Jason Carter on his grandparents: ‘You do not get more from a life’

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Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, paid tribute to his grandmother Tuesday after her death over the weekend.

“They got what they wanted,” he said of his grandparents’ relationship. “Out of all the things that they did, I mean, you do not get more from a life than the two of them got.”

Jason Carter, a former state senator who now chairs the Carter Center’s board of directors, joined the “Politically Georgia” podcast following the death of his grandmother Sunday saying his grandparents’ relationship was “one of the greatest American love stories, period.”

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“He wouldn’t have won his campaign for the state Senate without her either, or the campaign for governor before 1976,” he said of his grandfather’s political career. “She was by far the best politician in our family.”

He said he thinks his grandparents’ relationship was so successful because they came from the same place, understood each other, worked at it and stayed grounded, despite rising to the highest office in the country.

The Carter Center said in a statement that the former first lady passed away just after 2 p.m. Sunday at her home in Plains, Ga., about two days after she entered hospice care. The Carters marked their 77th wedding anniversary in July. Rosalynn Carter, a longtime advocate for mental health issues, was diagnosed in March with dementia.

The former president celebrated his 99th birthday last month after entering hospice care in February. He is the oldest former living president in U.S. history.

“It is so much easier for me to talk about her and him as sort of global leaders, as people who’ve done amazing things, than it is for me to process the personal side of this for right now,” Jason Carter said on the podcast.

As first lady, Rosalynn Cater was the honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health and was the first first lady to have her own office in the East Wing. She often sat in on Cabinet meetings and important briefings.

His grandfather entering hospice care nearly a year ago allowed Jason Carter time to process his decline, he said, but Rosalynn’s “steeper decline” is still very raw for the family.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were family friends as children and went on their first date when she was 17. After their first date, the former president told his mother that she was the girl he wanted to marry.

In a statement from former President Carter released after his wife’s death, he said she was his equal partner in everything he ever accomplished.

“She was such a glue for our family,” Jason Carter said. “She was the personal caretaker in so many ways for so many of us, including me personally, at many different times in my life.”

“I just wanted to acknowledge sort of the odd aspect of this for me, which is, we are all going through this normal human mourning, but we do have this public-facing view of it, and given what they’ve done, it’s an incredible story to tell,” he continued.

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