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Former President Jimmy Carter discusses his cancer diagnosis during a press conference at the Carter Center on August 20, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Carter confirmed that he has melanoma and will start treatment today. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Editorial: Wishing Jimmy Carter well

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SHARE Editorial: Wishing Jimmy Carter well

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We would like to wish Jimmy Carter well.

He has lived a full and honorable life, but we would rather he not leave us yet.

On Thursday, President Carter, who is 90, held a news conference to announce that doctors have found four small spots of cancer on his brain, a form of melanoma, and he would immediately begin radiation treatment. He was composed and straightforward, as is his way.

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We would have expected nothing less. Jimmy Carter has aged well. His presidency was a difficult one, and he was defeated for reelection in 1980 by Ronald Reagan after a single term. But he deserves much credit for a singular achievement, the Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt, and he truly came into his own in the next chapter of his life. Twenty-two years after leaving the White House, now a globe-traveling humanitarian, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

That the United States has four living ex-presidents — Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — is somehow reassuring, a reminder of how power changes hands in a democracy, peaceably, simply as a matter of course. We like this ex-presidents club.

Carter’s doctors say he has a fighting chance, and we have no doubt he will fight. That also is his way. Behind the Southern drawl has always been a steely will. Carter says he’s “ready for anything and looking forward to a new adventure.”

But no matter what, he added, he has lived a “wonderful life.”

We wish Jimmy Carter well.

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