December 7th, 2009
11:09 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama on Springsteen: I'm the president but he's 'The Boss'


"I'm the president but he's 'The Boss,'" Obama said Sunday night about famed rocker Bruce Springsteen, left. . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - Legendary performers mingled with Washington heavyweights as the 32nd annual Kennedy Center Honors were celebrated Sunday night.

"On a day like this, I remember, I'm the president, but he's 'The Boss,'" President Barack Obama said as he paid tribute to Bruce Springsteen The singer and songwriter was honored for his lifetime of contributions to the performing arts, as were writer, composer, actor, director and producer Mel Brooks; pianist and composer Dave Brubeck; opera singer Grace Bumbry; and actor, director and producer Robert De Niro.

Notables such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, broadcaster Barbara Walters and television personality Jon Stewart helped fete the performers.

Describing the honorees, the Kennedy Center said: "With his hilarious movies and musicals, Mel Brooks has created comedic gems that will keep us laughing for years to come. Dave Brubeck's genius has dazzled us for six decades and has helped to define an American art form. Grace Bumbry helped to break the color barrier on her way to one of the most illustrious operatic careers in the 20th century.

"One of America's greatest cinematic actors, Robert De Niro has demonstrated a legendary commitment to his characters and has co-founded one of the world's major film festivals. With his gritty and honest songs that speak to the everyman, Bruce Springsteen has always had his finger on the pulse of America."

The honorees are selected by the Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees based on contributions to American culture, through dance, music, opera, theater, movies or television.

This year's celebration is to be shown in a two-hour special on CBS on December 29.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Chris M.

    I thought at least "the boss" cared for the unemployed and factory workers let go? Well, I hope that these rich people enjoyed their meal and their limo rides back to a warm hotel...

    December 7, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. Kitchen Police

    Class, Class, nothing but class!!!

    December 7, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Tram

    And we're glad you're the president and Springsteen's the Boss. 🙂

    December 7, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Sorry Barry

    Actually Michelle is.

    December 7, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Torch

    ahhh....a Liberal love fest. I bet everyones hands hurt after all that back patting they must have done. Here's some comments overheard at the love fest.

    "We're going to ruin healthcare in America, isn't that great!"

    "We've almost defeated Capitalism, all we need is to pass Cap and Tax and we'll be a 3rd world economy, isn't that great!"

    btw, Springsteen bites.......totally overated.

    December 7, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. Thomas

    Bruce Springteen?

    Didn't he used to be good back in the 80's or something?

    December 7, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. Tony


    Slow news day, huh?

    December 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. phoenix86

    The Boss, is Nancy Pelosi. Springsteen is a singer. Obama is a puppet.

    Don't forget your place in line.

    December 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. J.Crobuzon

    Heck yeah, everybody knows that.

    December 7, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Obama/Biden = One and Done, please God....

    Would love to know if any non-liberal artists (there are such things) have been honored at this ceremony?

    December 7, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. nickw

    Those words are so ironic. Obama is living proof that good men are not necessarily good leaders. He and his wife have been so busy looking the part and having a good time, they seem to have forgotten why they were put in office. He promised change, but nothing's changed. It seems like the only change will be when we get a chance to vote him out in four years. I supported him, but he's not doing the job he was put to do.

    December 7, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. Sam Sixpack

    Springsteen will be "The Boss" for only a short while longer. Just until Obama picks his first "Commissioner of Health Care Choices." Then, after you have paid all you can afford for insurance - as required by law - the Commissioner will decide if you are eligible for the health care treatment you might actually need.

    Not really a "death panel," more like the "death czar."

    December 7, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. Enough

    Well who really cares what some Liberal washed up rock star thinks. How is this news worthy? How about some stories from the ones who don't idolize Obama and slobber all over his every word.

    December 7, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. Cecil Archer

    These are indeed veritable acknowledgments fit for the ages.

    December 7, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. Dennis

    For those of you who don't know the origins of Bruce's nickname here it is. Bruce Springsteen was a solo artist and hired the musicians in the E Street Band. The musicians in the band would refer to him as "The Boss." When this was mentioned in a few rock magazine articles, it caught on with the fans, who also began calling him "The Boss"

    December 7, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    A very classy and humble comment Mr. President! MOST of us are behind you!

    December 7, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. USN

    CNN all obama all the time but no bias he he he

    December 7, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Indy

    I wonder what right wing will say was wrong with what Obama said on this one..........he said it too late.........wrong language...... I am sure Mitt and Palin will find some lie or conspiracy to come with. I love the "Boss" and "The President" and think they are both great !

    December 7, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Anonymous

    This shows Obama's good spirit in such matters, however some right-wing nut will make it something political to sneer at. Watch and see.

    December 7, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. dennisk

    Fantastic! I can't think of five artists more deserving of the honor. Their contribution to our shared culture is the lifeblood that courses through the American heart.

    December 7, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Tanya Kujath

    This shows Obama's good nature, however some right-wing nut will make it something political to sneer at. Watch and see.

    December 7, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. virginia nielsen

    Fantastic !!! Finally we have a President that care and give incentives to the "real AMERICAN culture" !!! Good job Mr. Obama !!!

    December 7, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. joe dokes

    I think the torch has been passed. Springsteen is now the hardiest working man in show business.

    December 7, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Ben in Fort Wayne, IN

    The boss of who? He's not the boss of me.

    December 7, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Tom O

    What a waste of time & money. But the lefties have always known they need to schmooze Holywierd folk to keep them as part of the propaganda machine.

    December 7, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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