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Jimmy Carter becomes longest-living president

By Clyde Hughes
Jimmy Carter, longest-living president, turns 97
Jimmy Carter in 1946. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and joined the Navy that year. UPI File Photo | License Photo

March 22 (UPI) -- Jimmy Carter on Friday became the longest-living president in U.S. history, at 94 years and 172 days, surpassing George H.W. Bush, who died in November.

Daria Labinsky, an archivist with of the Carter Presidential Library, said nothing special is planned to mark the event at the library.

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"Both President and Mrs. Carter are determined to use their influence for as long as they can to make the world a better place. Their tireless resolve and heart have helped to improve life for millions of the world's poorest people," Deanna Congileo, a Carter Center representative, said in a statement.

Carter, a Democrat from Georgia, was the first elected president since the Watergate scandal led to the resignation of Richard Nixon and elevation of Gerald Ford, who was appointed by Nixon.

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The Carter administration struggled with high inflation and the Iranian hostage crisis.

His second act, though, has come to define him more than his time in the White House.

Carter, who left the presidency at age 56 after one term, has won the Nobel Peace Prize, traveled the world to promote human rights and monitor elections. He has written more than a dozen books. He also holds the record for living the longest since leaving the presidency at 38 years.

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Carter is also well-known for his support for the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, in which volunteers help build affordable housing for the poor. Carter picked up a hammer to work on more than 4,000 of those homes since leaving the White House.

"The last 20 years of my life have been the most gratifying of all," Carter has said.

He continues to teach Sunday school at his local church in Plains, Ga.

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Carter's treatment for melanoma lesions on his brain, which was discovered in 2015, ended in February when doctors told him he no longer needed them. He was briefly hospitalized in Winnipeg for dehydration in 2017 while working at a Habitat for Humanity site, but bounced back.

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