Former ambassador Stuart Eizenstat remembers Carter’s campaigns
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - As former President Carter receives hospice care at his home in Sumter County, we’re hearing great stories from those who know him best, including Stuart Eizenstat. He’s an Atlanta native who would go on to be one of Carter’s top advisors.
“I met Jimmy Carter in the Hurt Building across from the federal courthouse in downtown Atlanta,” Eizenstat said. “He came in with work boots, khaki pants and a shirt. We sat on metal folding chairs with a card table between us. It took me two meetings for me to be convinced that I should work for him.”
After Carter’s victory, Eizenstat became the new governor’s issues advisor, helping Carter define his positions on the issues of the day.
“Here was a south Georgia farmer, who really understood urban issues. He was in favor of mass transit for Atlanta, for education reform, he was more progressive on race issues, and I saw him as a possible bridge between rural and urban Georgia,” Eizenstat said.
Eizenstat saw Carter as a possible candidate for national office. and while the two ate lunch at the old Dante’s Down The Hatch at Underground Atlanta, Eizenstat made his pitch.
Eizenstat remembered saying, “‘I think you should run for president, and if you do and you win a few southern primaries, you could be the vice presidential nominee because they’ll want somebody from the south to balance the ticket.’ And he gave me this big toothy grin, and he said ‘I am running for president, and I’m not going to be the vice-presidential candidate. I’m going to be the presidential candidate. I’m just starting to organize my team, please join me.’”
And he did, following Carter all the way to the White House.
Eizenstat would go on to serve multiple presidents, eventually becoming the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. He says the most important lesson he learned from president carter is the importance of hard work.
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