March 7th, 2014
08:17 AM ET
6 months ago

Obama tries to show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Washington (CNN) - President Obama celebrated the music that shaped "our American story" with some of the biggest female music legends Thursday night at the White House but came up a little lacking when he tried to show his R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

The White House welcomed the performances by American musical icons Aretha Franklin, Melissa Etheridge, and Patti Labelle as well as contemporary female artists Ariana Grande, Janelle Monae, and Jill Scott.


While the President was paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, he had a hard time with the spelling of a word famously spelled out in one of her best known songs.

"When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved," Obama said to chuckles from the audience.

The spelling error did not bring down the energy of the night as Patti LaBelle kicked off the performances with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," bringing the President and First Lady to their feet.

The "Women of Soul" event was part of the "In Performance at the White House" series that has honored the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Let's just hope that if the President ever welcomes the Village People that he practices his Y-M-C-A.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. pat

    Quayle tried to correct a student at a blackboard and the kid made the change to the already correct spelling
    of a word just to be respectful to the VP. Obama messed up the lyrics to a song.

    March 7, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Obama spends most of his time, making himself into a celebrity, rather than in running the country. indeed, nothing happens in America, except what he personally approves of........right or wrong.......amd mostly WRONG!

    March 7, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. dsigue

    @ Rick McDaniel: The President would be doing a great job if he was not surrounded by a congress filled with angry hate filled, do nothing, obstructionist right wingers. The right likes shut out and complain, but offer no real solutions. The hypocrisy of the right grows larger every day. It is getting to the point where it makes you wonder do they believe in democracy!

    March 7, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Brenda

    Why no mention of Tessanne Chin? CNN that was total disrespect!!!!!

    March 7, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. abe

    This isnt news.

    March 7, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. deee510

    what a dumb story. How many times has CNN made errors in their reporting etc.Anything for a story and a negative Obama story seems to be all they have to keep interest in this site/network.

    March 7, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Clarence Alexander

    Of course, he knows how to spell "respect." It's the irony that he misspelled RESPECT, given he has so little of it for the constitution, the American people, the other side of the aisle. His unilateral actions, changing the law illegally, and weighing in on public events without full knowledge of them are just a few that make this ironic.

    March 7, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. sam

    Hey he grew up as a rich kid and was given grades not worked for...

    March 7, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. DaddyR69

    See what Texting and Twitter does to people. all these mis spellings are affecting our entire world.

    March 7, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. Joan

    He should have sung it. We all know he is a great singer and he would have nailed it. However, this was a slip of the tongue which everyone does and is not newsworthy when there are so many important things happening all over the world and in the economy.

    March 7, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. Pinewalker

    There's a lot of things the President has done lately that upset me and have had major negative impacts on myself and my family's health and finances. Mistakenly leaving out an E in the song isn't one of them and seems to me much to do about nothing.

    March 7, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Grits

    Well at least he's been to all "57" states, thinks Charleston and Savannah are on the Gulf Coast.!

    March 7, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Dorothy

    Has Palin called for his impeachment for misspelling a word?

    March 7, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Nexus974

    He also got the number of states wrong. How is this news?

    March 7, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Tim Gray

    Not a supporter of Quayle but potato was spelled potatoe throughout history until the 20th century. But the way potato is spelled, without the E, disrupts the pronunciation of the word. Either way, dumb on his part. Obama's was more funny. I mean, who doesn't have trouble spelling it correctly when trying to sing it.

    March 7, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. proofreader

    Headline:
    CNN article writer uses "timing" when "time" should have been used.

    "While the President was paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, he had a hard with the spelling of a word famously spelled out in one of her best known songs."

    March 7, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. AG

    He had "a hard timing?" Irony, CNN. Irony.

    March 7, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Chip

    Doesn't surprise me at all.

    March 7, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. dkeller2929

    holy crap this is serious stuff, how could we ever trust him?

    you idi0ts need to get a life

    March 7, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Garlyn

    1) He wasn't singing. 2) people had a field day when a Republican Mis-speaks or Mispells a word. 3) I hope everyone realizes we are all people who make mistakes, which means politicians can make mistakes and it has nothing to do with their ability to lead or their intellect.

    March 7, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. IvoteDemocrat

    WooHoo!!! President Obama has presented the racist with another excuse to hate on him because of their racism.

    March 7, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. JED

    Let's see how many times this is repeated by the liberal media in comparison to Dan Quale's spelling of potato.

    March 7, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. scapegoat345

    He is just a total moron.

    March 7, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Kerry

    "While the President was paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, he had a hard timing with the spelling of a word famously spelled out in one of her best known songs."

    March 7, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. JED

    Mr President - Don't go out without your teleprompter.

    March 7, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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