ATLANTA — If he were pressed into service as a presidential debate moderator, Jimmy Carter said that he’d ask the candidates to speak about how they would encourage peace and human rights.
The former U.S. president spoke Tuesday night at an annual question-and-answer session for supporters of The Carter Center, the human rights nonprofit he and his wife founded in Atlanta. Rosalynn Carter accompanied her husband at the event.
Here’s a look at the broad range of topics the pair covered:
Carter, who dedicated a portion of his 1977 inaugural address to human rights, said “it would be hard to imagine” either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump making a similar speech in January.
Carter joked that he’d try to avoid recent criticism lobbed at Matt Lauer following back-to-back interviews with the candidates during a televised national security forum. Carter said he’d like this fall’s debate moderators to gather questions from average Americans. Carter said if he was in a moderator’s role, he’d ask Clinton and Trump to talk about “overcoming the present dissensions and violence and abuse that’s sometimes part of United States policy.”
“I think it would be an embarrassing question to them because they haven’t talked about that during the campaign,” Carter said. “It’s mostly been how we have to stay at war and how much we will discriminate against other people and things like that.”
Jimmy Carter said an MRI of his brain on Tuesday morning “turned out to be OK” and he remains healthy.
Carter, 91, began receiving treatment for cancer in August of 2015. Doctors removed a portion of his liver and prescribed a round of radiation for tumors on his brain. In March, Carter announced that recent scans showed no signs of cancer and he no longer needed doses of an immune-boosting drug.
Carter said scars from the small tumors once detected on his brain are still visible but haven’t changed in size.
Carter said he’s looking forward to his 92nd birthday on Oct. 1 and will celebrate with Rosalynn in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. The couple has a home there.
Carter said he’s closely watching the cease-fire in Syria. The Carter Center has worked in Syria since 2013, holding workshops and other events in the country. As of Tuesday evening, the cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia had held through a first day.
“That’s good news for the present time,” Carter said.
The center’s programming in Syria also includes a mapping project using social media and other sources to chart shifting points of conflict in the country. The organization then shares that information with mediators and other humanitarian organizations. Carter said he and Rosalynn recently met with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, and discussed that project.
“He started Facebook,” Rosalynn Carter interjected as her husband spoke. “He started Facebook, yes,” Jimmy Carter replied, promoting laughter from the crowd.