President Obama to award George H.W. Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom
By Kenneth R. Bazinet
White House Correspondent
Wednesday, November 17th 2010, 9:29 PM
President Obama dropped a bipartisan bombshell today, announcing he will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom next year to ex-President George H.W. Bush.
The magnanimous gesture of bestowing the nation’s highest civilian honor to the 41st U.S. President came a day after ex-President George W. Bush gave a respectful nod to Obama at the groundbreaking of his library in Dallas.
“The decisions of governing are on another President’s desk, and he deserves to make them without criticism from me,” Bush said at the site of his future library at Southern Methodist University.
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, St. Louis (baseball) Hall of Famer Stan Musial, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Wall Street wizard Warren Buffett top the list of scholars, athletes, artists, achievers and do-gooders who will be presented the award at a White House ceremony early next year.
“These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place. I look forward to awarding them this honor,” Obama said.
The rest of the list includes civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), environmentalist John H. Adams, poet Maya Angelou, Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein, optometrist murdered by the Taliban Dr. Tom Little, civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, disabled rights advocate Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and former AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney.