SCMP Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Emotional Clinton presents final presidential medals

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, boxer Muhammad Ali and baseball star Hank Aaron were among the recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the last awards given out by President Bill Clinton during his term in office.
Clinton presented the medals, established by president Richard Nixon in 1969 to recognise exemplary service, to 28 people in a White House ceremony.
The outgoing President praised Aaron, who in 1974 broke Babe Ruth's home run record, saying ''his courage and dignity have left a lasting mark on more than just baseball''.
Later, hugging three-time heavyweight boxing champion Ali, Clinton gushed: ''Now and forever, he is the greatest.'' And he went on to describe Taylor as ''American royalty'', adding: ''We thank her for sharing her talent and her heart.''