President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 Americans on Wednesday. The recipients include former President Bill Clinton, Ben Bradlee, Gloria Steinem, Oprah, Loretta Lynn, and Sally Ride. The medal is the U.S.'s highest civilian honor, started 50 years ago by former president John F. Kennedy, given to "men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours."
Speaking of Bill Clinton, Obama cited both the former president's time in office, as well as the work of the Clinton Foundation, which, Obama said, works to "improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment." Oprah was the last of the group to receive the award. The president noted that both he and his wife Michelle are "friends and fans."
And, finally, Obama and Gloria Steinem shared a moment when he presented her with the Medal of Freedom. pic.twitter.com/ENOvh3brLG— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) November 20, 2013
Meanwhile, not everyone was as receptive as the live ceremony's audience to the recipients. Matt Drudge tweeted, "Would we all be better off under President Oprah?"
How many wigs did Oprah go through before picking her Medal of Honor wig?— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) November 20, 2013
At the White House today, Usurper-of-Freedom to award Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 recipients, including Oprah & Gloria Steinem.— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) November 20, 2013
Here are the recipients, with bios courtesy of the White House:
Ernie Banks: Known to many as “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. During his 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he played in 11 All-Star Games, hit over 500 home runs, and became the first National League player to win Most Valuable Player honors in back-to-back years. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.