President Clinton, Oprah Winfree, Loretta Lynn to get Medal of Freedom

Nov. 13, 2013 at 4:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Loretta Lynn are among those to receive the Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Wednesday.

President Obama will award the medals, the country's highest civilian honor, in a White House ceremony next Wednesday.

Three of the medals are being given posthumously, to Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died in December, astronaut Sally Ride, who died in July 2012, and civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, who died in 1987. The White House said Rustin, who was arrested for a homosexual act in 1953, "stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights."

The award to Clinton for his humanitarian work after leaving the White House comes at a time when his relationship with Obama is awkward. In an interview this week, Clinton urged Obama to make sure people who like their current health insurance can keep it, even if it means changing the Affordable Care Act.

Four of the medals are going to black leaders, Rustin, Winfrey, Chicago Cubs star Ernie Banks and Cordy Tinell "C.T." Vivian, a minister and civil rights pioneer.

The other recipients are: Ben Bradlee, The Washington Post editor who supervised coverage of Watergate; Daniel Kahneman, who spent part of his childhood as a fugitive in occupied France and went on to become a psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics; former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; Mario Molina, a Mexican-born chemist and environmental scientist; Arturo Sandoval, Cuban-born jazz musician; Dean Smith, former head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina; Gloria Steinem, women's liberation pioneer and founder of MS magazine; and Patricia Wald, the first woman appointed to the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia.

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