By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden made an observation when conferring the National Medal of Arts on rocker Bruce Springsteen on Tuesday: “Bruce, some people are just born to run, man.”
Springsteen and a host of actors, authors, singers and other artists joined Biden in the White House East Room where they received either a National Medal of Arts or National Humanities Medal for their contributions to American society.
Comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose “Veep” show made light of the vice presidency – an office Biden once held – was also honored.
“She embraces life’s absurdity with absolute wit, and handles real life turns with absolute grace. A mom, a cancer survivor, a pioneer for women in comedy, she is an American original,” said Biden.
Actress Mindy Kaling, a main character on the long-running television show, “The Office,” set in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, received a medal as well.
When Biden introduced author Colson Whitehead to the crowd, he noted that Whitehead had won back to back Pulitzer prizes for his books, and gave a hint of his own ambitions.
“I’m trying to go back to back myself,” said Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election in 2024.
Singer Gladys Knight, the “empress of soul,” was an honoree, along with clothing designer Vera Wang, historian Walter Isaacson and authors Amy Tan, Ann Patchett and Tara Westover, among others.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Eric Beech; Editing by Richard Chang)