WASHINGTON—Sighing and shaking his head, a shaken and deeply saddened President Obama appeared before the nation Tuesday to deliver the news that he had struck and killed former president Jimmy Carter with his car while driving through downtown Washington last night.
“My fellow Americans, I don’t quite know how to tell you this,” a visibly somber Obama said during the impromptu press conference. “But last night I was out driving, and, um, [heavy sigh], I might as well just say it because I need to hear my voice say it: I ran over the nation’s 39th president, Jimmy Carter.”
“And, well, he’s dead,” Obama continued. “Jimmy Carter is dead.”
According to Obama, he was driving through the intersection at Pennsylvania Avenue and 19th Street when Carter “came out of nowhere.” Saying that it all happened so fast, the president told reporters that he saw something appear in front of him and then he heard a loud thump as if he had hit a deer.
Obama reportedly remembered that there was a split second when he thought he saw Jimmy Carter’s face bounce off his windshield, but figured there was no way it could have been the former president of the United States. When he turned over the body to inspect it, however, he identified it as the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Georgia peanut farmer.
Obama said he wished he could be addressing the nation under different circumstances, and admitted that he is currently experiencing a severe case of shock.
“I had the light, but I could have been paying better attention,” Obama said, a tear streaking down his face. “And that’s what kills me, you know? This was my fault. It was an accident but it was my fault. You take your eye off the road for a second, and…bam, you hit Jimmy Carter with your car. I’m actually sort of numb right now. Jimmy Carter is gone and I am the one responsible.”
“Why exactly President Carter was even carrying two bags of groceries in downtown Washington, D.C. when he lives in Georgia, I have no idea,” the president went on to say. “And why he was buying groceries at 2 a.m. we’ll never know. And perhaps I should stop going on my late-night drives to clear my head. But none of that matters now. I’m sorry about this. I am so, so sorry. Goddammit!”
The president went on to extend his sincerest apologies to former first lady Rosalynn Carter, saying that he would do anything to help in what he is sure must be a difficult time.
Breaking down further and deviating from his prepared remarks, Obama told the country that if he could sign a bill that would bring Jimmy Carter back to life, he would. The president then noted that when you’re 88 years old the body just isn’t well equipped to handle blunt-force trauma, especially from a car going 40 mph.
Gripping the podium with both hands, Obama then stared down at the ground, began breathing heavily, looked back into the camera as if he was about to continue speaking, and then started dry heaving.
“I would have done anything—anything—to keep that man alive!” Obama said. “He looked up at me right before the very end. I’m not sure whether he realized it was me, or if at that moment he was thinking about—of all the people to hit him with a car—how strangely ironic and weird and bizarre that the president of the United States had hit him. I don’t know whether or not he was of sound mind to think about how he, too, had been president, and how there have only been 44 presidents, and how we usually travel by motorcade, and how this probably should have been avoided from an operational and statistical standpoint. But when he looked at me, there was no hate in his eyes.”
“He looked very peaceful,” Obama continued. “And then he just drifted away.”
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr. was born Oct. 1, 1924 in Plains, Georgia. He was one of four children born to James Earl Carter and Bessie Lillian Gordy. He is survived by his wife, his brother “Billy,” three sons, three granddaughters, and two great-grandsons. He brokered the Camp David Accords in 1978, and is the only U.S. president whose death has been caused by the sitting president.