Obama heaps praise on Bill Clinton (Video)

President Obama tried to quell reports of discontent with former President Clinton on Wednesday, thanking him for the "advice and council you've offered me on and off the golf course" during the Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House.

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The quip came on the heels of the book Double Down, which reported that in September 2011, the pair were unable to finish a full round of golf during an event designed to bring the two leaders closer together.

According to the book, Obama told an aide after the aborted round that he liked Clinton "in doses."

The relationship between the pair appeared even further strained last week, when Clinton said that Obama should "honor the commitment the federal government made" by allowing individuals to keep insurance plans slated to be canceled because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Republican critics said the president was attempting to create distance from the embattled legislation.

"That was certainly revealing, and it suggests perhaps that Hillary Clinton is looking to run away from President Obama and ObamaCare," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Fox News.

But on Wednesday, Obama offered effusive praise for his predecessor, saying he was remembered with "extraordinary fondness."

"Lifting up families like his own became the story of Bill Clinton's life," Obama said. "He remembered what his mom had to do on behalf of him. He wanted to make sure he made life better and easier for people across the country."

Obama added that he was "most grateful" for Clinton's "patience during the endless travels of my secretary of State" — his wife, Hillary Clinton.

In another gesture sure to raise eyebrows across Washington, Vice President Biden crossed the room to give Hillary Clinton a kiss on the cheek before the event began.

While neither has said whether they will run, the pair are considered the frontrunners for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Other recipients of the Medal of Freedom included baseball player Ernie Banks, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, former Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), signer Loretta Lynn, chemist Mario Molina, astronaut Sally Ride, civil rights activists Bayard Rustin and C.T. Vivian, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, basketball coach Dean Smith, women's rights activist Gloria Steinem, judge Patricia Wald, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and psychologist Daniel Kahneman.

During his tribute to Kahneman, Obama joked that he was an "expert on irrational behavior, so I'm sure he could shed some light on Washington."

"We look back and think, what the heck was I thinking? I have that quite a bit," he said.