Biden says Jimmy Carter has asked him to deliver his eulogyBILL BARROW
March 14, 2023
President Biden says he plans to deliver the eulogy for former President Jimmy Carter, who remains under hospice care at his home in Georgia.
Biden told donors at a California fundraiser on Monday evening about a recent visit with the 39th president, whom Biden has known since he was a young senator from Delaware supporting Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign.
He asked me to do his eulogy, Biden said, before stopping himself from saying more. Excuse me; I shouldn’t say that.
Carter, who at 98 is the longest-lived U.S. president, announced Feb. 18 that he would spend his remaining days at home receiving end-of-life care, forgoing further medical intervention after a series of short hospital stays.
The Carter Center in Atlanta and the former president’s family members have not disclosed details of his condition, though Biden alluded to Carter’s 2015 cancer diagnosis and subsequent recovery.
Jimmy Carter, oldest living former U.S. president ever, is placed in hospice care
I spent time with Jimmy Carter, and its finally caught up with him. But they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated, because they found a breakthrough, Biden said in San Diego County’s Rancho Sante Fe.
The president and First Lady Jill Biden visited Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, who is now 95, at their home in Plains, Ga., a few months after Biden took office in 2021.
Biden was the first U.S. senator to endorse Carter’s 1976 presidential bid, breaking from the Washington establishment that Carter then a former one-time Georgia governor went on to shock by winning the Democratic nomination.
Biden’s presidency represents a turnabout, of sorts, for Carter’s political standing. He served just one term in the White House after losing to Republican Ronald Reagan in a landslide in 1980, which prompted top Democrats to keep their distance from the former president, at least publicly, for decades.
Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not have close relationships with Carter. And the longshot presidential candidates who sometimes ventured to Plains over the years typically did so privately.
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But as the Carters’ global humanitarian work and advocacy of democracy through the Carter Center garnered respect, Democratic politicians began publicly visiting southern Georgia ahead of the 2020 election cycle. And with Biden’s election, Carter again found a genuine friend and ally in the Oval Office.
Some Carter family members have confirmed that the former president will have a state funeral in Washington, D.C., and a private funeral and burial in Plains. Former and sitting presidents often speak at the state funerals of their predecessors, sometimes even crossing the political aisle.
Clinton spoke at Republican Richard Nixon’s funeral in 1994. In 2007, Carter eulogized Gerald Ford, the Republican he had defeated to win the presidency. The erstwhile rivals had become close friends after their presidencies, and had agreed that whichever survived longer would pay tribute at the other’s funeral.
When George H.W. Bush died in 2018, fellow Republican Donald Trump attended as sitting president, but the only former president to speak at the Washington National Cathedral service was the late president’s son George W. Bush.