President Clinton awards Obama the Congressional Medal of Freedom
WASHINGTON D.C. -- At a moving White House ceremony freighted with historic symbolism, President Hillary Rodham Clinton awarded her predecessor, President Barack Obama, the Congressional Medal of Freedom on Wednesday, calling him, "one of America's greatest presidents."
Clinton's close relationship with Obama has only grown more intimate since she defeated failed GOP candidate Donald Trump by 3 million votes in November, becoming the first woman to be elected president.
In the White House, a crowd of 1,000 stood as witnesses to an electric moment in American history, with reporters in attendance describing the room as "thick with a palpable optimism about the expansion of the American Dream," according to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank.
There was barely a dry eye in the house as Clinton eloquently, carefully, and unflinchly described the racism that black Americans have faced throughout the country's history, and Obama himself shed a tear as Clinton paid somber homage to his "terrific, inspiring achievement."
By the time Clinton's speech concluded, even members of her Secret Service detail were sobbing as Clinton thanked Obama for his "friendship, leadership, and unparalleled service to our country."
Former White House photographer Pete Souza, called the image of the nation's first woman president draping the medal around the neck of the nation's first black president, "instantly indelible."
"If only I'd been able to photograph it," he said.