President Barack Obama surprised Vice President Joe Biden by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction in an emotional ceremony. Biden, who was unaware that the ceremony would take place, became visibly moved when Obama said he would bestow on him the highest civil honor in the United States.
Obama emphasized his positions had not changed and said his efforts to end the use of torture and close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo represented U.S. values. “That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans,” he said in a pointed reference to his successor.
“If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition: the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth,” the First Lady said in her farewell address.
Obama, noting that the first president of the United States, George Washington, had penned a farewell address in 1796, said he would deliver his speech in his hometown of Chicago.
Abe and Obama commemorated the dead at the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship. Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the memorial, a centerpiece of the historic site.
President Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he leaves office.
“You should not be commenting on Fed actions when you are either running for president or you are president,” Clinton told reporters on her campaign plane. “Words have consequences. Words move markets. Words can be misinterpreted.”
“(He) has developed a deep appreciation for her toughness under fire and her commitment to a set of values that the president shares… Those values are principally the reason the president believes that she is the best person to succeed him,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday.
Without executive action, the chances of closing the prison would hinge on convincing a resistant Congress to overturn a long-standing ban on bringing possibly dozens of remaining prisoners to maximum-security prisons in the United States.
Obama said the United States was too slow to condemn human rights atrocities during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship as he honored victims of the “Dirty War” on Thursday.
Getting back to the other side of the dance floor, Obama stopped to wave at the dinner guests as if to conclude. But his partner would have none of it.
“I’m amused when I hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the Constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there.”