July 28th, 2014
04:52 PM ET
9 years 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.

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No word from the singer of such hits as "You're no good,"ย  "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. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Adam says:
    July 29, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am
    What a dumb article. I canโ€™t believe the president is wasting his time telling us who he has a crush on. Heโ€™s so not presidential. When bad things happen in the world, past presidents would focus on those bad things, eliminating their vacations and not participating in fluff pieces like this.

    Secondly, why is CNN making this such a prominent story? I hate CNN and their ratings are terrible, so why do they keep showing me this crap every day I come here to read real news? Obamaโ€™s been a terrible president, worst ever, where are the articles confirming what we all already know?

    -Joe Dirt

    Another lie. From what I read St. Ronnie had to damn near be forced to return from his what 5 week vacation when his crisis occurred. You might want to read up on that.

    July 29, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. raul c. sanchez .

    Minorities are Americans too as majorities are. It's great for the President to honor these Americans who made history.

    July 29, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    What teenage guy DIDN'T have a crush on her ?

    July 29, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. larry

    What's funny is Michelle had a crush on her too. Linda has become enthralled about that and Michelle blushed.

    July 29, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Dave

    Shouldn't Obama be taking care of more pressing issues facing our country? What a slacker.

    July 29, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Dan

    I had a bigger crush on Carly Simon than Obama did on Linda Ronstadt. Carly's a better singer, and writes her own songs, while Linda did mostly covers. I guess that qualifies me to be president. After all, the husband of the next president also had a thing for Carly. Probably still does, as do I.

    July 29, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Jackson

    CNN News:
    Obama admits boyhood crush
    Fore! Pardon the president's slice

    Is there any doubt that CNN is a Democrat favored organization?


    And FOX news is the GOP propaganda machine.

    But you failed to mention that.

    So, the question is, do you have a problem with ALL bias, or do you just have a problem with bias you don't agree with?

    July 29, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Jackson

    Shouldn't Obama be taking care of more pressing issues facing our country? What a slacker.


    This was the National Medal of the Arts dinner. EVERY President has presided over this.

    So, the question is, were you equally outraged when Bush Jr, Clinton, Bush Sr presided over this?

    July 29, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Jackson

    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".


    Did you say the same thing when past president's presided over this event?

    July 29, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Tom

    Seriously, the world is burning and this is a top headline?!? Enough puff pieces of this president please – if he doesn't start doing his damn job even CNN can't save him.

    July 29, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. John Illinois

    Obama! How about admitting that you are a liar and a socialist!

    July 29, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Tom

    And yes "Jackson" I would say the same thing if there was an R or a D in the oval office....Bush for one was just as inept. But you know damn well such a puff piece would not be published under a President Romney or any Republican president.

    July 29, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Carlton

    Ronstadt's singing voice was one of the finest intruments in the history of American popular music. Heartbreaking and powerful. She removed herself from the celebrity swamp by choice. A well deserved and long overdue honor. We love you Linda and rejoice in your voice, the music you brought to us and delight in the fact that you can still rile up the fools. Yeah we all had hard crushes on her.

    July 29, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. sly

    Ho ho ho - listen to these republican buffoons cry and whine because American's are enjoying these good times!

    Man-up boys – pull your panties out of your bum's and enjoy the best times America has had in 50 years.

    NO Wars!
    Record stock markets.
    A great President who killed our #1 enemy.

    Good times, and us real Americans run this great nation. Thank you Mr. President – best in my lifetime!

    July 29, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. greenaxe

    I gotta wonder if all of these haters really know what they are hating so much other than what they are told to hate on Faux News???? Why don't you post your comments on the Conservative blogs where like-minded neaderthals can all agree with you.

    July 29, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Partisan

    That is true...He Don't Know Much...

    July 29, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC


    I had a bigger crush on Carly Simon than Obama did on Linda Ronstadt.
    LOL. I see your Carly Simon and raise you a Dolly Parton. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ™‚

    July 29, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Nameriw8w

    Where can you find real news? This is a fluff piece and should he on page 6 somewhere. But i guess when the only news you can get out of this white house is this, that's what you have to run with.

    July 29, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. m

    So WHAT?? Who cares?? I'm surprised he didn't have a boyhood crush on some Muslim super hero!

    July 29, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. J SING

    tome save him from what

    July 29, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. max843

    Oh, you left out Diane Rehm WAMU-FM on the White House list of honorees (although she is mentioned in the article).

    July 29, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. J SING

    great story loved it and love the first fam!

    July 29, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. John

    Gee......I guess I am out of touch....I had Medal of Honor winners as my idols at 16.


    July 29, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Liz

    Award,fundraising money for the Democrat party, vacations, parties, amnesty, all for others NOTHING for the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    July 29, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. skylarkva

    What a putz! EVERYTHING is about him... even when it isn't. Sick, pathetic narcissist.

    July 29, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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