US President Barack Obama speaks at a White House ceremony to award the Medal of Freedom 29 May 2012
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Obama attracts criticism over 'Polish death camp' gaffe

US President Barack Obama referred to a "Polish death camp" on Tuesday during a ceremony at the White House while awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a Polish war hero.

A White House spokesman said the president "misspoke".

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk called Mr Obama's words a "distortion of history", adding that he believed the US was "capable of a stronger reaction" than the White House statement.

On Tuesday, 12 others also received the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour, in recognition of their contribution to society.