Obama to Receive JFK Courage Award in Boston - NBC New York
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Obama to Receive JFK Courage Award in Boston

"It's pretty easy to criticize without offering solutions, and President Obama did not do that. He had the courage to govern responsibly," JFK's only grandson said




    Former President Barack Obama will be in Boston on Sunday to accept the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

    Kennedy's daughter Caroline and her 24-year-old son, Jack Schlossberg, will present Obama with the award at the JFK Library and Museum. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. with a performance by James Taylor.

    "I'm thrilled with the choice," Kennedy said Friday on the "Today" show. "There are many kinds of courage and he demonstrated more than one of those."

    Schlossberg, the former president's only grandchild, said he was inspired in 2008 by Obama's vision for America "and the promises he laid out."

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    "This award really recognizes that he made tough choices over the last eight years to execute on that vision, to give people health care, to get serious about climate change and to reach out to international partners and really improve America's standing in the world. That takes political courage," he added. " I think we're seeing today that it's pretty easy to criticize without offering solutions, and President Obama did not do that. He had the courage to govern responsibly."

    Obama has kept a low profile since delivering his farewell address in January. He resurfaced last week for his first public appearance since leaving office, speaking to students at the University of Chicago. And earlier this week he unveiled plans for his future presidential center.

    The JFK Profile in Courage Award is presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. It is named for Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Profiles in Courage." The book tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions.

    "Faced with unrelenting political opposition, President Obama has embodied the definition of courage that my grandfather cites in the opening lines of 'Profiles in Courage': grace under pressure," Schlossberg said in announcing the award earlier this year. "Throughout his two terms in office, he represented all Americans with decency, integrity, and an unshakeable commitment to the greater good."

    Obama is being recognized for "his enduring commitment to democratic ideals and elevating the standard of political courage in a new century," the foundation said, citing the expansion of health care options for millions, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and leadership on an international climate change agreement.

    The award has been given out annually since 1989. Last year's winner was Democratic Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy.

    Obama is the third former U.S. president to earn the award, joining Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. Other winners include U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., former Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko and former U.S. Rep. Carl Elliott Sr., D-Ala.