- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2014

President Obama took a mild dig at TV networks for their handling of racial issues Sunday evening during a reception for the latest Kennedy Center honorees.

At the White House event, Mr. Obama noted that honoree Lily Tomlin performed a skit on her variety show in 1973 with comedian Richard Pryor called “Juke and Opal” about two black people hanging out in a diner.

“One reviewer called it ‘the most profound meditation on race and class that I have ever seen on a major network’ — which says something both about Lily and the major networks,” Mr. Obama said.

As the audience laughed, the president said, “That was ad-libbed, by the way.”

Mr. Obama has been outspoken in recent weeks about matters of race involving police and perceived inequality in the criminal justice system.

Along with Ms. Tomlin, the other Kennedy Center honorees this year are actor Tom Hanks, musical artists Al Green and Sting and ballet dancer Patricia McBride.

As the president praised Mr. Hanks’ movies, he said he watched “Big” again at the White House Saturday night.

“That’s a great movie. I love that movie,” Mr. Obama said. “Got kind of choked up at the end.”

The president and first lady Michelle Obama attended the gala at the Kennedy Center after the White House reception.

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