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Former Presidents Start to RSVP for Inauguration

George W. Bush will be there, Jimmy Carter won't
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 5, 2021 5:38 PM CST
Updated Jan 6, 2021 8:54 AM CST

(Newser) – Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this month—but the sole living former Republican president will. A rep for George W. Bush said that both Bush and wife Laura will attend on the 20th, framing it like so, per Bloomberg: "I believe this will be the eighth inauguration they've had the privilege of attending ... and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old." As for the Carters, it marks the first time the couple, 96 and 93, will have missed the ceremonies since Carter was sworn in as the 39th president in 1977, the AP reports. A spokeswoman at the Carter Center in Atlanta said the Carters have sent Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris their "best wishes" and "look forward to a successful administration."

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Biden was a young Delaware senator and Carter ally during the Georgian's term in the White House. The Carters have spent the coronavirus pandemic mostly at their home in Plains, Ga., where both were raised and where they returned after leaving the White House in 1981. Carter, a Democrat, became the longest-lived American president in March 2019, surpassing former President George HW Bush, who died the previous November. Carter survived a melanoma diagnosis that spread to his brain in 2015. He has since had several falls and hip replacement surgery. He no longer teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, as he had for decades, but still participates in church activities via video amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Read more Jimmy Carter stories.)

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