ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly four decades after voters unceremoniously rejected then-President Jimmy Carter’s bid for a second term, the 39th president has reached a milestone that electoral math cannot dispute: He is now the longest-living chief executive in American history.
Friday is the 172nd day beyond Carter’s 94th birthday, exceeding by one day the lifespan of former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94 years, 171 days. Both men were born in 1924: Bush on June 12, Carter on Oct. 1.
It’s yet another post-presidency distinction for Carter, whose legacy since leaving office has long overshadowed both his rocky White House tenure and the remarkable political rise that led him from his family peanut farm and a state Senate seat to the governor’s mansion and his unlikely presidential victory in 1976.
The achievement also defies medical odds, coming more than three years after Carter announced he had melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. He underwent treatment and received a clean bill of health.
“There are no special celebrations planned,” said Deanna Congileo, spokeswoman for the former president and The Carter Center, which Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, now 91, founded in Atlanta in 1982 to focus on global human rights issues.