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Former President Jimmy Carter celebrates 95th birthday

Former President Jimmy Carter listens to a question submitted by student during an annual Carter Town Hall held at Emory University Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Jimmy Carter is celebrating his 95th birthday, becoming the first U.S. president to reach that milestone as he continues his humanitarian work and occasionally wades back into politics and policy debates almost four decades after leaving office.

Posted: Oct 1, 2019 9:34 AM

ATLANTA (AP) — Jimmy Carter is celebrating his 95th birthday, becoming the first U.S. president to reach that milestone as he continues his humanitarian work and occasionally wades back into politics and policy debates almost four decades after leaving office.

Carter, who served from 1977-1981 and still lives in tiny Plains, Georgia, planned no public celebrations on Tuesday.

The 39th president, born in 1924 and raised during the Great Depression, has slowed physically in recent years, acknowledging recently that he has trouble walking after hip replacement surgery in May. But he remains active with programs at the post-presidency center he and Rosalynn Carter opened in Atlanta in 1982. He still teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. The Carters plan to travel later this week to Nashville, Tennessee, where they will help build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Carter survived a dire cancer diagnosis in 2015 and became the longest-lived U.S. president in history this spring, surpassing George H.W. Bush, who died in 2018. Rosalynn Carter, now 92, is among the longest-lived first ladies. The couple has been married 73 years.

In recent public appearances, the former president has sounded like a man still intent on securing his legacy, amplifying his criticisms of American military spending and war, blasting the proliferation of money in U.S. politics and urging action to combat the climate crisis. And he's expressed particular pride that the U.S. engaged in no foreign wars during his tenure.

"I just want to keep the whole world at peace," Carter said in September during his annual Carter Center report.

"We have been at war more than 226 years. We have been at peace for about 16 years," he said of the U.S. since the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He asserted that every U.S. military conflict from the Korean War onward has been a war of "choice."

"The United States is very deeply inclined to go to war," Carter said, partly as "a mechanism by which we can implant American policies ... in other countries." A Naval Academy graduate and World War II veteran, Carter said presidents feed the cycle, in part because "we make a hero" out of wartime commanders-in-chief.

The Carter Center, which has focused mainly on public health, election monitoring and conflict resolution, has "never voiced an opinion publicly" on individual wars, Carter noted.

"This is primarily my fault," the former president said, explaining that he wants the center to become a more forceful advocate on questions of war around the world, including "wars by the United States." He said the Carter Center could engage in "constructive criticism of the United States government ... without being partisan about it."

An outspoken Christian, Carter sometimes frames his views on war in terms of his faith, noting that Jesus is referred to in the Bible as the "prince of peace." But at the Carter Center in September and a day later in his town hall with Emory University freshmen, the former president emphasized economic consequences of war.

China, he noted, has "been at peace" since he normalized relations with Beijing in 1979. Since then, Carter said, the U.S. has spent trillions on military conflict, while China has invested similar amounts in high-speed rail, new college campuses and other infrastructure. He told Emory freshmen he's not "favorably" comparing China's human rights record, but rather emphasizing the costs of war.

Carter hasn't backed anyone in the Democratic presidential primaries, even as some candidates call on the former president . But he says re-electing President Donald Trump would be "a disaster."

He disclosed that he voted for Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, over the establishment favorite Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. This time, Carter cautions Democrats not to go too far left, warning that an embrace of single-payer, government-run health insurance could cost the party votes among moderates and independents. That would seem to rule out Sanders and another progressive favorite, Elizabeth Warren.

But Carter said he would like to see a woman as president, and made a notable observation on age, saying he couldn't have managed "the duties I experienced when I was president" when he was 80 years old . That could be seen to nix not only Sanders, at 78, but the more moderate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is 76. Warren is 70.

Two longshot candidates who apparently fit Carter's stated priorities for the party are Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, a 37-year-old who was born after Carter's presidency ended, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a moderate who is close to Carter's vice president and fellow Minnesotan, Walter Mondale. Both have visited Carter since declaring their candidacies.

Carter has given no indication that he will endorse, making clear only that he'll be "voting Democratic" in the general election.

While he matter-of-factly declares his intentions to vote next fall, Carter also talks with the realism of a nonagenarian, born when the world population was quarter of what it is today and the life expectancy of American males was 58 years.

He noted he's often said he wanted to live long enough to announce the end of Guinea worm disease, a parasitic infection attributed to poor drinking water. There were 3.5 million cases in 21 countries in 1986, when the Carter Center began its eradication program. In 2018, there were 28 cases worldwide.

A year later, Carter expresses disappointment over an outbreak of the disease among dogs, with new human cases in Chad, Angola and Cameroon. Researchers from multiple universities, he said, are "trying to figure out what to do about it."

Meanwhile, the former president told a rapt Carter Center audience that they might have heard his final annual report, because he plans to start devoting more time to his family.

"This may be our last conversation with you," Carter said. "We may or may not have one next year."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 454989

Reported Deaths: 6163
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin943781502
Ramsey40624748
Dakota33540354
Anoka31357368
Washington20533237
Stearns18091190
St. Louis13970250
Scott1217799
Wright11791107
Olmsted1078075
Sherburne829669
Carver704439
Clay658884
Rice624274
Kandiyohi558072
Blue Earth548033
Crow Wing490478
Otter Tail464268
Chisago459538
Benton423688
Winona394548
Douglas379366
Nobles374647
Mower373729
Goodhue356863
Polk330760
McLeod328147
Beltrami315748
Morrison314545
Lyon305539
Becker288939
Itasca287343
Isanti285643
Carlton284043
Steele278910
Pine270315
Freeborn254123
Todd233730
Nicollet229438
Brown218034
Mille Lacs215645
Le Sueur214216
Cass210724
Meeker201333
Waseca193216
Wabasha17463
Martin171926
Roseau166417
Hubbard150738
Redwood141127
Houston140014
Dodge13934
Renville138440
Chippewa133032
Cottonwood129018
Fillmore12698
Wadena120818
Rock112012
Aitkin111433
Sibley10997
Faribault109416
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99618
Pipestone96823
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9117
Jackson87310
Swift84518
Pope7475
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin6339
Koochiching60610
Lincoln4912
Unassigned47369
Big Stone4693
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 311430

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46841465
Linn18065279
Scott15872172
Black Hawk14090243
Woodbury13129181
Johnson1230052
Dubuque11625159
Pottawattamie9166115
Dallas908972
Story881038
Cerro Gordo473572
Webster472477
Sioux459757
Warren459339
Clinton458168
Marshall431162
Buena Vista396330
Muscatine396178
Des Moines395143
Plymouth353270
Wapello350798
Jasper332859
Lee324632
Marion309353
Jones274950
Henry267131
Carroll258434
Bremer250148
Crawford234724
Boone222917
Washington222933
Benton213650
Mahaska197937
Jackson195032
Tama190259
Dickinson188829
Kossuth180644
Delaware176236
Clay172521
Wright167124
Fayette166024
Hamilton162330
Buchanan162224
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158562
Hardin157931
Cedar155619
Clayton153849
Butler151724
Page147115
Floyd141636
Cherokee140127
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek135224
Hancock131924
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123910
Calhoun12349
Grundy122628
Winnebago122229
Jefferson122125
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass115243
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112640
Sac112215
Union111623
Emmet111332
Humboldt106819
Shelby105527
Guthrie104424
Franklin103618
Unassigned10160
Palo Alto92411
Montgomery89124
Keokuk86326
Howard85919
Monroe82220
Clarke8129
Pocahontas78211
Ida76030
Davis70321
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona68518
Lucas66710
Osceola64711
Worth6194
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4974
Ringgold45111
Audubon4228
Wayne42021
Adams3003
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