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. Francisco Escobedo

    Oh CNN, you always reporting these very important news that put in good light our great leader Obama, THANK YOU!! Not.

    July 28, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. Mia

    She was a cutie for sure and a great singer of the day. Heck, she probably can still belt them out. Suppose that's why our Jerry dated her for a long time.

    July 28, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. TellngitlilkeI see

    When time comes to give an award to Boehner; there will be a one-of-a-kind "Crying baby Republican" award.

    July 28, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Me too. By first roommate and I just sat around listening to her albums, staring at the covers and sleeve portraits.

    July 28, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. Ta ta today jr.

    Any of the males. He's really for that right now!

    July 28, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Karloff

    Obama whispered the same thing into Elton John's ear.

    July 28, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Leo The Lion

    That list sort of looks like a who's who of Obama donors if you ask me.

    July 28, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  8. CGDoc

    Pride of Tucson!

    July 28, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. strangerq@aol.com

    They're just jealous because their hero Ted Nugent will never win any award for artistry from anyone ever.

    ^ Nugent can win an award from his 'little sister', for best....ah never mind.

    July 28, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Paul

    But if you go carryin' pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow

    July 28, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. DC Johnny

    Hooray! Puff piece about the worst president in modern American history, while he unravels that which good men died for.


    July 28, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. RT Colorado

    Linda Ronstadt has/had a great voice...that being said, CNN has de-evolved into a High School newspaper. The President has just a few problems that need his attention, several of which may involve the use of Executive Orders to circumvent the House of Representatives and possibly prompting a constitutional crisis, legal action and possible impeachment proceedings. As much as I enjoyed Linda Ronstadt, the President is marching to the beat of a different drummer (pun intended), and that drummer might be playing a funeral dirge for Democratic control of the Senate. This is what CNN thinks as news worthy while most media outlets are reporting the anticipated Executive Order granting work visas to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, CNN feels the need to report on President Obama's "crush" on Linda Ronstadt (can't say as I blame him, but she has a different orientation, so it was never to be). Talk about the analogy of the band played while the Titanic sank, or maybe Nero playing while Rome burned. Amazing bit of Preparatory School journalism.

    July 28, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. Franky

    Why is this news?

    July 28, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  14. Pax

    she is older than him–so he is not a dirty old man–also I had a crush on her too–peace, love and speed

    July 28, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. Conserative1

    Well, now I can rest good at night! Love Linda Ronstadt! Him not so much! Wait, not at all!

    July 28, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. palval

    Gee... maybe Obama can be the President of Arts, Culture and Movie Stars and maybe the Dems could find another guy to be president of the United States of America...someone who could find the time to take care of the economy and foreign affairs!

    July 28, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. johnny Doughboy

    A woman to be admired with great talent as she give of her gift to the world !!

    July 28, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. n2it

    "You're no good, you're no good, you're no good." How fitting 😉

    July 28, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. Ted Ward

    Linda Ronstadt was a rock sex symbol so, yeah, lots of guys had a crush on her. Since when was Barack a " struggling" author? Didn't terrorist bomber Ayers help him with that?

    July 28, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. Yawn

    More milquetoast BS to prop up this dbag's ever-decreasing approval rating. "OH HEEHEE DID YOU SEE OBAMA HAD A CRUSH ON SOMEBODY?! THAT TOTALLY MAKES UP FOR HIM FAILING AT EVERYTHING, I APPROVE."

    July 28, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. jarvis g3e

    Welcome Aboard Same Love And Parion For L Rstd!

    July 28, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  22. RonaldJ

    Why are they referring to him as Mr. Obama??

    July 28, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. Leroy

    Just get out of our face and let someone lead that is capable.........

    July 28, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  24. Max Conrad

    When I saw Linda in 1977 she came on stage wearing a white peasant blouse, jeans & bare feet. No Lady Gaga meat dress or Miley Cyrus stripper act, just beauty, talent and a voice that stole my heart. The good old days.

    July 28, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  25. Omar

    Look up "Easy for you to say" on Youtube, ( Linda Ronstadt on the Tonight Show ), and you'll understand why, so many men, and some women, had a crush on her!

    She did what no other American singer did, be a truly "versatile" singer. I mean, look at her catalog: Country, Rock, Ballads, American "Standards", jazz, Mexican "Regional" and "Traditional, "California Country Rock" ( a hybrid genre she and "Eagles" bandmembers created in L.A., and even Salsa, yes, you read right, "Salsa" ( Her album called "Frenesi" ), in Spanish no less! No one, not even Barbra Streisand and much less anyone from the current bath of female 'pop' singers, can get no where near Linda!

    July 28, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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