ATLANTA (AP) — Jimmy Carter, already the longest-living U.S. president in history, will celebrate his 98th birthday Saturday with family and friends in Plains, the tiny Georgia town where he and his wife, 95-year-old Rosalynn, were born in the years between World War I and the Great Depression.
The 39th president’s latest milestone comes as The Carter Center, which the Carters established together after their one White House term, marks 40 years of promoting democracy and conflict resolution, monitoring elections, and advancing public health in the developing world.
Jason Carter, the former president's grandson now leading the Carter Center board, described his grandfather, an outspoken Christian, as content with his life and legacy.
“He is looking at his 98th birthday with faith in God’s plan for him,” the younger Carter, 47, said, “and that’s just a beautiful blessing for all of us to know, personally, that he is at peace and happy with where he has been and where he’s going.”
Carter Center leaders said the former president, who survived a cancer diagnosis in 2015 and a serious fall at home in 2019, already has enjoyed reading congratulatory messages sent by well-wishers around the world via social media and the center’s website. But Jason Carter said his grandfather is mostly looking forward to a simple day that includes watching his favorite Major League Baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, on television.
“He’s still 100% with it, even though daily life things are a lot harder now,” Jason Carter said. “But one thing I guarantee. He will watch all the Braves games this weekend.”
Jason Carter said the former president reads and watches the news daily, and sometimes accepts calls or visits from political figures. But, he added, the former president isn’t expected to appear publicly to endorse any candidates ahead of November.
“His people that he feels sort of the closest connection with now are the folks in Plains, at his church and other places,” Jason Carter said. “But, you know, his partner No. 1, 2 and 3 is my grandma, right? He has outlived friends and so many of his advisers and the people that he accomplished so much with in the past, but they’ve never been lonely because they’ve always had each other.”
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Associated Press journalist Alex Sanz contributed to this report.