From: Herndon, Astead
Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2016 6:16 PM
To: Rutherford, Sarah D. EOP/WHO
Subject: Pool report #3
POTUS and FLOTUS arrived in the East Room at about 5:19. They entered to cheers and a standing ovation.
Behind POTUS, the Kennedy Center honorees sat, donning their iconic Kennedy Center medals. Per a White House staffer, the order of the honorees were as follows, (listed from right to left behind POTUS): Joe Walsh, ?Timothy Schmit, Don Henley, James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Al Pacino, and Marth Argerich.
The president began speaking immediately after he entered, highlighting he and FLOTUS' appreciation of the arts. One by one, POTUS spoke about each honoree and expressed excitement about the coming ceremony.
The speech was carried live by the White House, and can be found on the official WH Twitter account, but here are a few quotes. He began his speech by recognizing the members of Congress in attendance and several descendants of John F. Kennedy.
"For the past 8 years, Michelle and I have invited some of the best writers, musicians, actors, writers, dancers to share their gifts of the American people and to help tell the story of who we are," Obama said.
And another: "These awards are not just about this reception or even the show we will have this evening...the Kennedy Center honors are about folks who spent their lives calling on us to think a little to harder and feel a little deeper and express ourselves bravely and maybe take it easy every once in a while."
POTUS said the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, is "one of the parts of the job that I will miss."
POTUS spoke for about about 16 minutes. The line that drew the most applause was a tongue-in-cheek comment to notoriously rowdy Eagles guitarist, Joe Walsh. POTUS asked him not to trash the White House because he's leaving the home soon and wants his "security deposit" back.
Speaking of back, the press corps returned from the East Room shortly before 6 p.m. The pool, and POTUS and FLOTUS, are scheduled to soon travel towards the Kennedy Center for tonight's ceremony. Per the previously released schedule, the motorcade will gather at about 6:30 p.m.
Your pooler will update you upon departure and arrival.