Saturday, April 19, 2014
By BRETT ZONGKER, The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
The 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees, from left, John Paul Jones, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, Natalia Makarova, Robert Plant, Dustin Hoffman, and David Letterman pose for a group photo after the State Department Dinner for the Kennedy Center Honors gala Saturday at the State Department in Washington.
President Bill Clinton saluted Guy, the Chicago bluesman who was born into a family of sharecroppers with no electricity or running water in Louisiana. He went on to pioneer the use of distortion and feedback with his electric guitar.
"Buddy Guy's life is a miracle," Clinton said. "Just imagine you want to be a guitar player and you get your first strings by tearing off the screen door. ... He came from that to this."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the ballerina Makarova "risked everything to have the freedom to dance the way she wanted to dance" when she defected from the Soviet Union in 1970.
Makarova quickly made her debut with the American Ballet Theatre and later was the first exiled artist to return to the Soviet Union before its fall to dance with the Kirov Ballet.
Clinton also took special note of Letterman, saying he must be wondering what he's doing in a crowd of talented artists and musicians.
"Dave and I have a history," she said. "I have been a guest on his show several times, and if you include references to my pant suits, I'm on at least once a week."
The crowd of artists and entertainers gave Clinton a standing ovation as she hosted her final salute to the nation's artists as secretary of State.
Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein gave her a subtle nudge to run for president in 2016, saying there's another room at the State Department to name after a secretary who later becomes president.