Did Obama go 'Gangnam?'
December 10th, 2012
10:12 AM ET
2 years ago

Did Obama go 'Gangnam?'

(CNN) - Anyone hoping to see President Barack Obama launch into this year's dance fad will have to keep waiting.

When the commander-in-chief met Korean pop star PSY at Sunday's "Christmas in Washington" charity concert, the pair exchanged a handshake and a greeting – but not a boogie.

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PSY, who performed his hit "Gangnam Style" wearing festive red sequins, has been at the center of controversy this week after video surfaced of him spouting anti-American lyrics in 2004.

The lyrics of the song, titled "Dear America," were written by the South Korean rock band N.E.X.T., and PSY was one of three performers rapping out the lyrics on stage.

CNN was able to translate the lyrics as saying," Kill those f–ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered them to torture," and going on to say, "Kill them all slowly and painfully," as well as "daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers."

In an apology, PSY said his performance had been emotionally charged and was a response to events in the war in Iraq.

"I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world," he said in a statement.

He said the song "was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall anti-war sentiment shared by others around the world at that time."

The girls were struck and killed by a U.S. military vehicle.

PSY continued: "While I'm grateful for the freedom to express one's self, I've learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words."

The concert Sunday also featured Motown legend Diana Ross and Broadway singer Megan Hilty. The event raised money for the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, and airs on CNN's sister station TNT Saturday, December 21 at 8 p.m. ET.

In short remarks at the end of the concert, Obama mentioned Ross, as well as the event's host Conan O'Brien, but did not refer to PSY by name. He said the concert was a "chance to get in the Christmas spirit; to spread some joy and sing along with artists who have much better voices than we do."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    Has the Right forgiven France & the Dixie Chicks for their transgressions associated w/the Iraq War ? If not, & they are Christian, does "forgive us of our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us" sound familiar ?

    December 10, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. thomase

    "Why not? The democrats and the left HATE US Veterans more than Psy does."

    This is a joke right? VA has improved significantly under recent democrats and republicans have voted against veteran programs.

    December 10, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Bill

    I wonder if the left realizes just how unforgiving they are when a DJ or other conservative celebrity says something offensive that they do not like and they demand a resignation or firing – which seems to always happen.

    This country is still polarized as ever and it
    is not going to change anytime soon!

    December 10, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "what kind of message are we sending?"

    I'm pretty sure the mesasge was quite clearly "Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays and here you go, wonderful children's hospital, have a whole bunch of charity money." I can understand how you guys might have missed it though, what with all the signal interference on your tinfoil hats.

    December 10, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    thomase wrote:

    thomase

    "Why not? The democrats and the left HATE US Veterans more than Psy does."

    This is a joke right? VA has improved significantly under recent democrats and republicans have voted against veteran programs.
    ----------------
    How quickly the right wing forgets what their own chosen ones actually do to this country and its' people. While Bush was starting wars and escalating wars with surges with one hand, he and Dick Cheney were cutting back VA budget, veterans benefits, and were trying to closing VA Hospitals like Walter Reed.

    December 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Lilli

    Happy to see beautiful Sasha with her dad, the POTUS! Psy is an entertainer....most of them say stuff they regret later! And what Psy supposedly said is mild compared to what the Right-Wing has said about our President and allowed to hide behind "freedom of speech"....ummm

    Hillary 2016

    December 10, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. John

    Yup – as divided as ever. The left loves everyone – as long as they agree with them.

    December 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    nothing new here

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ....
    Additionally, love my President but he can't dance beyond a slow jam.
    __________________
    The President boogies better than I do!!!!
    -------------------------------------------------
    No disrespect but that doesn't say too much for your dancing abilities my friend.
    I've seen him trying to bust a move babe, and...er....no. lol!

    December 10, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. mary

    The American people should go out and do something to the North Koreans and they say it was caused by a video, sound familar. Too bad this pres ( I say that litely) doesn't care, wonder how he feels when the songs say daughter...

    December 10, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Tommy G

    Things that make you go hmmmmm.... If they are enemies of the USA, they are friends of Obama.
    Nice reward for spewing anti-American hate speech. Doesn't Obama realize he leads and represents the trrops that this imbecile railed about killing? Simply unbelieveable.

    Once again, Obama proves it is all about the celebrity and nothing about leadership. Americans are fools.

    December 10, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    I'll admit that I don't think PSY was an appropriate guest for a Washington Christmas "sing a long"
    -------------------------------------------------
    Interesting Lynda, that makes at least two of us on this thread and still folks like metro,a nd the rest of the blind mice insist that the so-called Left hates them, and blah, blah, blah.
    This President has done more for veterans than the village idiot who sent you to war in the first place metro.

    December 10, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. thomase

    "Doesn't Obama realize he leads and represents the trrops that this imbecile railed about killing? Simply unbelievable."

    if Obama didn't associate with everyone that had a negative opinion of the military the US would never have any dealings with anyone out of their home soil.

    "Yup – as divided as ever. The left loves everyone – as long as they agree with them."

    Yup – as divided as ever. The right loves freedom of speech – as long as they agree with them.

    December 10, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    As I and someone else here said: mistake on the part of the organizers.
    Nothing more to see here.

    December 10, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Brock Landers

    Embarrassing, i don't mind free speech, it's a right we all should have but our prez shaking this guys hand? Go f yourself MR no values. FYI – i don't like the dixie chics, i don't like jane fonda and anybody else ripping on america in that way – they just should get ZERO RESPECT – all you leftist love it though, this is what you want, to bring down the USA to your level, a level of no values, no beliefs

    December 10, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. bobcat2u

    Tommy G

    Have you never been offended by rap before ? The President shook hands and exchanged greetings with this man. How were you able to twist this story into an Obama hates America because he shook hands with and said hello to a rap star rant ?
    Obama is your president too. You might as well learn to deal with it.

    December 10, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Lets see...the right wing media can say whatevever they want, no matter how offensive, and only apologize when their sponsors threaten to pull the rug out from under them. That's always ok. PSY is what Rush Limbaugh claims to be, an entertainer: picking him for this even shows bad judgement on the part of the event organizers, nothing more. Unlike Limbaugh, PSY's apology may actually be sincere, so that is the significant takeaway from this so-called story.

    December 10, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Thomas

    What ever happened to the Dixie Chicks ?

    They were great to stand up and say how they felt about the war , about GW Bush.

    What the right needs to know is that at the time under GW Bush , 80% of the world thought we were crazy .

    Obama has done more for Vets by apointing Shinseki secretary of Veterans Affairs.
    Gen. Eric K. Shinseki was vilified and then marginalized by the Bush administration for speaking the truth .

    December 10, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Tommy G

    ”Kill those f–ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered them to torture,” and going on to say, “Kill them all slowly and painfully,” as well as “daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers.”

    Yeah... no big deal here. The guy obvious now loves America, its soldiers and the millions of dollars he is making. It is obviously very appropriate that our President reward him with a hand shake as well. Unbelieveable.

    December 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. lovespandas

    Figures that obama would like a band/group/performer that hated America. He does too!

    December 10, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Justwondering

    Would it not be possible that this guest list was made up and the program taped long before the news about Psy came out?

    December 10, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. lovespandas

    Psy needs to get the heck out of this country. That song/dance is about as idiotic as I've ever seen!

    December 10, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. bugmetoo

    By the picture Prez Obama looks more excited to see him
    then his daughter. Probably couldn't sleep that night he was
    so turned on meeting that Commie.

    December 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. bugmetoo

    So the White House scheduled it. Obama didn't have to attend.
    Hey, maybe Obama could have met with his jobs council for once instead?

    December 10, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    lrich_9 wrote:

    The Office of the President of the United States of America has never stooped so low,

    ________________
    Really?
    Another republican has gotten their hearing and vision back. It was obviously missing during the Bush years.

    December 10, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "The event raised money for the Children's National Medical Center in Washington"

    Oh hey, CNN, I found your lede buried in the second to last paragraph.

    December 10, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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