President Biden inadvertently revealed that he has been asked by former president Jimmy Carter, who entered home hospice care last month, to deliver a eulogy.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., on Monday evening, Biden said that he had spent time with his predecessor recently and that Carter’s health has “finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough.”
Carter’s medical team hasn’t specified the health condition that prompted his decision to spend his final days at home in Plains, Ga., after several hospital stays.
“He asked me to do his eulogy,” Biden said, before catching himself and adding: “Excuse me, I shouldn’t say that.”
The two presidents have a long-standing relationship: Biden was a first-term U.S. senator from Delaware when he endorsed Carter’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. Biden and Carter — a onetime peanut farmer and engineer — bonded in part because both were then relative outsiders to Washington.
Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, endorsed Biden in a video played at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, with Carter describing Biden as his “first and most effective supporter in the Senate.”
On Monday, Biden also spoke about his “Cancer Moonshot” plan to halve the death rate from cancer over the next 25 years and called for funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, which supports research for some of medical science’s most challenging problems.
Carter, who at 98 is the oldest living former president, was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015 that had spread to parts of his brain. But after a combination of radiation treatments and an immune-based therapy, he announced later that year he was cancer-free.