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Obama to honor Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton with Freedom Medal

Obama to honor Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton with Freedom Medal

By Laura Kittell. CREATED Aug 8, 2013

WASHINGTON (KGUN9-TV / AP) - President Barack Obama will bestow the nation's highest civilian honor on Oprah Winfrey and former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton and Winfrey will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year at the White House. They'll join 14 other honorees, including activist Gloria Steinem and former Sen. Richard Lugar. Also being honored is Ben Bradlee, the editor who oversaw Washington Post coverage of Watergate.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel.

Former Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut in space, will receive the medals posthumously.

President John F. Kennedy created the medal of freedom in an executive order signed 50 years ago. The White House says more than 500 people have been honored.