Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama to Springsteen: "I'm the president, but he's the boss." Pool reports from gala

| 1 Comment


Subject: Pool Report 3

Pool Report 3

Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009

POTUS greets Kennedy Center Honorees

"On a day like this I remember, I'm the president, but he's the boss,"
POTUS told an audience of 300 entertainment luminaries at the White
House, as he paid tribute to Bruce Springstein.

At 5:37 p.m., POTUS joined the five Kennedy Center award recipients in
the East Room of the White House to tape brief remarks that will be
played during this evening's formal ceremony. On a riser, framed by gold
drapes, and Christmas wreaths the size of truck tires, sat the five
honorees: singer Bruce( Springsteen) comedian Mel Brooks, actor Robert De
Niro, pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, and opera singer Grace Bumbry.

A full transcript is expected.

Your poolers collectively attempted to gather as many names of the
famous 300 as we could, which will be partially listed below.

There were some unexpectedly poignant moments. Most notable came during
POTUS's tribute to Dave Brubeck.

"In the few weeks that I spent with my father as a child -- he came to
visit me for about a month when I was young -- one of the things he did
was to take me to my first jazz concert, in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1971.
And it was a Dave Brubeck concert. The world he opened up to a ten year
old boy was spectacular."

There were also some unscripted moments with Mel Brooks, as when VPOTUS
was announced and Mel Brooks shouted, "Wow!"

POTUS used a number of Brooks's best lines to get laughs. "We're reading
back all your golden moments," POTUS said. "Unfortunately, many of the
punch lines that have defined Mel Brooks's success cannot be repeated
here."

"I told him that I went to Blazing Saddles, and he pointed out that, I
think, according to the ratings, I should not have been allowed in the
theater. I think that's true," POTUS said, adding with a smile, "I got a
fake ID. (pause)_The statute of limitations has passed."

Brooks mouthed, "Thank you, thank you," after the president completed
his portion of the tribute.

POTUS called Bumbry "a diva in the classical sense, a divine voice
worthy of the Heavens." He paid tribute to De Niro's "emotional
audacity" and his "legendary method." He called Springstein "the quiet
kid from Jersey who grew up to be a rock and roll lauriette."

POTUS was in a tux. The First Lady sat in the front row in a strapless,
floor-length purple gown.

There's more, but time is short. Here's a quick taste of the audience,
which the pool, with help from others, will try and fill out in the next
report. Please check all names below for spelling.

Jack Black, Katherine Weymouth, Matthew Broderick, Martin Scorsese,
Barbara Walters, Frank Langella, Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, Mikhail
Baryshnikov, Alan Alda, Carol Burnett, Nancy Pelosi, Jon Stewart, Sting,
William Cohen, Patrick Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Philip
Seymour Hoffman, Joe Montagne, Les Moonves, Harvey Keitel.

From Matthew Mosk, Washington Times

----- Original Message -----
From: Matthew Mosk

Sent: Sun Dec 06 23:11:52 2009
Subject: Pool Report 4

Pool Report 4
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009

Kennedy Center Honors

No news.

POTUS took a four minute motorcade ride to the Kennedy Center, arriving at 6:53
pm as members of the audience we filing into the grand crimson theater.

About 30 minutes later, POTUS (tux) entered his center-balcony box behind
FLOTUS, whose floor length purple gown received rave reviews from members of the
pool, for what that's worth. Also in his box, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel, VPOTUS
and his daughter Ashley, Valerie Jarrett, Kathleen Sebelius, and CBS President
Les Moonves. Crowd of 1,800 applauded.

Seated in boxes next to POTUS were the five honorees: singer Bruce Springsteen,
comedian Mel Brooks, actor Robert De Niro, pianist and composer Dave Brubeck,
and opera singer Grace Bumbry.

FLOTUS sat between her husband and Springsteen. She and the boss (the one who
sings) engaged in huddled chit chat before the show began. Mel Brooks, who sat
to Springsteen's right, appeared to be piping in with comic relief. They all
then rose for the national anthem. Each of them appeared to be singing along.
The only one who could be heard from a distance, though, was opera singer and
honoree Grace Bumbry.

Your pool was permitted to watch from a doorway up to that point, but was then
ushered to a holding room where the remaineder of the evening's program appeared
on closed circuit television.

The full broadcast of the honors will come on Tuesday, Dec. 29, courtesy of CBS.


Some brief highlights involing POTUS included:

During tribute to Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller interrupted his commentary to note
that Springsteen was in the house. "Bruuuuuce," he said, pumping his fists. Then
he spotted POTUS. Hey, Stiller said, "it's the Nobel Peace guy."

Then Stiller turned his attention to Mel Brooks, calling him a "pioneer. A
trailblazer. He's like the Barack Obama for short funny Jews."

Frank Langella told POTUS that he hoped "the lyrics of the theme song of 'The 12
Chairs' will guide you through your years in office." and advised POTUS to "take
notes."

Those lyrics:

"Hope for the best. Expect the worst.
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowning which way you're going.
Hope for the best. Expect the worst."

Jon Stewart referred to Bruce Springsteen as the "music czar" but refrained from
his more typical political fare, instead calling on his Jersey roots to talk
about his reverence for Springsteen.

Overall, the show ran well over three hours (it will be edited down to two). It
included video tributes for each honoree, followed by live tributes. A few
details on these below.

POTUS and FLOTUS appeared on screen occassionally during the broadcast, smiling,
applauding, approving. There were no instances other than those detailed above
where they were directly referenced during the show, at least up to the last
five minutes, when the pool was ushered to waiting vans.

POTUS departed by motorcade at 11:10 p.m.

Presenters/performers included:

For De Niro: Stiller, Ed Norton, Harvey Keitel, Sharon Stone

For Brubeck: Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Jon Faddis, Miguel Zenon, Bill
Stewart, Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band, and Brubeck's four sons,
Christopher, Daniel, Darius, and Matthew.

For Brooks; Carl Reiner, Langella, Martin Short, Jack Black, Harry Connick, Jr.,
Richard Kind, Jane Krawkowski, Matthew Morrison, Gary Beach, Matthew Broderick

For Grace Bumbry: Aretha Franklin, Simon Estes, Angela Gheorghiu

For Springsteen: Melissa Ethridge, John Mellencamp, Ron Kovic, Eddie Vedder,
Sting, Ben Harper, Jennifer Nettles.

The honors were followed by a gala dinner, not attended by POTUS.

1 Comment

POTUS really has a charming sense of humor. He really is somebody who can woo his way to the top!

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 6, 2009 6:26 PM.

SNL Tiger Woods skit was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Dec. 7, 2009. Turkish PM Erdogan; McChrystal and Eikenberry is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.