July 28th, 2014
04:52 PM ET
2 months ago

Obama admits boyhood crush on Linda Ronstadt

Washington (CNN) – During an awards ceremony at the White House, President Barack Obama whispered in the ear of superstar musician Linda Ronstadt that he once had a crush on her.

The President admitted to the crowd afterwards that, "I told Linda Ronstadt I had a crush on her back in the day " Ronstadt joined Obama on stage, along with 11 other recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts.

No word from the singer of such hits as "You're no good,"  "Desperado," "It's so easy," and "Blue Bayou," on what she said back to the President.

Obama also thanked NPR Radio talk show host Diane Rehm, another Medal of Arts winner, for interviewing him when he was a struggling writer, and long before he was President.

"I've been personally touched by all sorts of these folks. " Adding, "I know all of you have been touched similarly by all of these amazing people. We are very grateful to you."

The National Endowment of the Arts, which manages the awards, says "The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. It is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States."

Mr. Obama says all of the honorees have brought the world, "Moments of understanding or awe or joy or sorrow, they add texture to our lives. They are not incidental to the American experience, they are central to it. They are essential to it. So we not only congratulate you this afternoon, we thank you for an extraordinary lifetime of achievement."

The White House released this list of all of 2013's honorees:

Julia Alvarez, novelist, poet, and essayist, for her extraordinary storytelling. In poetry and in prose, Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family, and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression.

Brooklyn Academy of Music, presenter, for innovative contributions to the performing and visual arts. For over 150 years, BAM has showcased the works of both established visionaries and emerging artists who take risks and push boundaries.

Joan Harris, arts patron, for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country. Her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched our cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers, and musicians bring their talents to center stage.

Bill T. Jones, dancer and choreographer, for his contributions as a dancer and choreographer. Renowned for provocative performances that blend an eclectic mix of modern and traditional dance, Mr. Jones creates works that challenge us to confront tough subjects and inspire us to greater heights.

John Kander, musical theater composer, for his contributions as a composer. For more than half a century, Mr. Kander has enlivened Broadway, television, and film through songs that evoke romanticism and wonder and capture moral dilemmas that persist across generations.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, director and CEO of DreamWorks, for lighting up our screens and opening our hearts through animation and cinema. Mr. Katzenberg has embraced new technology to develop the art of storytelling and transform the way we experience film.

Maxine Hong Kingston, writer, for her contributions as a writer. Her novels and non-fiction have examined how the past influences our present, and her voice has strengthened our understanding of Asian American identity, helping shape our national conversation about culture, gender, and race.

Albert Maysles, documentary filmmaker, for rethinking and remaking documentary film in America. One of the pioneers of direct cinema, he has offered authentic depictions of people and communities across the globe for nearly 60 years. By capturing raw emotions and representations, his work reflects the unfiltered truths of our shared humanity.

Linda Ronstadt, musician, for her one-of-a-kind voice and her decades of remarkable music. Drawing from a broad range of influences, Ms. Ronstadt defied expectations to conquer American radio waves and help pave the way for generations of women artists.

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, architects (receiving individual medals), for their contributions to architecture and arts education. Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions.

James Turrell, visual artist, recognized for his groundbreaking visual art. Capturing the powers of light and space, Mr. Turrell builds experiences that force us to question reality, challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. George

    Who didn't have a crush on Linda? Great vocalist with a warm heart. Well deserved honor.

    July 28, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Patrish

    She was a cutie, nothing wrong with crushes.

    July 28, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Pander Bear

    Cue the right wing whining about Obama taking time to honor artists when he should be solving all the world's problems every single second. They're just jealous because their hero Ted Nugent will never win any award for artistry from anyone ever.

    July 28, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Dawn Kieballs

    Him and me both!

    July 28, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. TheSadTruth

    Hmmm... Certainly an impeachable offense- in the eyes of the GOP.

    July 28, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Watch it Mr. President by this time tomorrow you could be involved in a long term affair with Ms. Ronstadt and Issa could be issuing subpoenas. After all, he has nothing else to do.

    July 28, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Tim

    No one wants to hear that.

    July 28, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. frank

    Crush? On Hitler or Stalin?

    July 28, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Steve

    Nice hard-hitting journalism. There is nothing else you can be reporting on in terms of the government?

    July 28, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Edward C

    I hate to say it, but the president and I have something in common. Linda Ronstadt back in the 1970s was a good choice for a boyhood crush.

    July 28, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. BRB

    You're no good, no good, no good – baby, you're no good.

    July 28, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. sly

    Oh boy ... this will really inflame the neo-Cons ... a white President with some non-white blood having a crush on a mostly white woman?

    I can just hear the calls for impeachment.

    "They don't call it the White House for nothing" wailed Ted Cruz.

    July 28, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. M&M

    Funny... When I read the headline I half expected to read that he had a crush on a boy.

    July 28, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Orlando

    Dirty old man.

    July 28, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    He and my husband both had a crush on Linda Ronstadt! Every once in a while we still drag out the old albums and spend the night listening to her.

    July 28, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Heck! Who didn't have a crush on Linda Ronstadt?!
    I think I had a crush on her....well ok, not really, but I loved her voice.

    July 28, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. InAction

    No word from the singer of such aptly-named hits as, "You're no good," and, "Desperado". Indeed.

    July 28, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. DaveNYUSA

    Hmm, I thought it would have been Mao.

    July 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Sonia

    Every dude and quite a few girls had a crush on Linda Ronstadt. Her singing voice is indeed a national treasure -especially in these days of autotune. Very important for the Arts to be recognized. VIVA Linda.

    July 28, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Loki

    Me too. :)

    July 28, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. TK

    great vocalist LR

    July 28, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. bobby frank

    Well deserved medal. She was an innocent little cutie pie....how could you help yourself?

    July 28, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Dennis Castanares

    "Desperado" and "You're No Good" are "aptly named" hits? What's "apt" about them, and who are you suggesting those apply to? I think Linda also had a big hit with "Snide Pseudo-journalist Skanks on POTUS". Great rhythm section on that one.

    July 28, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Moe Sizlack

    Linda Ronstadt? How'd ya get her?

    July 28, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. Larry L

    I still love her music!

    July 28, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11