Obama Pokes Fun at Cubs During Presidential Medal Of Freedom Ceremony

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    NEWSLETTERS

    President Barack Obama said, as he presented Chicago Cubs icon Ernie Banks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he admired Ernie Banks' faith that one day that Cubs would go all the way.

    President Barack Obama has made it very clear that he's a Chicago White Sox fan. But he made sure to remind everyone in a speech Wednesday as he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks.

    Banks, aka Mr. Cub, was among 16 people to receive the award, considered the nation’s highest civilian honor, and was joined by fellow Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey.

    Banks was the first recipient honored by Obama at the event.

    Obama started his speech with admiration for the famed Cub, but didn't pass up on the opportunity to remind the crowd of his devotion to the White Sox.

    “Ernie became known as much for his 512 home runs, as for his cheer and his optimism and his eternal faith that someday the Cubs would go all the way,” he said. “That’s serious belief. That is something that even a White Sox fan like me can respect.”

    Banks, ranked among baseball's best and one of Chicago's favorites, was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

    "That's Mr. Cub," Obama said. "The man who came up through the negro leagues, making $7 a day, and became the first black player to suit up for the Cubs and one of the greatest hitters of all time. He is just a wonderful man and a great icon of my home town.”