BOSTON – Former President George H.W. Bush was honored Sunday with a Kennedy “courage” award for agreeing to raise taxes to confront a spiraling deficit, jeopardizing his presidency that ended after one term.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum honored Bush with a 2014 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
The award crossed generations and political parties. It was given by Jack Schlossberg, son of the late Democratic president’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, to Lauren Bush, granddaughter of the former Republican president.
Conservatives denounced Bush for raising taxes, breaking a promise in his successful 1988 campaign for the White House.
Schlossberg said the award recognizes Bush for taking action, even if it was unpopular.
The budget deal enacted “responsible and desperately needed reforms” at the expense of Bush’s chances for re-election, he said.
“America’s gain was President Bush’s loss, and his decision to put country above party and political prospects makes him an example of a modern profile in courage that is all too rare,” he said.
In a message read by his granddaughter, Bush expressed regret he could not accept the award in person. He blamed his absence on “a nasty rumor” that the evening’s awards dinner would include broccoli – a vegetable the 41st president famously dislikes.
Also honored with a Profile in Courage Award was Paul W. Bridges, former mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, who was voted out of office after he spoke out against a law that aimed to drive undocumented immigrants out of the state. Bridges, elected in 2009, argued that the law would separate families and harm the local agricultural economy.
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