Obama Asks Congress To Show Courage

Big-name Democrats in the crowd included former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Bay State Gov. Deval Patrick and former late-night host David Letterman, who exchanged a hug with Obama.

Former President Barack Obama called on members of Congress to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, his signature health care law, in a speech at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston on Sunday.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, center, and her son Jack Schlossberg, center right, greet members of MA state service organizations as they arrive at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

"That takes political courage and we're seeing today it's pretty easy to criticize without offering solutions, and that President Obama did not do that", Schlossberg said.

Mr Obama was not the first former U.S. president to receive the Profile in Courage award.

Obama's successor, Republican Donald Trump, campaigned on a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, calling the law a "disaster" and ineffective.

But even as he made the call for congressional Republicans to reject their central legislative push, Obama continued to hammer away on the importance of bipartisan communication and civic engagement for all citizens - a central theme of his post-presidency, according to six close current and former aides to the president I interviewed in March.

When it was time to vote on the Affordable Care Act, he said, "these freshman congressmen and women knew that they had to make a choice, that they had a chance to insure millions and prevent untold worry and suffering, bankruptcy and even death but that this same vote would likely cost them their new seats, perhaps end their political careers".

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Last week House Republicans approved a health care law created to replace Obama's law, commonly called "Obamacare".

The group says it will emphasize the lawmakers' support for a House bill that's estimated to reduce coverage for 24 million people over 10 years and let insurance companies charge more for older people. The plan is now facing an uncertain future in the Senate. Healthcare reform had always been a priority of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy.

But instead of going into a bitter, politics-laced speech created to hit back at the GOP opponents of the Affordable Care Act, he instead told a personal story. John McCain, President Gerald Ford, Rep. John Lewis, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Sen.

Held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, the evening will include a special performance by James Taylor with Kim Taylor and Owen Young.

"Courage means not doing what is simply politically expedient but doing what [people] believe in their hearts is right", he said, mirroring President Kennedy's own words.

"I'm inspired by my family's legacy of public service", he said.

Obama made it clear he wasn't finished:,"I expect to be busy, if not with a second career, at least a second act", he said. Former President Barack Obama is to be presented with the award Sunday.

Mr Obama is travelling to Italy to give a keynote address on climate change and food security at the Seeds and Chips Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan on Tuesday.

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