July 28th, 2014
04:52 PM ET
5 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. Smellferd

    With all that is happening in the world... 60 heads on pikes in Syria, Illegals being bused to cities all over the country, President threatened with impeachment for abuse of executive power ... CNN gives us this fluff? The real question to ask is if CNN is just this biased or just this bad.

    July 29, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  2. normalperson2424

    Obama is really good at these lighthearted photo ops. Not so good at solving actual problems. This is what a failed Presidency looks like.

    July 29, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  3. normalperson2424

    I don't know about unamerican, but it strikes me that Obama is only good for showing up at meaningless photo ops. He's terrible at solving actual problems, preferring to send people like Kerry, lower on the rungs of power, and unable to actually get anything of substance done.

    July 29, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Smellferd says:
    July 29, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am
    With all that is happening in the world… 60 heads on pikes in Syria, Illegals being bused to cities all over the country, President threatened with impeachment for abuse of executive power … CNN gives us this fluff? The real question to ask is if CNN is just this biased or just this bad.

    Oh come on CNN is giving people like you just what you want. Another reason to bash this POTUS. There may be some bias going on but it's not for President Obama. These stories are printed for one reason and one reason only. To whip the envious little haters into a frenzy about this POTUS.

    July 29, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  5. Nick

    Hard to take a man seriously when he does this fluff stuff instead of saying "you know what, there are big issues going on and I should devote my time to those instead".

    July 29, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  6. Guest

    the world and our country are both in crisis and this is what consumes his mind.

    July 29, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. meltemi

    She probably responded "You're no good, you're no good, you're no good, Baby you're no good."

    July 29, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. miscreantsall

    The "right" always taking the bait of bashing Obama.

    So predictable, so childish so much hate. It must be exhausting.

    And I don't even like Obama.

    Geesh!

    July 29, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    miscreantsall says:
    July 29, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am
    The “right” always taking the bait of bashing Obama.

    So predictable, so childish so much hate. It must be exhausting.

    And I don’t even like Obama.

    Geesh!

    Six years and counting.

    July 29, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Independent Voter

    For all you haters: this President has proven time and again he can handle it all. Knock it off.

    July 29, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. truindep

    , Now I can rest easy , knowing that Obama had a crush on Linda Ronstadt

    July 29, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. IZSM

    @miscreantsall...interesting perspective, let me see if I understand you correctly. You note that the 'right' are exhausted from all of the 'bama bashing'...but you don't like him either...hmmmm pot, kettle?

    July 29, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. Arlee

    The president tried to solve the health care issues and no one was on board. Sometimes it is hard to direct stupid, and this president has found that out so he just does this type of photo op just to say in your minds.

    July 29, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Anonymous

    This is the kind of hard hitting news we've come to expect from CNN.

    July 29, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. jonathanlk

    What guy didn't have a crush on her back then. At least we know he's normal. He seems to love this light type of flirting. I wonder what kind of expression Michelle had on her face when she found out about this one. The GOP probably hopes he'll have an affair to impeach him with, but we all know he's too smart. Other than that, so what?

    July 29, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. lindaluttrell

    And here I had thought that Patsy Cline had paved the way for female singers...

    July 29, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. lindaluttrell

    And here I was thinking that Patsy Cline had already paved the way for female singers...

    July 29, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. really

    really CNN? This is newsworthy?

    July 29, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. How thweet!!

    I hope Linda whispered back at him, "You're no good, you're no good, you're no good, baby, you're no good! Obama really IS a mama's boy - geesh!

    July 29, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. LeCadien

    I like Diane Rehm's radio show: One of the few venues for discussion of current events that is serious and does not permit "spin" or "gotcha politics." I have heard Ms. Rehms take down callers and guests who try to pull that nonsense, and she does it in such a way as to surely make those offenders feel ashamed.

    July 29, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Moriarity

    Let me guess. There's some song of hers that democrats want to use in the upcoming presidential campaign.

    July 29, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. Kinoeye

    Reading these comments is like being at a party where, inevitably, you get stuck in a corner with that one guy who just wants to tell you all about his political beliefs and how stupid everyone else is. Time and place, people, time and place. It is possible to be concerned with all the terrible things going on in the world (things that have been going on for thousands of years, and will continue to go on for thousands more) and ALSO to distract yourself from time-to-time with more light-hearted fare. Get a grip, people. Seriously. Otherwise, get off the sidelines and go do something about all these things that worry you, instead of annoying everyone around you. (This goes equally for the right and the left, btw).

    July 29, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Mike

    So, Obama admitted that he's always wanted to sexually assault Linda Ronstadt?

    July 29, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. You Got It

    Obama is really good at these lighthearted photo ops. Not so good at solving actual problems. This is what a failed Presidency looks like.

    <----Couldn't agree more!!!!!

    July 29, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. T.W.A

    Who cares ,get somthing presidential done!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11