December 7th, 2009
11:09 AM ET
7 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. Steve

    No, Obama is the President, WE, THE PEOPLE, are the boss. Bruce Springsteen is the court jester, a clown.

    December 7, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. T Da TruFE

    Once again, another spectacle that demonstrates the intertwined relationship between show business and politics, a highlight that exposes a constant truth, that there is no difference, actors and politicians are the same, they are all performers.

    December 7, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Linda

    Oh please.

    December 7, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. John

    Thanks, Bruce for a lifetime of valuable fables and calling it how you see it.

    December 7, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Hendrik

    You GO, Mr. President. You are also the BOSS.

    Bet that drives the Repiglicans crazy.

    December 7, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. Jacque Bauer

    As far as the Messiah is concerned – WE are his BOSS!

    I don't think that concept has once crossed his narcissistic and arrogant mind.

    December 7, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. PG

    I thought Tony Danza was the boss.

    December 7, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Stu

    Bruce may be a talented artist, but like most, he exists in a world of make believe yet tries to purport he knows about geopolitics, international relations, military affairs, and so forth.

    December 7, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Eric

    And this is news?

    Obama is always saying, "I'm the president."

    It's almost like he doesn't believe it himself.

    December 7, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Jon Krieger

    Still sucking up to the celebs,Obama?After all they're the ones who bought and paid your way to the white house.And they're the only ones who still fall for your lies!I used to look up to springsteen,but he sold out big time by endorsing Obummer!

    December 7, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. all the news that's fit to omit

    He's getting "feted" more for his liberal soap box diatribes in print and at concerts (been there, done that).

    Talks a lot but where are the actions, groups like Skynard and other Country bands don't just cut a check and think they are the "Boss", they go over and perform for the troops and visit them in hospitals and do benefit concerts for them with little fanfare.

    The "Loss" is no longer relevent, but as long as he touts the party lies, he is soooooo great.

    Not sure who is more phony in that photo, like the Obama's really can name ANY Springsteen song?

    December 7, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    I can hardly wait to see the show!!!!

    All honorees are very talented Americans who have given our country so much and touched us in so many ways.

    To Mel Brooks in particular: Thank yo SO MUCH for your comedic genius! So many memorable characters, scenes, lines ... and the SONGS!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    December 7, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Jerry

    Of course, they both lie through their teeth and are probably the two most anti-American hypocrites ever to be allowed to roam this great land of ours.

    The hypocrite performer helped him get elected, now is pay-back time, and, on America's dime, of course!

    Is this is what America is coming to? Is this really change we can believe in?


    December 7, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Tommy

    Yep, CNN considers this news. Like "the hottest doctors on TV", etc...

    And, this is by design. gotta keep the cattle in the dark. Can't be having the public asking too many questions about "real news". Just keep 'em fat and stupid...

    I think CNN needs Lou Dobbs back.

    December 7, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Doug

    Congrats to Bruce and the others, this show showing the President's ego is as ego does, does not reflect the artists. Their real fans didn't even know about this. Tv and made for tv events seem to be gaining in our celebrity nation. I am glad that at least Jon Stewart got their probably as a record buyer, remember them.

    December 7, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Democrat No More

    Oh, I thought he was going to say that Pelosi was the boss.

    December 7, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yup, Mr. President, he is and will always be THE BOSS!!! Love Springteen :)! Nice dress Michelle!

    December 7, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Billy J..Texas..

    I am 51 and was not nearly as enamored with Bruce at the beginning of his career as I am now. Every time I hear some new song or story about him that I had not before, he climbs another notch. To me he has become one of the best singer/songwriter/performer American rock has produced. I am glad he got the award, and I am surprised it took so long for Brubeck to get it.

    December 7, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Andy Cornell

    Unfortunately, he's never been the "boss" of anything!!! Although a seemingly nice man, so far it appears his management and decision-making skills are non-existent. Having no experience in the private sector has put our President at a distinct disadvantage when handling economic issues...what a disaster!

    December 7, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Jason

    Just like Nancy Pelosi is the "boss" on Capital Hill while Obama is the puppet.

    December 7, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    Boy! How we enjoy ourselves when one is supposed to be taking care of the peoples interests.

    December 7, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. JMikey54

    I am so glad to see Mel Brooks honored here. He is one of my heroes of entertainment.

    December 7, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Carnell From The Motor City!

    I Want To Thank Bruce Springsteen For His Enormous Work On The 2008 Presidential Campaign Stomps For President Obama.

    December 7, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Last Honest Man

    Bruce Springsteen????? His contribution to the Arts is what?

    December 7, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. elliott

    Makes me want to puke

    December 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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