1973). While he was in
high school he was in the Future Farmers of America
later changed its name to the National FFA Organization
serving as the Plains FFA Chapter Secretary.
After high school, Carter enrolled at Georgia Southwestern College
in Americus. He would later apply to the United States
Naval Academy and, after taking additional mathematics courses at
Georgia Tech, he was admitted in
Carter graduated 59th out of 820 midshipmen.
Carter had three younger siblings: his brother, William Alton "Billy" Carter
sisters Gloria Carter Spann
(1926â€“1990) and Ruth Carter
(1929â€“1983). During Carter's Presidency, his brother
Billy was often in the news, often in an unflattering light.
He married Rosalynn Smith
They had four children: John William
(born 1947); James Earl
"Chip" Carter III
(born 1950); Donnel Jeffrey "Jeff" Carter
, (born 1952)
and Amy Lynn Carter
He is also a cousin of Motown founder Berry
on his mother's side.
Carter served on surface ships and on diesel-electric submarines in
fleets. As a junior officer, he
completed qualification for command of a diesel-electric submarine.
He applied for the US Navy's
fledgling nuclear submarine
program run by then Captain Hyman
demands on his men and machines were legendary, and Carter later
said that, next to his parents, Rickover had the greatest influence
Carter has said that he loved the Navy, and had planned to make it
his career. His ultimate goal was to become Chief of Naval Operations
felt the best route for promotion was with submarine duty since he
felt that nuclear power would be increasingly used in submarines.
During service on the diesel-electric submarine , Carter was almost
washed overboard. After six years of military service, Carter
trained for the position of engineering officer in submarine , then
under construction. Carter completed a non-credit introductory
course in nuclear reactor power at Union College starting in March 1953. This followed Carter's
first-hand experience as part of a group of American and Canadian
servicemen who took part in cleaning up after a partial nuclear meltdown at Canada's Chalk River
Laboratories reactor in 1952.
Upon the death of his father, James Earl Carter, Sr., in July 1953,
Carter immediately resigned
, and he was
discharged from the Navy on October 9, 1953. This cut short his
nuclear powerplant operator training, and he was never able to
serve on a nuclear submarine,
since the first boat of that fleet, the USS
Nautilus , was launched on January 17, 1955, over a year
after his discharge from the Navy.
Farming and teachings
After his naval service, Carter then took over and expanded his
family business in Plains. There he was involved in a peanut
farming accident that left him with a permanently bent finger. His
farming business was successful, and during the 1970 gubernatorial
campaign, he was considered a wealthy peanut
From a young age, Carter showed a deep commitment to Christianity
, serving as a Sunday School
teacher throughout his life.
Even as President, Carter prayed several times a day, and professed
that Jesus Christ
was the driving force
in his life. Carter had been greatly influenced by a sermon he had
heard as a young man, called, "If you were arrested for being a
Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
Early political career
Jimmy Carter started his career by serving on various local boards,
governing such entities as the schools, hospitals, and libraries,
among others. In the 1960s, he served two terms in the Georgia Senate
from the fourteenth district
election to the state Senate, which followed the end of Georgia's
County Unit System (per the
Supreme Court case of Gray
), was chronicled in his book
Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of
. The election involved corruption led by Joe
Hurst, the sheriff of Quitman County; system abuses included votes from deceased persons
and tallies filled with people who supposedly voted in alphabetical
It took a challenge of the fraudulent results for
Carter to win the election. Carter was reelected in 1964, to serve
a second two-year term.
For a time in State Senate he chaired its Education
In 1966, Carter declined running for re-election as a state senator
to pursue a gubernatorial run. His first cousin, Hugh Carter, was
elected as a Democrat and took over his seat in the Senate.
Campaigns for Governor
In 1966, during the end of his career as a state senator, he
flirted with the idea of running for the United States House of
. His Republican opponent dropped out and
decided to run for Governor of Georgia. Carter did not want to see
a Republican Governor of his state, and, in turn, dropped out of
the race for Congress and joined the race to become Governor.
Carter lost the Democratic primary, but drew enough votes as a
third place candidate to force the favorite, Ellis Arnall
, into a runoff election
, setting off a chain of
events which resulted in the election of Lester Maddox
. During this race Carter ran as
a moderate alternative to both liberal Arnall and conservative
Maddox. Although he lost, his strong third place finish was viewed
as a success for a little-known state senator.
For the next four years, Carter returned to his agriculture
business and carefully planned for his next campaign for Governor
in 1970, making over 1,800 speeches throughout the state.
During his 1970 campaign, he ran an uphill populist
campaign in the Democratic primary against
former Governor Carl Sanders
his opponent "Cufflinks Carl". Carter was never a segregationist
, and refused to join the
segregationist White Citizens'
, prompting a boycott of his peanut warehouse. He also
had been one of only two families which voted to admit blacks to
the Plains Baptist Church. However, he "said things the
segregationists wanted to hear", according to historian E. Stanly
. Also, Carter's campaign aides handed out a photograph
of his opponent celebrating with black basketball players.
Following his close victory over Sanders in the primary, he was
elected Governor over Republican Hal
Governor of Georgia
Carter was sworn in as the 76th Governor of Georgia on January 12,
1971 and held this post for one term, until January 14, 1975.
Governors of Georgia were not allowed to succeed themselves at the
time. His predecessor as Governor, Lester
, became the Lieutenant Governor
Carter and Maddox found little common ground during their four
years of service, often publicly feuding with each other.
Civil rights politics
Carter declared in his inaugural speech that the time of racial
segregation was over, and that racial discrimination had no place
in the future of the state. He was the first statewide office
holder in the Deep South
to say this in
public. Afterwards, Carter appointed many African Americans
to statewide boards and
offices. He was often called one of the "New Southern Governors"
much more moderate than their predecessors, and supportive of
racial desegregation and expanding African-Americans' rights.
"personally opposed" to abortion, subsequent to the landmark
Court decision Roe
, 410 US
113 (1973) Carter supported legalized abortion. He did not support
increased federal funding for abortion services as president and
was criticized by the ACLU
for not doing enough
to find alternatives to abortion.
State government reforms
Carter improved government efficiency by merging about 300 state
agencies into 30 agencies. One of his aides recalled that Governor
Carter "was right there with us, working just as hard, digging just
as deep into every little problem. It was his program and he worked
on it as hard as anybody, and the final product was distinctly
his." He also pushed reforms through the legislature, providing
equal state aid to schools in the wealthy and poor areas of
Georgia, set up community centers for mentally handicapped
children, and increased educational programs for convicts. Carter
took pride in a program he introduced for the appointment of judges
and state government officials. Under this program, all such
appointments were based on merit, rather than political
Vice-Presidential aspirations in 1972
as US Senator George McGovern of South Dakota was marching toward the Democratic nomination for
President, Carter called a news conference in Atlanta to warn that McGovern was unelectable.
Carter criticized McGovern as too liberal on both foreign and
domestic policy, yet when McGovern's nomination became a foregone
conclusion, Carter lobbied to become his vice-presidential running
mate. The remarks attracted little national attention, and after
McGovern's huge loss in the general election, Carter's attitude was
not held against him within the Democratic Party.
During the 1972
Democratic National Convention
he endorsed the candidacy of
Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington.
However, Carter received 30 votes at the
in the chaotic ballot for Vice President. McGovern
offered the second spot to Reubin
, from next door Florida and one of the "new southern
governors", but he declined.
Death penalty and crime
After the US Supreme Court overturned Georgia's death penalty
law in 1972, Carter quickly
proposed state legislation to replace the death penalty with
life in prison
(an option which
previously didn't exist).
When the legislature passed a new death penalty statute, Carter,
despite voicing reservations about its constitutionality, signed
new legislation on March 28, 1973 to authorize the death penalty
for murder, rape and other offenses, and to implement trial
procedures which would conform to the newly-announced
constitutional requirements. In 1976, the Supreme Court upheld
Georgia's new death penalty for murder; in the case of Coker v. Georgia
, the Supreme Court ruled that
the death penalty was unconstitutional as applied to rape.
America were outraged by William
Calley's life sentence at Fort Benning for his role in the My Lai Massacre; Carter instituted "American Fighting Man's Day"
and asked Georgians to drive for a week with their lights on in
support of Calley.
Indiana's governor asked all state flags
to be flown at half-staff for Calley, and Utah's and Mississippi's
governors also disagreed with the verdict.
Despite his earlier support, Carter soon became a death penalty
opponent, and during Presidential campaigns (like previous nominee
George McGovern and two successive nominees, Walter Mondale
and Michael Dukakis
), this was noted. Currently,
Carter is known for his outspoken opposition to the death penalty
in all forms; in his Nobel Prize
lecture, he urged "prohibition of the death penalty".
United States Senate appointment
Richard Russell, Jr.
tempore of the United States Senate
, died in office on January
21, 1971. Carter, only nine days into his governorship, appointed
state Democratic Party chair David
to fill an
unexpired Russell term in the Senate on February 1. Gambrell was
defeated in the next Democratic primary
by the more conservative Sam
while Governor of Georgia, Carter filed a report on his 1969 UFO sighting with the
International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
However, in 2007, Carter stated that he did
not remember why he filed the report and that he believes he
probably only did it at the request of one of his children. He also
stated he does not believe it was an alien spacecraft, but rather
believes it was likely some sort of military experiment being
conducted from a nearby military base.
Carter made an appearance as the first guest of the evening on an
episode of the game show What's My
in 1974, signing in as "X", lest his name give away
his occupation. After his job was identified on question seven of
ten by Gene Shalit
, he talked about
having brought movie production to the state of Georgia, citing
, and the
In 1974, Carter was chairman of the Democratic National
's congressional, as well as gubernatorial,
1976 presidential campaign
When Carter entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries in
1976, he was considered to have little chance against nationally
better-known politicians. He had a name
of only two percent. When he told his family of his
intention to run for President, his mother asked, "President of
what?" However, the Watergate scandal was still fresh in the
voters' minds, and so his position as an outsider, distant from
D.C., became an asset.
The centerpiece of his
campaign platform was government reorganization.
Carter became the front-runner early on by winning the Iowa caucuses
and the New Hampshire primary
. He used a
two-prong strategy: In the South, which most had tacitly conceded
to Alabama's George Wallace, Carter ran as a moderate favorite son
When Wallace proved to be a spent force, Carter swept the region.
In the North, Carter appealed largely to conservative Christian and
rural voters and had little chance of winning a majority in most
states. He won several Northern states by building the largest
single bloc. Carter's strategy involved reaching a region before
another candidate could extend influence there. He traveled over
50,000 miles, visited 37 states, and delivered over 200 speeches
before any other candidates even announced that they were in the
race. Initially dismissed as a regional candidate, Carter proved to
be the only Democrat with a truly national strategy, and he
eventually clinched the nomination.
The media discovered and promoted Carter, as Lawrence Shoup noted
in his 1980 book The Carter Presidency and Beyond
Carter was interviewed by Robert
November 1976 issue, which hit the newsstands a couple of weeks
before the election. It was here that in the course of a digression
on his religion's view of pride, Carter admitted: "I've looked on a
lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery
in my heart many times." He remains the
only American president to be interviewed by this magazine.
As late as January 26, 1976, Carter was the first choice of only
four percent of Democratic voters, according to a Gallup poll
. Yet "by mid-March 1976 Carter was
not only far ahead of the active contenders for the Democratic
presidential nomination, he also led President Ford
by a few percentage points", according to
He chose Senator Walter F. Mondale
as his running mate. He attacked
Washington in his speeches, and offered a religious salve for the
Carter began the race with a sizable lead over Ford, who was able
to narrow the gap over the course of the campaign, but was unable
to prevent Carter from narrowly defeating him on November 2, 1976.
Carter won the popular vote by 50.1 percent to 48.0 percent for
Ford and received 297 electoral
to Ford's 240. He became the first contender from the
to be elected President since
Presidency - 1977â€“1981
Official White House portrait of Jimmy Carter
Carter was elected over Gerald Ford and Eugene McCarthy in 1976.
His tenure was a time of continuing inflation and recession, as
well as an energy crisis. On January 7, 1980, Carter signed
Law H.R. 5860 aka Public Law 96-185
known as The Chrysler
Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979
bailing out Chrysler Corporation
. He led the plan
to deregulate the airline industry. He canceled military pay raises
during a time of high inflation and government deficits. He
declared amnesty to Vietnam draft dodgers. He encouraged energy
conservation, installed solar panels in the White House and wore
sweaters while turning down the heat. While attempting to calm
various conflicts around the World, most visibly in the Middle East
resulting in the signing of the Camp David Accords, giving back the
Panama Canal and signing the SALT II nuclear arms reduction treaty
with the USSR, the final year of his administration was marred by
the Iran hostage crisis
contributed to his loss in his 1980 campaign for re-election to
He wore a sweater on April 17, 1977 and delivered a fireside chat
where he famously declared that the energy situation was the
equivalent of war
while clenching his fist.
Carter also deregulated the airlines leading to low air fares and
fewer free airline meals. Many new airlines were eventually
started, such as AirTran and JetBlue.
Carter wrote that the most intense and mounting opposition to his
policies came from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which
he attributed to Ted Kennedyâ€™s ambition to replace him as
president.Carter, JimmyOur Endangered Values: Americaâ€™s Moral
, p.8, (2005), Simon & Shuster
In 1981, Carter returned to Georgia to his peanut farm, which he
had placed into a blind trust
presidency to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
He found that the trustees had mismanaged the trust, leaving him
over one million dollars in debt. In the years that followed, he
has led an active life, establishing The Carter Center, building
his presidential library, teaching at Emory University in Atlanta,
Georgia, and writing numerous books.
When he first left office, Carter's presidency was viewed by some
as a failure. In historical
rankings of US presidents
, the Carter presidency has ranged
from #19 to #34. Although Carter's presidency received mixed
reviews from some historians, his all-around peace keeping and
humanitarian efforts since he left office have led him to be widely
renowned as one of the most successful ex-presidents in US
Although Carter has also received mixed reviews in both television
and film documentaries, such as the Man
(2007), the 2009 Documentary, Back Door Channels: The
Price of Peace
, credits Carter's efforts at Camp David, which
brought peace between Israel and Egypt, with bringing the only
meaningful peace to the Middle East. The film opened the
2009 Monte-Carlo Television Festival in an invitation-only royal
screening on June 7, 2009 at the Grimaldi Forum in the presence of His Serene Highness Albert II, Prince of
The film has not yet shown in the United States,
an indication of Carter's comparatively high popularity overseas
versus at home in the U.S.
Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale
the longest-living post-presidential team in American history. On
December 11, 2006, they had been out of office for 25 years and 325
days, surpassing the former record established by President
and Vice President Thomas Jefferson
, who both died on July 4,
Carter is one of only four presidents, and the only one in modern
history, who did not have an opportunity to nominate a judge to
serve on the Supreme Court.
"Carter is widely considered a better man than he was a president."
While he began his term with a 66% approval rating, this dropped to
34% approval by the time he left office, with 55%
Much of this image in the public eye results from the Presidents
proximate to him in history. In the wake of Nixon's Watergate
, exit polls from the 1976 Presidential election
suggested that many still held Gerald
's pardon of Nixon against him, and Carter by comparison
seemed a sincere, honest, and well-meaning Southerner.
Carter's administration suffered from inexperience in politics:
Carter paid too much attention to detail, was quick to retreat
under fire, seemed indecisive, and did not define his priorities
clearly. He seemed uninterested in working with other groups, or
even with Congress controlled by his own party, which he denounced
for being controlled by special interest groups. Though he made
efforts to address many of these issues in 1978, the approval he
won from his reforms did not last long.
When Carter ran for reelection, Ronald
's nonchalant self-confidence contrasted to Carter's
serious and introspective temperament. Carter's personal attention
to detail, seeming indecisiveness and weakness with people was also
accentuated by Reagan's charm and easy delegation of tasks to
subordinates. Ultimately, the combination of the economic problems,
Iran hostage crisis
, and lack of
Washington cooperation made it easy for Reagan to portray him as an
Since leaving office, Carter's reputation has much improved.
Carter's presidential approval rating, which sat at 31% just prior
to the 1980 election, was polled in early 2009 at 64%. Carter's
continued post-Presidency activities have also been favorably
received. Carter explains that a great deal of this change was owed
to Reagan's successor, George H.
, who actively sought him out and was
far more courteous and interested in his advice than Reagan had
been. The working relationship between former Presidents Carter,
George H. W. Bush and Clinton has been called one of the most
interesting post-presidential political alliances in American
history, and despite their political differences the three men all
have become good friends over the years while working together in a
number of humanitarian and other projects.
As President, Carter expressed a goal of making government
"competent and compassionate". In pursuit of that vision, he has
been involved in a variety of national and international public
policy, conflict resolution, human rights and charitable
he established The Carter Center
Georgia, to advance human
rights and alleviate unnecessary human suffering.
, nongovernmental Center
, mediates and prevents
conflicts, and monitors the electoral process in support of free
and fair elections
. It also works to
improve global health
control and eradication
such as Guinea worm disease
, lymphatic filariasis
, and schistosomiasis
. It also works to diminish
against mental illnesses
and improve nutrition
through increased crop production in
Africa. A major accomplishment of The Carter Center has been the
elimination of more than 99% of cases of Guinea worm disease
, a debilitating
that has existed since ancient
times, from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to fewer than
10,000 cases in 2007. The Carter Center has monitored 70 elections
in 28 countries since 1989. It has worked to resolve conflicts in
Haiti, Bosnia, Ethiopia, North
Korea, Sudan and other
Carter and the Center
actively support human rights defenders
world and have intervened with heads of
on their behalf.
Nobel Peace Prize
In 2002, President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize
for his work "to find
peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy
and human rights, and to promote economic and social development"
through The Carter Center
sitting presidents, Theodore
, Woodrow Wilson
, have received the prize;
Carter is unique in receiving the award for his actions after
leaving the presidency. He is, along with Martin Luther King, Jr.
, one of only
two native Georgians to receive the Nobel.
Korea had expelled investigators from the International Atomic Energy
Agency and was threatening to begin processing spent
then-President Clinton pressured for US sanctions and ordered large
amounts of troops and vehicles into the area to brace for
Bill Clinton secretly recruited Carter to
undertake a peace mission to North Korea, under the guise that it was a private mission of
Clinton saw Carter as a way to let North Korean
President Kim Il-sung
back down without
Carter negotiated an understanding with Kim Il-sung, but went
further and outlined a treaty which he announced on CNN without the
permission of the Clinton White House as a way to force the US into
action. The Clinton Administration signed a later
version of the Agreed Framework,
under which North
Korea agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its
current nuclear program and comply with its nonproliferation obligations in exchange
for oil deliveries, the construction of two light water reactors to replace its
graphite reactors, and
discussions for eventual diplomatic relations.
The agreement was widely hailed at the time as a significant
diplomatic achievement. However, in December 2002, the Agreed Framework
collapsed as a result of a
dispute between the George
and the North Korean government of Kim Jong-il
. In 2001, President George W. Bush
had taken a confrontational position
toward North Korea and, in January 2002, named it as part of an
"Axis of Evil
". Meanwhile, North Korea began developing the capability to enrich uranium.
opponents of the Agreed Framework
believed that the North Korean government never intended to give up
a nuclear weapons program
supporters believed that the agreement could have been successful
and was undermined.
Carter and experts from The Carter
assisted unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators
in designing a model agreement for peace â€“ called the Geneva Accord
â€“ in 2002â€“2003.
has also in recent years become a frequent critic of Israel's policies
in Lebanon, West
Bank and Gaza.
2008, the London-based Arabic
newspaper Al-Hayat reported that
Carter met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on his visit to Syria.
The Carter Center
not confirm nor deny the story. The US State Department considers Hamas a terrorist organization. Within this Mid-East
trip, Carter also laid a wreath on the grave of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on April 14, 2008.
Carter said on April 23,
2008 that neither Condoleezza Rice
nor anyone else in State Department had warned him against meeting
with Hamas leaders during his trip. Carter spoke to Mashaal on
several matters, including "formulas for prisoner exchange to
obtain the release of Corporal Shalit
2007, while arguing that the United States should directly talk to
Iran, Carter stated that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
In December 2008, Carter visited Damascus again, where he met with
Syrian President Bashar Assad
, and the
leadership. During his visit he gave an
exclusive interview to Forward
, the first ever interview for any American president,
current or former, with a Syrian media outlet.
held summits in Egypt and Tunisia in 1995â€“1996 to address violence in the Great Lakes
region of Africa.
played a key role in negotiation of the Nairobi Agreement in 1999 between
Sudan and Uganda.
18, 2007, Carter joined Nelson
Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, to announce his participation in a
new humanitarian organization called The
Elders. In October 2007, Carter toured Darfur with
several of The Elders, including
prevented him from visiting a Darfuri tribal leader, leading to a
18, 2007, Carter, accompanied by his wife, arrived in Dublin,
Ireland, for talks with President Mary McAleese and Bertie Ahern concerning human rights. On June 19, Carter
attended and spoke at the annual Human Rights Forum at Croke Park.
An agreement between Irish Aid and The Carter Center
was also signed on this
November 2008, President Carter, former UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan, and Graca Machel, wife of
Nelson Mandela, were stopped from
entering Zimbabwe, to inspect the human
rights situation, by President Robert
led a mission to Haiti in 1994 with
Senator Sam Nunn and the then former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff General Colin Powell to avert
a US-led multinational invasion and restore to power Haiti's
democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
visited Cuba in May 2002
and had full discussions with Fidel
Castro and the Cuban
He was allowed to address the Cuban public
uncensored on national television and radio with a speech that he
wrote and presented in Spanish. In the speech, he called on the US
to end "an ineffective 43-year-old economic embargo" and on Castro
to hold free elections
, and allow greater
. He met with political
dissidents, visited the AIDS sanitarium, a
medical school, a biotech facility, an
agricultural production cooperative, and
a school for disabled children, and threw
a pitch for an all-star baseball game in
visit made Carter the first President of the United States, in or
out of office, to visit the island since the Cuban revolution
Carter observed the Venezuela recall
on August 15, 2004. European Union
observers had declined to
participate, saying too many restrictions were put on them by the
record number of voters turned out to defeat the recall attempt
with a 59% "no" vote. The Carter Center stated that the process
"suffered from numerous irregularities", but said it did not
observe or receive "evidence of fraud that would have changed the
outcome of the vote". On the afternoon of August 16, 2004, the day
after the vote, Carter and Organization
of American States (OAS) Secretary
General CÃ©sar Gaviria gave a
joint press conference in which they endorsed the preliminary
results announced by the National Electoral Council.
monitors' findings "coincided with the partial returns announced
today by the National Elections Council" said Carter, while Gaviria
added that the OAS electoral observation mission's members had
"found no element of fraud in the process". Directing his remarks
at opposition figures who made claims of "widespread fraud" in the
voting, Carter called on all Venezuelans to "accept the results and
work together for the future". However, a Penn, Schoen & Berland
Associates (PSB) exit poll
that ChÃ¡vez would lose by 20%; when the election results showed him
to have won by 20%, Schoen commented, "I think it was a massive
fraud". US News and World Report
offered an analysis of
the polls, indicating "very good reason to believe that the (Penn,
Schoen & Berland) exit poll had the result right, and that
ChÃ¡vez's election officials and Carter and the American media got
it wrong". The exit poll and the government's programming of
election machines became the basis of claims of election fraud.
, citing the Associated Press
, reports that Penn, Schoen
& Berland used SÃºmate (pro-recall) volunteers for fieldwork,
and its results contradicted five other opposition exit
Ecuador's severing of ties with Colombia in March 2008, Carter brokered a deal for agreement
between the countries' respective presidents on the restoration of
relations announced June 8, 2008.
November 18, 2009, Carter visited Vietnam to build houses for the poor. The one-week program,
known as Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project 2009, would bring
32 houses to Dong Xa village in the northern
province of Hai
The project launch was scheduled for
November 14, the news source quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga
saying. Administered by the non-governmental and non-profit Habitat
for Humanity International (HFHI
), the annual
program of 2009 would build and repair 166 homes in Vietnam and
some other Asian countries with the support of nearly 3,000
volunteers around the world, the organization said on its website.
HFHI has worked in Vietnam since 2001 to provide low-cost housing,
water and sanitation solutions for the poor. It has worked in
provinces like Tien
Giang and Dong Nai as well as
Ho Chi Minh
Criticism of US policy
In 2001, Carter criticized President Bill
's controversial pardon
, calling it "disgraceful" and
suggesting that Rich's financial contributions to the Democratic
Party were a factor in Clinton's action.
Carter has also criticized the presidency of George W. Bush
and the Iraq War
.In a 2003
New York Times editorial,
Carter warned against the consequences of a war in Iraq and urged
restraint in use of military force.
In March 2004, Carter
condemned George W. Bush
and Tony Blair
for waging an unnecessary war "based upon lies and
misinterpretations" in order to oust Saddam Hussein
. In August 2006, Carter
criticized Blair for being "subservient" to the Bush administration
and accused Blair of giving unquestioning support to Bush's Iraq
policies.In a May 2007 interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
said, "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around
the world, this administration has been the worst in history," when
it comes to foreign affairs.However, two days after the quote was
published, Carter told NBC's
that the "worst in history" comment was "careless or
misinterpreted", and that he "wasn't comparing this administration
with other administrations back through history, but just with
President Nixon's". The day after the "worst in history" comment
was published, White
House spokesman Tony Fratto
said that Carter had become "increasingly irrelevant with these
kinds of comments".
On May 19, 2007, Mr. Blair made his final visit to Iraq before
stepping down as British Prime
, and Carter used the occasion to criticize him once
again. Carter told the BBC
that Blair was
"apparently subservient" to Bush and criticised him for his "blind
support" for the Iraq war. Carter described Blair's actions as
"abominable" and stated that the British Prime Minister's "almost
undeviating support for the ill-advised policies of President Bush
in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world". Carter said he
believes that had Blair distanced himself from the Bush
administration during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003
, it may have
made a crucial difference to American political and public opinion
, and consequently the invasion
might not have gone ahead.Carter states that "one of the defenses
of the Bush administration... has been, okay, we must be more
correct in our actions than the world thinks because Great Britain
is backing us. So I think the combination of Bush and Blair
giving their support to this tragedy in Iraq has
strengthened the effort and has made the opposition less effective,
and prolonged the war and increased the tragedy that has
Carter expressed his hope that Blair's successor
would be "less
enthusiastic" about Bush's Iraq policy.
2005, Carter urged the closing of the Guantanamo
Bay Prison in Cuba, which has
been a focal point for recent claims of prisoner abuse.
In September 2006, Carter was interviewed on the BBC
's current affairs program Newsnight
, voicing his concern at the
increasing influence of the Religious
on US politics.
Due to his status as former President, Carter was a superdelegate
to the Democratic National
. Carter announced his endorsement of Senator (now
president) Barack Obama
. This occurred
on June 3, 2009 near the end of the primary season.
to the English Monthly Forward
Magazine of Syria, Carter was
asked to give one word that came to mind when mentioning President
His answer was: the end of a very disappointing
administration. His reaction to mentioning Barack Obama was:
Honesty, intelligence, and politically adept.
In 2009 he put weight behind allegations by Venezuelan President
, pertaining to United States
involvement in the 2002 Venezuelan coup
by a civilian-military junta
, saying that
Washington knew about the coup and may have taken part.
Carter continues to speak out against the death penalty in the US
and abroad. Most recently, in his letter to the Governor of New Mexico
, Bill Richardson
, Carter urged him to sign a
bill to eliminate the death penalty and institute life in prison
without parole instead. The bill has already been passed by the
state House and Senate. Carter wrote: As you know, the United
States is one of the few countries, along with nations such as
Saudi Arabia, China, and Cuba, which still carry out the death
penalty despite the ongoing tragedy of wrongful conviction and
gross racial and class-based disparities that make impossible the
fair implementation of this ultimate punishment
Carter also called for commutations of death sentences for many
inmates, including Brian K. Baldwin
(executed in 1999 in Alabama), Kenneth Foster
(sentence in Texas commuted
in 2007) and Troy Anthony Davis
(Georgia, case pending).
In a 2008
interview with Amnesty
International, Carter criticized the alleged use of torture in
Bay, saying that it "contravenes the basic principles
on which this nation was founded".
He stated that the next
President should publicly apologize upon his inauguration, and
state that the United States will "never again torture
Carter at a book signing in Phoenix, Arizona
Carter has been a prolific author in his post-presidency, writing
21 of his 23 books. Among these is one he co-wrote with his wife,
, and a children's book
illustrated by his daughter, Amy
cover a variety of topics, including humanitarian work
, aging, religion,
, and poetry
Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
In his book Palestine
Peace Not Apartheid
, published in November 2006, Carter
recognizes that Arab citizens in Israel proper
have equal rights, he declares that Israel's current
policies in the Palestinian territories constitute "a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the
same land, but completely separated from each other, with Israelis
totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians
of their basic human rights."
an Op-Ed entitled "Speaking Frankly about Israel and Palestine",
published in the Los Angeles
and other newspapers, Carter states:
While some - such as former a Special Rapporteur for both the
United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the International Law
Commission, as well as a member of the Israeli Knesset - have
praised Carter for speaking frankly about Palestinians in Israeli occupied lands
- including the envoy to the Middle East under Clinton, as well as
the first director of the Carter Center - have accused him of
anti-Israeli bias. Specifically, these critics have alleged
significant factual errors, omissions and misstatements in the
book. Apparently angered by Carter's book,
Israeli security refused to provide Carter protection
during the first part of an April 2008 visit.
The 2007 documentary film, Man from
, follows President Carter during his tour for the
controversial book and other Humanitarian Efforts.
Faith, family, and community
Carter in Plains, 2008.
Carter and his wife, Rosalynn
also well-known for their work as volunteers with Habitat for Humanity
, a Georgia-based
that helps low-income
working people to build and buy their own homes.
teaches Sunday school and is a deacon in the Maranatha Baptist
Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.
In 2000, Carter severed ties with the
, saying the group's doctrines did not align with his
.In April 2006,
Carter, former-President Bill Clinton
and Mercer University President Bill Underwood initiated the
New Baptist Covenant
broadly inclusive movement seeks to unite Baptists
of all races, cultures and convention
affiliations. Eighteen Baptist leaders representing more than 20
million Baptists across North America backed the group as an
alternative to the Southern
. The group held its first meeting in Atlanta, January 30 through February 1, 2008.
Carter's hobbies include painting
, and skiing
The Carters have three sons, one daughter, eight grandsons, three
granddaughters, and one great-grandson.
He is Elvis Presley's fifth cousin.
Honors and awards
Carter has received honorary degrees from many American and foreign
colleges and universities. They include:
- LL.D. (honoris causa) Morehouse
College, 1972; Morris Brown
College, 1972; University of Notre Dame, 1977; Emory University, 1979; Kwansei
Gakuin University, 1981; Georgia Southwestern College,
1981; New York Law
School, 1985; Bates College, 1985; Centre College, 1987; Creighton University, 1987; University of Pennsylvania, 1998
- D.E. (honoris causa) Georgia
Institute of Technology, 1979
- Ph.D. (honoris
causa) Weizmann Institute of Science, 1980; Tel Aviv University, 1983; Haifa University, 1987
- D.H.L. (honoris
causa) Central Connecticut
State University, 1985; Trinity
College, 1998; Hoseo University, 1998
- Doctor (honoris causa)
G.O.C. University, 1995; University
of Juba, 2002
- Honorary Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons
in Ireland, 2007
Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford, 2007
Among the honors Carter has received are the Presidential Medal of Freedom
in 1999 and the Nobel Peace Prize
in 2002. Others include:
- Freedom of
the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 1977
- Silver Buffalo Award,
Boy Scouts of America,
- Gold medal, International Institute for Human Rights, 1979
- International Mediation medal, American Arbitration
- Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Nonviolent Peace Prize, 1979
- International Human Rights Award, Synagogue Council of America,
- Conservationist of the Year Award, 1979
- Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, 1981
- Ansel Adams Conservation Award,
Wilderness Society, 1982
- Human Rights Award, International League of Human Rights,
- World Methodist Peace Award, 1985
- Albert Schweitzer Prize for
- Edwin C. Whitehead Award, National Center for Health Education,
- Jefferson Award, American Institute of Public Service,
- Liberty Medal,
Constitution Center, 1990
- Spirit of America Award, National Council for the Social
- Physicians for Social Responsibility Award, 1991
- Aristotle Prize, Alexander S. Onassis
- W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award,
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, 1992
- Spark M. Matsunaga Medal of Peace, US Institute of Peace,
- Humanitarian Award, CARE International, 1993
- Conservationist of the Year Medal, National Wildlife
- Rotary Award for World Understanding, 1994
- J. William Fulbright Prize for
International Understanding, 1994
- National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, 1994
- UNESCO FÃ©lix HouphouÃ«t-Boigny Peace Prize, 1994
- Great Cross of the Order of Vasco NunÃ©z de Balboa, Panama,
- Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award,
- Humanitarian of the Year, GQ Awards, 1996
- Kiwanis International Humanitarian Award, 1996
- Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace,
Disarmament and Development, 1997
- Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Awards for Humanitarian Contributions
to the Health of Humankind, National Foundation for Infectious
- United Nations
Human Rights Award, 1998
- The Hoover Medal, 1998
Delta Prize for Global Understanding,
of Georgia, 1999
- International Child Survival Award, UNICEF Atlanta, 1999
- William Penn Mott, Jr., Park Leadership Award, National Parks
Conservation Association, 2000
- Zayed International Prize for the Environment, 2001
- Jonathan M. Daniels Humanitarian Award, VMI, 2001
- Herbert Hoover Humanitarian Award, Boys & Girls Clubs of
- Christopher Award, 2002
- Grammy Award
for Best Spoken Word Album, National Academy of Recording Arts
and Sciences, 2007
- Berkeley Medal, University
of California campus, May 2, 2007
- International Award for Excellence and Creativity, Palestinian Authority, 2009
- Mahatma Gandhi Global Nonviolence Award,
Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, James
Madison University (to be awarded September 21, 2009, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and to be shared with his wife, Rosalynn
- Recipient of 2009 American
Peace Award along with Rosalynn Carter
In 1998, the US Navy
named the third and
honoring former President Carter and his service as a
submariner officer. It became one of the first US Navy vessels to
be named for a person living at the time of naming.
Participation in ceremonial events
Carter has participated in many ceremonial events such as the
opening of his own presidential library and those of Presidents
Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. He has also
participated in many forums, lectures, panels, funerals and other
events. Carter delivered a eulogy
funeral of Coretta Scott King
and, most recently, at the funeral of his former
, but later his close, personal friend and
diplomatic collaborator, Gerald Ford
Whether Carter will be included in the Presidential $1 Coin Program
depends on whether he is still alive in 2014.
Race in politics
Carter ignited debate in September 2009 when he stated, "I think an
overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward
President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,
that he is African-American." Obama disagreed with Carter's
assessment. On CNN Obama stated, "Are there people out there who
don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are...that's not the
overriding issue here."
Carter intends to be buried in front of his home in Plains,
Georgia. In contrast, most Presidents since Herbert Hoover have been buried at their
presidential library or presidential museum, with the exception of
John F. Kennedy, who is buried at
National Cemetery, and Lyndon
who is buried at his own ranch.
Both President Carter and his wife,
Rosalynn, were born in Plains. Carter also noted that a funeral in Washington,
D.C. with visitation at the Carter Center is being
planned as well.
Carter is portrayed as a member of a superhero team in the animated
feature The X-Presidents
Saturday Night Live
Carter is also featured in the animated sitcom King of the Hill
in the episode "The
Father, The Son and J.C."
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