presidential medal of freedom

Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand Are Among President Obama’s Recipients of the Medal of Freedom

President Obama Presents The Presidential Medal Of Freedom Awards
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest recognition the president can bestow upon a civilian — to a group of 17 “extraordinary” individuals, including many in the arts and entertainment industry, such as Barbra Streisand, Itzhak Perlman, James Taylor, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Stephen Sondheim, and Steven Spielberg. “Even by the standards of Medal of Freedom recipients, this is a class act. We are just reminded when we see these individuals here on the stage what an incredible tapestry this country is,” said Obama. “They represent what’s best in us.” 

The New York Times reports that as President Obama was describing Spielberg’s many accomplishments, a phone rang. “Somebody is calling to see if they can book him for a deal right now. They want to make a pitch,” joked Obama. He started, “So there’s this really good-looking president …” We can see President Obama’s post-presidential life now: It’ll be Lincoln meets War of the Worlds!

Obama Awards the Medal of Freedom to Spielberg