March 2, 2017 / 3:57 PM / 6 months ago

Kennedy Library picks Obama for 'Profiles in Courage' award

FILE PHOTO - Former president Barack Obama embraces a staff member before boarding Special Air Mission 28000, a Boeing 747 which serves as Air Force One, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. on January 20, 2017.Brendan McDermid/File Photo

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday was named this year's winner of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library's "Profile in Courage" award, an annual honor for leaders who stand up to political opponents.

The museum cited Obama's signature healthcare reform law, which his successor President Donald Trump has vowed to repeal and replace, restored diplomatic ties with Cuba and the Paris climate change deal as key reasons for his selection.

"President Obama has embodied the definition of courage that my grandfather cites in the opening lines of 'Profiles in Courage': grace under pressure," Jack Schlossberg, the slain U.S. president's grandson, said in a statement. "Throughout his two terms in office, he represented all Americans with decency, integrity, and an unshakeable commitment to the greater good."

The award takes its name from Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book about eight U.S. Senators who took principled stands on unpopular issues.

Previous winners include former presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush; Gabrielle Giffords, the former U.S. representative who left Congress after a gunman shot her in the head; and John McCain, the U.S. senator and former prisoner of war.

Obama will receive the award in a May 7 ceremony at the waterfront Boston Kennedy library.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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