JFK Library Honors George H.W. Bush for Breaking 'Read My Lips' Promise

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The soundbite that may have cost former President George H.W. Bush a second term was honored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation as a symbol of courage.

The infamous pledge was made during Bush's nomination speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. That speech, which was at the time well-received, was written by Peggy Noonan. Here's the clip:

Bush ultimately broke the promise two years later while brokering a budget compromise and the clip of Bush's pledge became a centerpiece in Bill Clinton's successful campaign to unseat the president in 1992. Here was the devastating Clinton ad:

How the gaffe went from political flub to act of courage is a compelling sign of the political times, which are increasingly marked by partisan gridlock. Hence, the decision by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to honor Bush 41 for what was, at the time, a major political miscalculation.

The organization honored the 41st U.S. president with its 2014 Profile in Courage Award, praising the Republican leader's "decision to put country above party and political prospects" in the deal with congressional Democrats.

"America's gain was President Bush's loss," Jack Schlossberg, grandson of former president John F. Kennedy and a member of the award committee, said during a ceremony at the library in Boston.

There's no word on whether the foundation will also honor the courageous speech delivered by former Texas governor Ann Richards during the height of the 1988 campaign.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.