Heard on the Hill

Chicago Bookends Obama's Presidential Medals of Freedom

Did President Barack Obama consult some Chicago insiders (Mayor Rahm Emanuel? Political mastermind David Axelrod?) when drafting up his list of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients?

Topping the White House’s list of 16 individuals receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor, which was announced today, is Second City sports hero Ernie Banks, known to many as “Mr. Cub” after 19 seasons of running the bases in Wrigley Field. At least Obama didn’t give the nod to a player from his favorite Chicago team. The president, a South Sider, is a White Sox fan.

Rounding out the White House release was Chicago media queen Oprah Winfrey, who established herself as a daytime television powerhouse on the city’s airwaves. She opened Harpo Studios for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on the Near West Side during the show’s 24-season reign. The White House recognized her philanthropic passions and humanitarian work (not the mass distribution of prizes and cars to audience members) in awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

We think Mayor Rahm, the president’s former chief of staff, and Axelrod, an ex-Chicago Tribune journalist and 2012 campaign veteran, would both be big fans of his picks. Is this enough evidence to formulate a Chicago conspiracy?