Nightly News   |  April 04, 2014

Carter Emotional After Watching ‘Camp David’ Play

The Carters returned to Washington, D.C., for the opening of the play “Camp David,” which dramatized the 1978 negotiations that led to the Camp David Accords.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, a new play opened in washington d.c. with just four characters. three heads of state and one first lady. it's called camp david . it's all about former president jimmy carter who devoted two weeks of his presidency and a substantial chunk of his leadership to forging a peace in the middle east . and no pressure on the playwright, the former president and first lady were sitting right there in the audience last night along with nbc's andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: before the moment of victory, the first arab peace treaty there was a struggle. 13 days , two enemies and an american president arguing and pleading with them to make peace.

>> i would say those 13 days were among the most dramatic of my life.

>> reporter: the carters were back in washington for the opening of camp david the play. with richard thomas , once john boy on the waltons and fbi supervisor on "the americans".

>> the challenge of playing a living president who was really in the audience last night.

>> it would have been a good night for an understudy.

>> reporter: history focuses on carter.

>> gentlemen, please.

>> reporter: but lawrence wright realized there should be another pivotal character, the first lady.

>> how's the peacemaking coming along?

>> reporter: i realized the character of rosalyn carter was taking peace among the peacemakers.

>> she had emotional access to the characters the way jimmy did not.

>> reporter: the talks almost fail.

>> it was a crazy idea. completely insane. ask them to make peace? what was i thinking.

>> reliving the emotion of it all the carters cried and embraced the actors that brought it back to life.

>> he had been crying.

>> he handed rosalyn a tissue. she was crying too.

>> she took my hand and said you were a wonderful jimmy. that was about the best thing anybody could have said.

>> reporter: the middle east is still torn by war but the camp david treaty remains unbroken. andrea mitchell nbc news washington.