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Photo: Alex Sanz / AP

Jimmy Carter's last mission? Maureen Dowd visits #39 in Plains, Ga.:

  • "The 93-year-old would like to pull another rabbit out of a hat — just not a killer rabbit — and enter into a productive partnership with Donald Trump over North Korea. ... One of the basic premises of the Carter Center is that you should talk to dictators."
  • "I would go, yes," Carter told Maureen.
  • In 1994, "Carter flew into Pyongyang on his own over the objections of President Bill Clinton and struck a deal with Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of the current leader, ... and the man the grandson models himself on — right down to his hairstyle. North Korea secretly cheated on the deal by pursuing another path to a bomb just four years later."
  • Carter on Kim Jong-un: "I think he's now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland."
  • Carter said he has talked to Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, who is a good friend, including at Zbigniew Brzezinski's funeral when McMaster asked to sit next to Carter, but has so far gotten a negative response": "I told him that I was available if they ever need me."
  • Fun fact: "I asked if he had Obama's email address. 'No,' he said flatly."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
17 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.