The Bidens visit the Carters in Georgia

ByMaegan Vazquez, CNN, CNNWire
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
The Bidens visit the Carters in Georgia
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter at the Carters' Plains, Georgia, home.

PLAINS, Georgia -- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter at the Carters' Plains, Georgia, home on Thursday.

The visit, which lasted about an hour, marked the first time the couples had met in person since Biden became president, since the Carters did not attend Biden's inauguration in January because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The press did not go inside the private meeting, but at the end of their visit, Rosalynn Carter was seen walking outside to say goodbye to the Bidens.

"It was great to see President Carter," Biden said before departing Georgia. "It reminded me that I was the first person to endorse him outside of Georgia. And we sat and talked about the old days and he introduced me to a friend of his, a reverend he wanted me to get to know, and Rosalynn was great, too. We just had a nice time. We're old friends."

Biden also said Carter's health was improving.

"His health has gotten better. It's amazing. It's bouncing back and we talked a little bit about cancer research, a few other things," he said.

The President also participated in a drive-in car rally in Duluth while he was in Georgia, part of his travel blitz to directly sell his policy proposals to the American public.

Ahead of the meeting the White House described the visit as a quick "stop by and say hello" by the Bidens.

"The President and the first lady have a longstanding friendship with President Carter and Mrs. Carter. President Biden actually spoke to them, President Carter, the night before inauguration. As we all know, they were not able to attend. ... They had said on that call that they would try to connect after the inauguration, and since they were both in Georgia they wanted to stop by and say hello," principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One ahead of the Georgia visit.

Carter's partner in the White House, former Vice President Walter Mondale, died last week in Minneapolis, but Jean-Pierre said the visit was not planned in light of his death.

Presidents Carter and Biden have a longstanding relationship.

Biden's inauguration was the first one Carter had missed since his own swearing-in in 1977. But Biden saluted him for "his lifetime of service" in his speech.

And more recently, Biden participated in a tribute to the Carters as part of the upcoming premiere of the new documentary "Carterland," which is set to debut at the Atlanta Film Festival this weekend.

"President Carter, you've shown us what we can be as individuals, as a nation -- courageous, compassionate and humble," Biden said during the pre-taped tribute. "And Mrs. Carter, Rosalynn, as first lady and ever since, you've done much to advance and address so many of society's greatest needs."

Carter has maintained an active post-presidency, even into his 90s, with a particular focus on global health issues and helping those in need. He was the only former president who maintained a working relationship with the Trump administration, specifically on issues related to North Korea and China.

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