President Obama spent nearly every day for two years on the campaign trail blasting former president George H.W. Bush's son. But Obama has long praised the elder Bush, particularly for his foreign policy decisions, and on Tuesday he presented the 41st president with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Bush was one of 15 people who received the award, including NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and billionaire investor Warren Buffett. (Buffett is a member of the Washington Post Co. board.)
"We honor George Herbert Walker Bush for service to America that spanned nearly 70 years, from a decorated Navy pilot who nearly gave his life in World War II, to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, from CIA director to U.S. envoy to China, to the vice presidency," Obama said in the East Room of the White House. "His life is a testament that public service is a noble calling."