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,"  "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. asdrel

    President Obama and Governor Jerry Brown have two things in commen. They both had a crush on Linda (one of them achieved his goal, for a while at least) and they both wanted to sit in the big chair in the Oval Office. I wonder which of them feels that he got the best of the situation?

    July 28, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. asdf

    What's that joke from Fast Times at Ridgemont High talking about how half the girls back then wanted to look like Linda?

    July 28, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Wade

    Isn't that sweet CNN trying their best to make Obama look Human! WOW!

    July 28, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. HUH?

    Who cares? 0bama is nothing more than a traveling circus freak show for the DNC now.

    July 28, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Traci Gilmartin

    @Panda Bear, someone actually did award Ted Nugent for his "artistry."

    Guitar World lists Ted Nugent as having one of the 100 Worst Guitar Solos of All-Time.

    July 28, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Timothius

    How on earth with the things that are going on can this possibly be news. I don't find it even mildly amusing!

    July 28, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. colorserenity

    She was America's sweetheart! What do you expect? What a nice person and great vocalist. This was a really good idea.

    July 28, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. ernie

    this type of coverage couldn't be why CNN has a ratings slump?. Duck Dynasty is more news relevant!

    July 28, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. a little sad


    Dirty old man.

    I'm pretty sure he's younger than Ronstadt.

    That being said, that admission is almost as embarrassing as the mom jeans.

    And I actually like they guy, as well as Miss Ronstadt.

    July 28, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. fouilleur

    This is news? In the political section?

    July 28, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. TheSadTruth

    Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly both admitted to having crushes of their own...

    they both love the money they make leading ignorant right wing bobble- heads around by the nose

    July 28, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. HenryMason

    "Blue Bayou" was her best hit. To bad she is unable to sing anymore.

    July 28, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Spgfld Tom

    The world is on fire and our country is being invaded by President Permisso's 60,000 "unaccompanied minors" (the vast majority of which are 12 to 17 year old males)....yet the POTUS makes time to give Linda Ronstadt a medal On the bright side, at least he accomplished something before going on his 3 week Martha's Vineyard vacation!

    July 28, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. snowdogg

    wow... really BIG news

    July 28, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. three3

    It's all part of his 'regular guy' campaign.

    July 28, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. nunYerDamnBizness

    I liked Linda but I didn't care for ted nuget then and especially now.

    July 28, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. ynotblue

    That's it, the final piece of evidence. Obama is a liar, a Muslim, and a foreigner. This is the moment the GOP has been impatiently waiting for.

    July 28, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. Dan

    She was definitely spanking material back in the day.
    Not now though.

    July 28, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Linda Ronstadt – Different Drum / Great Lady , what a complement !

    Linda Ronstadt & the Nelson Riddle Orchestra , ohhhhh yea

    July 28, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. Commie Flusher

    Bathhouse Barry also had a crush on Reggie Love, Kal Penn, Larry Sinclair, etc.

    July 28, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. hugo

    What a waste of print that he had a crush on somebody or he likes guacamole... Why don't we have a crush on critical and dangerous world issues instead. I think the whole country needs to wake up to reality and not fantasy put on the media to make you dream of wonderland when we are in total chaos.

    July 28, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. John

    She lived with Jerry Brown during his first term as California governor back in the day and had a big influence on his decisions.....he is much more conservative now than he was then......

    July 28, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. Dallas

    One of my all time favorites. An honor well deserved Linda.

    July 28, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  24. Bill Smells

    I thought it was Michael Jackson...

    July 28, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. ja

    Me three

    July 28, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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