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Obama honors Presidential Medal of Freedom winners: Who's eligible? (+video)

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(Read caption) President Barack honored a diverse group of political and cultural icons, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, author Toni Morrison and rock legend Bob Dylan, with the Medal of Freedom at the White House on Tuesday.
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What do Bob Dylan, Bob Dole, Warren Buffet, Earl Warren, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Jackie Robinson, and Jack Nicklaus have in common?

No, they’re not characters in the longest “walk into a bar” joke ever told. They are all recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award the United States government bestows.

President Obama handed out 13 of these coveted decorations in an East Room ceremony on May 29. The aforementioned Mr. Dylan was one of the recipients. As he and John Glenn, Toni Morrison, and other 2012 honorees bowed to have the spiffy white star hung around their necks, we got to thinking: Where does the Presidential Medal of Freedom come from, anyway? How does it compare to the Medal of Honor and other top US decorations? Why did Dylan wear sunglasses to Tuesday’s East Room investiture?


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