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Will Carter Be Obama’s Special Envoy On Korean Crisis?

One disastrous Prez sends off another!

As I arrived at the White House yesterday for the regular press briefing, I spotted an easily-recognized figure:  Jimmy Carter.  Accompanied by two aides, the 39th President was headed into the West Wing where he used to work as I went into the briefing room.

The arrival of Carter to the White House (unannounced to the regular press corps) and subsequent confirmation to me that he was meeting with the National Security Council staff as well as President Obama sparked immediate speculation that the 86-year-old former President would be tapped for as a special envoy to deal with the current flare-up between North and South Korea. 

From when he met with the late North Korean strongman Kim il-Sung in 1994 to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear prowess to a few months ago when he secured the release of an American prisoner, Carter has had a special relationship with the Communist nation known as “the hermit kingdom.”  In the wake of the shelling of a South Korean island by North Korea, Carter wrote in the Washington Post last week that the U.S. should consider direct talks with Pyongyang. 

When I mentioned my “Carter sighting” during the press briefing, it caught many of my colleagues by surprise.  New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker says that Carter’s visit to the White House was his first since Barack Obama took office in January of 2009.

In the final question of the briefing, I asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs whether Carter was headed to meet President Obama.

“I believe his schedule had a meeting with our National Security Advisor and I believe the President also asked President Carter to stop in,” replied the President’s top spokesman. 

“Regarding Korea?” I asked.

Gibbs said “[t]hat is all I know, and I will try to find more.”

When I pressed Gibbs and asked if Carter would be available for reporters’ questions later, he would only say:  “That’s not my bailiwick.”

A colleague shouted: “Tell him to go the stakeout!” leading Gibbs to say to both of us: “. . I will say that you guys both wanted to see him, how about that?  I will try to get some more information.”

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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