Washington, DC (UPSI) – President Bush yesterday awarded the presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the president, to eight recipients in a public ceremony and three other recipients in a more private White House ceremony afterwards. Recipients in the public ceremony included among others: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, American novelist Harper Lee, C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, US Congressman Henry Hyde, and Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biset in absentia. The three recipients in the private White House ceremony were current Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, former presidential lawyer and Supreme Court candidate Harriet Myers, and former political adviser Karl Rove who became the first person in history to receive a second Medal of Freedom.
Rove was awarded his second medal of freedom for, “advancing the concept of fuzzy math in all avenues of American society, including electioneering, economics, and the science of global warming,” the White House announced. Rove had received his first medal of freedom two years ago for his work in advancing a permanent Republican majority in the US.
Former presidential counsel Harriet Myers was awarded the Medal of Freedom for her outstanding years of service to the president and therefore the people of the United States according to a White House spokesperson. “She is particularly to be credited for her work in parsing extreme interrogation policies to conform with the administration’s underlying principle of never resorting to torture. Her work in combating the traditional pitfalls in politicizing branches of government other than the executive is outstanding.”
The White House credited the final recipient, current Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, with his unfailing efforts to promote and defend the concepts of the unitary executive, and executive privilege. “We do believe that with the recognition that Mr. Bolten has received today that he would be willing to go to jail rather than compromise his principles.”
White House counsel Fred F. Fielding stated that the awards, “were in no way associated with the administration’s ongoing refusal to respond to congressional subpoenas. We have continued to fight for open and free government with our offer to testify without oath or transcript. This is a fight that Congress will lose… if they choose to go after three Medal of Freedom recipients, they do so at their own peril.”
Past recipients of the Medal of Freedom who were previous administration officials include former CIA Director George Tenet, and Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator Paul Bremer.