Jimmy Carter: Peace Seeker
If you ever happen to win the Nobel Peace Prize, be prepared. Jimmy Carter says the phone call that brought him the news about his prize "came at 4:02 a.m." (Spoken with the precision of a naval engineer, which Carter used to be.) "Our first thought was that one of our children was sick. Rosalynn answered, and the next thing I knew she was shouting, 'Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!' and handing the phone to me." It doesn't matter what hour the prize came, it was about time. After years of being nominated, Carter, 78, won partly for fashioning the 1978 Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel, but also for his continuing work to further human rights and democracy around the world. His $1 million prize check will be made out to the Carter Center, which establishes health and agricultural programs in poor nations, and helps to resolve conflicts and monitor elections, as Carter has done in 22 countries. Carter may act globally, but he and Rosalynn, 75, still live locally in Plains, the Georgia farm town (pop. 712) where they were born and raised. "Plains is our haven," says Carter, "the only place in the world where we're still just Jimmy and Rosalynn." Since Carter is so easy to spot around town or teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church, 80,000 tourists come to Plains each year to see him. When Carter accepted the Nobel in Oslo this month, he urged people to work for peace in a world that has become "a more dangerous place." The prize caps a 22-year rehabilitation as an ex-President who has never been less than presidential. The things that led to Carter's crushing loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980—high inflation and interest rates and, above all, the Iran hostage crisis—have become a smaller part of his legacy. And how would he like to be remembered? "As a man of peace," he says, "and a good husband and father." What do-gooder has ever done better?
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