Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Carter Talks "Argo" At Roundtable Event, Helps Renovate Homes In Queens

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On Friday, NY1 was given the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with former President Jimmy Carter, who is in town to promote his work with the nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

At 89 years old, President Jimmy Carter's movements may be a little slower, but his mind is as sharp as ever.

NY1 asked the former Democratic President about the movie "Argo," which won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year. "Argo" is the real life story of American diplomats in Iran who were rescued after the U.S. embassy was taken over.

"The CIA agent was only in Iran for a day and half," Carter said. "So the whole movie was great. I thought it deserved the Best Picture of the year. But 95 percent of the credit in the movie went to American CIA agents, and 95 percent of the credit should have gone to the Canadians."

President Carter says that after the diplomats escaped Iran, additional covert U.S. agents who were on the ground attempted to leave the country. They were using fake German passports, and one of them almost got caught.

"And then, the last guy that went through, the agent called him back, and he said, 'Look, I've been here 25 years and I've never seen a German passport with an initial on it. They always spell out all the names. Germans are very meticulous about that. And your name is Louis H. Leipsig.' And he said, 'I never saw one with Louis H. Leipsig, so something's wrong here,'" Carter said. "And the agent was very smart. He said, 'You know, when I was born, my parents named me Hitler. My middle name was Hitler, and I got special permission.'"

Carter, along with his wife, Rosalynn, spent the morning building a home with volunteers from Habitat for Humanity. Eventually, Dawnette Dixon and her family will move in.

"Owning this home is going to change my life for the better with my family," Dixon said.

Habitat has been particularly active in the New York area since Hurricane Sandy. They have removed debris or repaired 70 homes located exclusively on Staten Island.

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