The folks on PBS's "Inside Washington" had some fun as the program moved to a conclusion Friday.
The topic of discussion was Barack Obama awarding Medals of Freedom Tuesday, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer was unimpressed by the President "indulging himself in thanking people he’s always liked" (humorous video follows with transcript and commentary):
GORDON PETERSON: The nation's highest civilian honor went to fifteen worthy individuals this week.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, historian John Lewis will come to mind – an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time.
PETERSON: On March 7, 1965, Bloody Sunday at Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus bridge, John Lewis suffered a fractured skull as Alabama’s state troopers attacked him and 600 other civil rights marchers. John Lewis, President George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou, Stan Musial, Bill Russell, Warren Buffett -- pick a favorite, Charles.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, these are wonderful guys and women. Lewis is a national hero. To me this is a little bit self-indulgent. It seems to me this it is a President and senior staff gets to hang a medal around his childhood heroes. I guess if you’re the President you get perks like Air Force One and this. But to me, it is a President indulging himself in thanking people he’s always liked. I don’t begrudge it going to John Lewis. I don’t want to be a skunk be a skunk at the party, but is it really a necessary party?
NINA TOTENBERG: You really think George H.W. Bush was a childhood hero of?
PETERSON: He was a hero.
TOTENBERG: He needs balance so he obviously has to have a Republican and having a Bush is a good idea.
COLBY KING, WASHINGTON POST: Would you turn it down? Would you say, “No, I do not want that medal, Mr. President?”
PETERSON: You’re being self-indulgent.
TOTENBERG: You are a skunk at the party.
KRAUTHAMMER: My chances of being awarded the Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama are about equal to Saddam Hussein’s and it’s not given posthumously. Or is it? Perhaps it is.
Yes it is.