As David Nakamura reports, The Post's Ben Bradlee is set to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian award in the United States.

But it's actually not the first time Bradlee has been considered for the award.


Ben Bradlee (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

As John Harris explained in his 2005 book "The Survivor" — and as Mark Leibovich re-reported in the just-released book "This Town" — Bill Clinton once considered Bradlee for the honor as well.

Punctuating Clinton's deliberations was a very — ahem — colorful quote from the then-president, whose administration had been on the receiving end of some very tough words from Bradlee's wife, The Post's Sally Quinn.

"Anyone who sleeps with that b**** deserves a medal!” Clinton said, according to Harris and Leibovich.

Nakamura asked Quinn about the episode in an interview today. Quinn said she was quite amused by it all.

"John [Harris] got the manuscript and came to me ashen-faced and said, ‘I have to talk to you,’ " Quinn said. "He was nervous and said, ‘I have a thing in the book I have to tell you, and I have no idea how you will react.’ He told it to me. I just started screaming with laughter.”

Update 3:34 p.m.: Harris, now Politico's editor in chief, recalls his chat with Quinn: "I was vastly reassured, because when I told Ben he grimaced and asked nervously, 'Have you told Sally?'"

"I'm very pleased for Ben for this honor."