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Obama bestows medal on Edward Brooke


President Obama congratulates Congressional Gold Medal honoree former senator Edward Brooke during a ceremony on Capitol Hill. (Jim Young/Reuters)

By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama honored Edward Brooke, the first African American to be elected to the Senate by popular vote, praising him Wednesday as a political pioneer who broke racial barriers and bridged divides to move "the arc of history."

Speaking in the Capitol Rotunda at a ceremony where Brooke, 90, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the body's highest honor, Obama said that Brooke ignored the "naysayers" and rejected conventional wisdom to carve out a history-making political career.

Brooke grew up in a segregated world, but came to represent a brand of politics that crossed racial lines. A Washington, D.C. native, Brooke served in the segregated Army and became a lawyer. When the big firms ignored his applications, he set up his own practice. He then became the first African American in Massachusetts history to win statewide elective office, first as attorney general and later as a U.S. senator. He served in the Senate from 1967 to 1979.

Obama noted that when Brooke decided to run for office he bucked the odds. He was an African American, a Protestant and a Republican in as state that was mostly white, Catholic and Democratic.

But Brooke believed that voters would assess him based on his ideas and character -- faith that was ultimately rewarded, Obama noted. "Ed was unfazed," he said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 28, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Cast of Characters , Washington Life  
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Comments

WHAT?? Odumbo honoring a person for being Black, ignoring the fact that Brooke was guilty of peddling influence in a HUD scandal, as well as being an adulterer (with Baba Wawa, no less)??

Please, help us get this special teleprompter-reading African off the stage in 2012.

Posted by: tjhall1

====

tjhall1: exposing ignorance; ironically, his own.

Posted by: Crucialitis | October 28, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Brooke indeed, was a trailblazer. Not to mention a Black Republican. Kudos are well deserved on this ocassion.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3ZVTIPmPoQ

Posted by: Victoria5 | October 28, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Pres. Obama for bestowing this honor on former Sen. Brooke and I'm glad he's alive - at 90 - to receive the honor. Well deserved.

Posted by: rlj1 | October 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

It is good to see President Obama honoring am man for breaking down racial barriers, not just for being a African American. To the critics that chose to show there ignorance on there post, I am glad to see a President that can handle a plethora of priorities (two wars, a finiancial mess, national health care) etc. and still honor a trail blazer such as Mr. Brooke.

Posted by: josewood1 | October 28, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It is good to see President Obama honoring am man for breaking down racial barriers, not just for being a African American. To the critics that chose to show there ignorance on there post, I am glad to see a President that can handle a plethora of priorities (two wars, a finiancial mess, national health care) etc. and still honor a trail blazer such as Mr. Brooke.

Posted by: josewood1 | October 28, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

What drives these angry and frustrated right-wingers to spew their written poison even in response to an article like this (e.g. calling the President an "African")? I wonder if some of these people realize how stupid they make thelselves look...of course it's not about discussion for them, just venting. I wish they were more like the people Thoreau wrote about..the ones who lived lives of QUIET desperation.

Posted by: taylorb1 | October 28, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Eugene6, you missed Rumsfeld who posted immediately after you!

Posted by: NotBubba | October 28, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Senator Edward Brooke is an inspiration to all Afro-Americans and deserves the Gold Congressional Medal and the honor of being the first black man in the 20th Century to be elected a U.S. Senator. Hopefully President Obama will get a second term as U.S. President and someday be awarded the same medal honoring his public service. I can hardly wait for that day to come.

Posted by: abishop2 | October 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Based on some of the comments on this story, it appears that more than few people do not know that President George W. Bush awarded Brooke the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. Brooke is a class act all the way, a man who rose above many undeserved indignities to serve the people of his state and our country very well. As for his faults, well, we should be so lucky as to have more national leaders like Ed Brooke.

Posted by: Bob22003 | October 28, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

WHAT?? Odumbo honoring a person for being Black, ignoring the fact that Brooke was guilty of peddling influence in a HUD scandal, as well as being an adulterer (with Baba Wawa, no less)??

Please, help us get this special teleprompter-reading African off the stage in 2012.

Posted by: tjhall1 | October 28, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Great to see Ed Brooke again. A shame that Dick Cheney feels obligated to post on this one.

Posted by: Eugene6 | October 28, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

People are dying and Odumbo is honoring others??? Not saying the man doesn’t deserve to be recognized but Odumbo has a serious problem adjusting his priorities. He's a POS and should be IMPEACHED.

Posted by: askgees | October 28, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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