Feb 19, 2023

Jimmy Carter to Begin Receiving Hospice Care Transcript

Jimmy Carter to Begin Receiving Hospice Care Transcript
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Former US President Jimmy Carter will begin receiving hospice care, according to a statement from The Carter Center. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

The former President Jimmy Carter is receiving hospice care at his home in Plains, Georgia. Sources tell CNN, President Biden is staying in close contact with the Carter family. Let’s go now to CNN’s Jeff Zeleny in Washington. Jeff, what more have you learned since we’ve just heard this not too long ago,

Speaker 2 (00:19):

So we are learning this afternoon and the Carter Center advised something that we had not known, that the former President, Jimmy Carter, has had a brief series of hospital stays and they said that he made the decision to spend his final days to enter hospice care in Plains, Georgia. That is really so extraordinary because that of course is where the former president has spent his entire life, with the exception of course of his four years here in Washington at the White House, as well as his military service as a young man. So he went home to Plains, Georgia in his post presidency, and that’s where he has been ever since with Rosalyn, his wife at his side for more than 75, I think 77 years of marriage or so.

So the family is saying that he is going to be in hospice care and we are also learning, just a short time ago we heard from his grandson, a former Georgia State senator, a gubernatorial candidate who’s basically in the family business in Georgia, Jason Carter. And he said that he visited with his grandparents yesterday in Plains and he tweets this. He said, “I saw both of my grandparents yesterday. They’re at peace and is always, their home is full of love. Thank you for all your kind words.” So Sarah, as I am talking to former advisors to the Carter family, they’re really keeping a close hold on his exact health condition and instead they’re choosing to talk about his life, talk about really his extraordinary legacy from peanut farmer to the presidency. And it was really the post presidency, the last half century nearly, of his work that has been so extraordinary. And he’s been a Sunday school teacher. He’s had a parade of people we’re seeing right here now his Plains, Georgia Church, he’s greeting visitors and this is something he always did.

If he was on an airplane, he was known to be shaking hands with the passengers up and down the aisle. He taught Sunday school. He built homes at the Habitat for Humanity, particularly in the wake of hurricane Katrina. I certainly remember that as well. So clearly now, President Biden, I’m told, has been advised of this and he is in close contact as well and some interesting history between those men as well. President Biden paid a visit to the Carters on the 100th day of as presidency back in 2021. And then Senator Joe Biden was the first senator to endorse the Carter Presidential bid back in 1976. So they have a long history there. So I’m told the White House is in close contact. They share some actual former advisors. Anita Dunn, a top advisor to this President, was a young advisor to Jimmy Carter. So all thoughts here in Washington and at the White House are with the Carters, but for now he has chosen to remain in Plains, Georgia, which really is the epicenter of his life, his legacy that will be felt certainly around the world, Sarah.

Speaker 1 (02:54):

I have to say, I met him when I was in college. I know many of you have met and talked to him. He was gracious, he was kind-

Speaker 2 (03:02):

For sure.

Speaker 1 (03:02):

He was giving. It was remarkable to be able to be in his presence because of all the things he’s done, not just being the President, really it’s the post presidency work. So-

Speaker 2 (03:12):


Speaker 1 (03:12):

I know lots of prayers are out there for him and his family. Jeff Zeleny, you are always great. Thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2 (03:18):


Speaker 1 (03:19):

Let’s turn now to Kai Bird, the author of The Outlier, The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter. Kai, when was the last time that you were able to see and speak with the former President and how was he doing at that time?

Speaker 3 (03:34):

Well, the last time I saw President Carter was in July of 2021 at his 75th wedding anniversary. Which was a gala event in Plains where he’d invited 350 colleagues, and friends, and politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton, and he had just had a fall that week, a few days earlier, gashed his forehead, had many stitches, but he was determined to make the event. And he sat there in a wheelchair and greeted each and every one of us and spent a few words, a few minutes talking to everyone. He just has an amazing stamina and love of life. He’s an incredible force of nature.

Speaker 1 (04:22):

Yeah, I think that’s a really good way to put it. He’s an incredible force of nature, but he does it with such kindness and compassion. It really is remarkable. A little bit about his family history. I understand that pancreatic cancer ended up killing many of his close relatives, but not Mr. Carter. How do you think all of this has impacted his life? Having seen others go through cancer and dying from it.

Speaker 3 (04:47):

Yeah, all of, his father, Miss Lillian, his mother, all his siblings including Billy Carter, they all died of pancreatic cancer. It was rather unusual, so unusual that the National Health Institute made a study of the family to figure out what was going on. But he escaped this cancer and has led a very vigorous life. He did come down with melanoma in 2015, just as I was beginning my biography, The Outlier on him. And he had this, if you recall, he had this amazing press conference live at the Carter Center where he got up on stage and conveyed the news very calmly, rationally, said that he had brain cancer, melanoma that had spread from his liver, and he probably had just a few weeks to live. Well of course we all know he then got immune therapy and survived and beat the cancer. He is a survivor, so-

Speaker 1 (05:53):

He is a remarkable person. Would you agree with a lot of the assessment? He’s still here with us, he’s still living. He has been through, I don’t know how many different things that for many people has been the end for them, but he has survived it. 75 years of marriage as you mentioned. And that was in 2021, did you say?

Speaker 3 (06:16):

2021, right. So-

Speaker 1 (06:16):


Speaker 3 (06:16):

That was 18 months ago.

Speaker 1 (06:21):

We’re looking at pictures I think of his family, which is quite large and they’re all laughing and they’re all sharing time together. But I do want to ask you a little bit about it, him and post presidency. Because most people when they think of Jimmy Carter, he was a one term President, which in the political world is not necessarily the most successful presidency. But in the life afterwards, he’s done remarkable things that have really impacted people’s lives. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Speaker 3 (06:53):

Oh, absolutely. I argue in my biography that actually his presidency, his four years was quite successful. He accomplished quite a bit. But I also wrote that he, sort of tongue in cheek, that he was the only President who used the White House as a stepping stone to greater things. And it’s true, he had a remarkable ex-presidency, just a continuation of his presidency in many ways, doing good works. So he often joked that at the Carter Center, that he wanted to live longer than the last Guinea worm. And the Carter Center has spent decades now wiping out millions of cases of Guinea worm disease, which is a terrible affliction.

Speaker 1 (07:41):


Speaker 3 (07:42):

And there are now, I think in 2022, there were only 13 cases in human beings of Guinea worm disease. So he’s almost made it.

Speaker 1 (07:52):

Kai Bird, thank you so much for sharing your insights. You’re the author of The Outlier, the Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter, and you said something that I think is going to stick with people, which is “He used the presidency as a stepping stone for greater things.” And indeed he did. I appreciate your time, Kai.

Speaker 3 (08:10):

Thank you.

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