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. Gene

    She was alright, Carly Simon too...yum!

    July 28, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  2. Willis BenWa

    Ain't nobody got time for that.

    July 28, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Jane

    Some naysayers had to quote the snarky "you're no good" and "desperado" line from the article. No wonder the world is in the shape it's in. Must suck to be you.

    July 28, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. Peter Gerdeman

    Oh, I can remember the days of her singing... WooHoo!!!

    July 28, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. ypw510

    Wasn't she already taken at the time by Jerry Brown?

    July 28, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. sean

    moochi stormed into the I.R.S office and demanded linda rhonstadt gets audited.

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

    Hail To The Creep-In-Chief.

    Linda Ronstadt is a great vocalist, performer, songwriter and major pop music artist. And yes, and cute as all get out.

    That The President Of The United States, the Leader Of The Free World, the head of what is ostensibly the most powerful nation on Earth has to share his personal junk with everyone in the world is just kind of creepy.

    Yeah, I know he's just like everyone else, with all our human foibles and frailties. But you know what? I don't want to hear about it. I didn't hire him to tell me all that crap. I hired him to focus on the economy and worldwide tensions and keeping America safe and prosperous. Seems like more and more he's focusing on the trivial crap.

    I keep my private stuff private from my employees, and I expect him to do the same.

    July 28, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Keith

    I love her too, glad she was honored for her body of work.

    July 28, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  9. Fr33th1nk3r

    Can't blame the man– except for the annoying southern drawl sop sharp that it could cut through cheese, Linda was/is hot.

    July 28, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. more2bits

    His true crush is himself. Narcissism is his game.

    July 28, 2014 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. Danny Gee

    Who didn't have a crush on Linda Ronstadt back then. I was hoping Jerry Brown would win the Presidency back then, not because I thought he would be great, but because he was dating Linda and how cool would it have been to have Linda Ronstadt be First Lady, compared to some of the frumps we've had?

    July 28, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Anthony Elmer

    no shock she is an ultra liberal so would not shock me at all although he would of been 14 when her 1st major albums she isnt that much older then he is.

    July 28, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Seeing Red in a Blue State

    Guess the President and I DO have something in common!

    July 28, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  14. Rick

    Who cares.

    July 28, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. liberal disease

    for the love of god the world is on fire, this is the best you have?

    July 28, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. Average American

    Obama and the Democrats are so inept they cannot govern America so they stoop to the lowest common dominator, Hollywood.

    The Mideast is falling apart. American is on its way to falling apart and Obama is focused on this? Way to go Obama and Democrats.

    July 28, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  17. Carol G.B.

    What a nice variety of male and female artists who probably all had talent. They probably never considered wearing dishrags and sticking their tongues out like a rabid dogs while twerking. They probably didn't throw animal crap on a canvas and call it art, with the approval of "new on the scene", self proclaimed critics. In the not so distant past, talented people ACTUALLY had to sing (no autotune) paint, dance and act. Who woulda thunk it? God bless the truly talented.

    July 28, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. Linda

    So glad she was able to accept the award herself. Who wouldn't have a crush on her. I know my husband and every other male wanted to marry her. Always admired her, I think more so now.

    July 28, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Dawn Kieballs

    Him and me both!

    nuff said

    July 28, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. Greg

    Good thing slick Willy Clinton wasn't there, he would have been playing hide the cigar with Linda.

    July 28, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. Joe Broesn

    Wow, talk about a liberal love-affair. The president is really stretching to find someone/anyone who wants to party with him.

    July 28, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. Rob

    Is this news?

    July 28, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. MrComments

    Yes Mr. President, you and about 20 million other males....

    July 28, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  24. DKoyama

    There's a good chance that he had a crush on her at the time she was dating the then (and current) governor of California.

    July 28, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. Doc Ray

    Good for you, Mr. President. A lot better than GOP leaders who have a crush on such world class beauties as Margaret Thatcher and Ayn Rand (both are human ipacac in my eyes).

    July 28, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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