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Carter couple, Ford to receive top honor

Two former presidents, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, are among 10 prominent Americans who will receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House said.

Ford, a Republican who was the 38th president, will be recognized for "his honesty and integrity" and his efforts to restore confidence in government after the Watergate scandal led to Richard M. Nixon's resignation, a tribute from the White House said.

Ford and seven others will get their awards Wednesday at the White House.

Carter, a Democrat who was the 39th president, will be recognized for brokering the Camp David peace accords, signing the Panama Canal treaty and re-establishing normal diplomatic relations with China.

Carter will be honored Monday at a ceremony in Atlanta at the Carter Center. His wife, Rosalynn, with whom he works on humanitarian causes, will receive her own medal.

"As a statesman, President Carter has been a successful diplomat in hot spots around the world," the White House said. "Mrs. Carter is a longtime advocate of improved mental health care, widespread childhood immunization, women's equality and enhanced care for seniors."

Former President Ronald Reagan has received the award but his successor, George Bush, has not.

Other new recipients are Lloyd M. Bentsen, Clinton's first Treasury secretary; Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., president of the World Jewish Congress; Evy Dubrow, a labor advocate; Sister M. Isolina Ferre, founder of community service centers, clinics and programs to empower the poor in Puerto Rico, New York and Appalachia; Oliver White Hill, civil rights lawyer; Max Kampelman, lawyer, diplomat and negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations; and Edgar Wayburn, five-time president and a member of the board of directors of the Sierra Club for almost 40 years.