ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter celebrated his 90th birthday Wednesday in Atlanta, blowing out three candles representing the past, present and future and thanking family and friends for their support and love.
"It's been a good first 90 years," the 39th president joked before telling the crowd gathered in a chapel on The Carter Center grounds that he is looking forward to much more work. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, founded the international health and human rights organization after leaving the White House.
Carter said his life was most shaped by his marriage to Rosalynn and growing up in Plains, Georgia, where he worked and played with black children who didn't have the same rights as he because of their race. Carter said he still feels guilt for not realizing sooner how wrong that was.
Being elected president, he said, was the highlight of his political life. However, he said he's had the "best times" of his life since establishing The Carter Center, "this beautiful place on earth that has set moral and ethical standards that exemplify what a superpower like America ought to be."
Rosalynn Carter choked up while introducing her husband, telling him she's proud of him for both his work and the family they built together. As for what's next, Rosalynn Carter said only one thing is certain.
"It will be something because Jimmy Carter is miserable if he's not doing something," she said, laughing with the crowd.
Carter is the second-oldest of the five living U.S. presidents. He was born 111 days after President George H.W. Bush, who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year.