- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Obama ribs Letterman, Hoffman before Kennedy Center Honors
Stars from New York, Hollywood and the music world joined Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at a White House reception to salute this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees: late-night comedian David Letterman, rock band Led Zeppelin, actor Dustin Hoffman, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Makarova.
Since its debut event in 1977, each year the nation has recognized the lifetime achievement of some of the most influential Americans in the arts. The recipients received their awards at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center later in the evening to be broadcast Dec. 26 on CBS.
Even Mr. Obama seemed awed by the range of talent and star power, drawing chuckles when he described the honorees as “some extraordinary people who have no business being on the same stage together.”
Ribbing a few of the stars for their humble beginnings, Mr. Obama noted that Mr. Letterman started out as an Indianapolis weatherman and once reported that the city was being pelted by hail “the size of canned hams.”
“It’s one of the highlights of his career,” Mr. Obama deadpanned.
Mr. Guy, the president said, made his first guitar out of wires from a window screen.
“That worked until his parents started wondering how all the mosquitos were getting in,” he said to laughter.
“When Dustin Hoffman auditioned for the part, a crew member handed him a subway token on his way out, saying ‘here, kid, you’re gonna need this.’”
When it came time to talk about Led Zeppelin, he thanked the band members for being on especially good behavior at the White House, considering during their hey day there were some hotels rooms “trashed and mayhem all around.”
“So it’s fitting that we’re doing this in a room with windows that are about three inches thick and Secret Service all around,” he said.
When the jokes were over, Mr. Obama thanked the recipients for their contribution to the American culture.
“Maybe they didn’t lead us to become performers ourselves,” he said. “But maybe they inspired us to see things in a new way, to hear things differently to discover something within us or to appreciate how much beauty there is in the world.”
On Saturday night Meryl Streep spoke about each honorees at a formal dinner at the State Department hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Celebrities on hand that night included Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Letterman’s longtime band leader, Paul Shaffer.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- AP Exclusive: Man said to create bitcoin denies it
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- U.S. tasks Navy destroyer to Black Sea amid Ukraine tensions
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rutgers professors to Condi Rice: Go home, and take your speech with you
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again