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Carter hospitalized but expected to resume tour

By Ann Gerhart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 29, 2010; A2

While on tour promoting his 26th book, former president Jimmy Carter was hospitalized Tuesday in Cleveland with an upset stomach, but he was expected to resume his schedule Wednesday with two events in Washington, said a spokeswoman for the Carter Center.

Carter, who will turn 86 on Friday, fell ill aboard a flight from Atlanta and was rushed by ambulance and Secret Service escort to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was to remain overnight. By midafternoon, President Obama had called the 39th president and reported that Carter "sounded great," said White House spokesman Bill Burton.

The episode added more drama to the bits of controversy Carter has created during interviews to promote "White House Diary," an edited collection of the journals he kept during his four-year term.

He said last week that his role as a former president is probably "superior" to those of other ex-presidents because of his independent dealmaking in trouble spots around the world. A month ago, for instance, he popped up in North Korea and won the release of an American teacher who had been imprisoned for illegally crossing the border.

And during a recent "60 Minutes" interview, Carter blamed the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) for derailing universal health care 30 years ago. "It was his fault. Ted Kennedy killed the bill," he said.

Carter is scheduled to appear Wednesday night at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium for a book signing and a talk before a sold-out crowd of 1,400. Late Tuesday afternoon, his book publicist confirmed that he will be there, according to Christine Cimino, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian Associates, which is producing the event.

Carter is also expected to sign books as scheduled at Politics and Prose in the District. His last signing, in 2003, drew about 750 people, said Mike Giarratano, who handles the store's author events.

Carter's hospitalization disappointed about 500 people who had lined up Tuesday afternoon at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cleveland, according to reporters at the store. Carter also canceled an event Tuesday night in Durham, N.C.

The scheduled appearances were at the beginning of a 13-city tour for the book.

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