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Obama: 'No Precedent' To Revoke Bill Cosby's Presidential Medal Of Freedom

President Obama joins comedian Bill Cosby and others to sing "Happy Birthday" to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., on March 8, 2009, at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

President Obama says there's "no precedent" to revoke the Presidential Medal of Freedom for comedian Bill Cosby, who has been accused by several women of sexually assaulting them.

"There's no precedent for revoking the medal," Obama said at a news conference today. "We don't have that mechanism."

Cosby was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 for his contributions to television.

Here are Obama's full comments on the allegations against Cosby:

"As you know, I tend to make it a policy not to comment on the specifics of cases where there still might be if not criminal then civil issues involved.

"I'll say this: If you give a woman — or a man for that matter — without his or her knowledge a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that's rape.

"And I think this country — any civilized country — should have no tolerance for rape."

(You can watch the comments here.)

Last week, it emerged that the comedian testified in 2005 that he obtained the sedative Quaalude with the intent of giving the drug to women with whom he wanted to have sex, and he acknowledged giving it to at least one woman.

Some of the allegations against Cosby are decades old and, as such, fall outside the statute of limitations. But the Los Angeles Police Department said last week it is conducting at least one current criminal investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Cosby.

The scandal has hurt the comedian: NBC canceled a project with him, as did Netflix. The U.S. Navy revoked an honorary title for the comedian, and he resigned from the board of trustees at Temple University.

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