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President Obama spends a busy Wednesday paying tribute to the legacy of the past and the politics of the present.

In this case, the memory of President John F. Kennedy, and the problems with the new health care law.

In the mid-morning, Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. It's the 50th anniversary of the medal created by President Kennedy, and Obama will include a tribute to JFK in his remarks.

MORE: Kennedy assassination

This year's honorees include former president Bill Clinton, as well as television icon Oprah Winfrey, country music legend Loretta Lynn, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, Hall of Fame college basketball coach Dean Smith, and the late astronaut Sally Ride.

The award is "presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," says the White House.

Later in the day, presidents Obama and Clinton — and first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton — pay another tribute to Kennedy with a visit to his grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

The Obamas and Clintons will lay a wreath near the eternal flame that marks Kennedy's final resting place.

The 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination is Friday.

Obama will again speak about Kennedy's legacy during a dinner for the Medal of Freedom honorees at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Also on Wednesday: More work on the embattled health insurance law.

In the late afternoon, Obama will meet with members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, discussing what to do about people who have had policies canceled since the start of the new health care law.

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