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Obama misspells Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' at concert

WASHINGTON (AP) -- He bobbled the spelling, but President Barack Obama had nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the "women of soul" who shook and rattled the rafters of the White House on Thursday night.

"What a lineup!" Obama declared at the outset of a concert that featured a generations-spanning array of soul singers that stretched from musical legends Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle to 20-year-old Ariana Grande.

Obama paid tribute to Franklin for turning her signature song "Respect" into "a rallying cry for African-Americans, women and then everyone who felt marginalized."

The pumped-up audience gave a hearty laugh but was more than willing to forgive the president for spelling it "R-S-P-E-C-T."

First up in the East Room lineup was LaBelle, with a thundering delivery of "Over the Rainbow" that had the audience on its feet.

It was a mutual admiration society of sorts as LaBelle thanked the Obamas for their tenure in the White House, declaring, "Baby, you got swag!"

Grande, the youngster in the group, seemed in awe of her fellow performers and the august audience. Her lead-in: "What's up? How are you? Good to see you. Thank you for having me."

The emotional high point came when Franklin, 71, sauntered in, gave a shimmy and declared "Let's have a party." Then she went right into "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" She was back later to close down the show with what Obama called "one more treat," -- a slow, soulful rendition of "Amazing Grace" that turned rowdy at the end.

But first, all the other ladies -- including Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae, Jill Scott and Tessanne Chin -- collaborated on a rollicking delivery of "Proud Mary."

The concert was livestreamed at whitehouse.gov/live and will be broadcast as "In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul" on April 7 on PBS.

At a morning arts workshop for high school and college students, first lady Michelle Obama called soul "the kind of music that makes you move, no matter who you are or where you come from."

LaBelle, Etheridge and Monae had plenty of stories and advice to share with the students, then got them whooping, hooting and swaying with a trio of songs in the intimate venue of the State Dining Room.

Mrs. Obama quoted LaBelle as once saying that she had succeeded because she "took chances and sang my butt off."

The first lady tried her own riff on that advice -- then admitted she may have taken it a little too far.

"Find your own voice and be proud of it," she said. "And then, sing your butt off. Or work your butt off. Or whatever you do, do it until your butt comes off. "

Then she added: "OK, that quote is going to be kind of funny in the papers. I already know it. My communications people are like, 'What?' But you guys all know what I meant -- be good at what you do. "

The concert was scheduled as part of Women's History Month.

Said the president: "As someone who always shares this house with brilliant, creative, talented, somewhat stubborn women, I think Women's History Month is the perfect time to honor a few more: the women of soul."

Join the discussion

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liemc March 07 2014 at 1:11 PM

Hey Lefties, I remember when Vice President Quayle spelled potato wrong & your morons went crazy with the sarcasm & remarks about his intellect. Now your guy spells "respect" wrong & you all think it’s funny. Maybe it’s because you braniacs actually thought he spelled it right.

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Liebchken March 07 2014 at 6:18 PM

Oh God, don't tell me..........this is Bush's fault too, right?

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
jjemder Liebchken March 07 2014 at 6:20 PM

Or the weather. Or the race card. Your choice.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sk3navy1 March 07 2014 at 12:15 PM

What do you expect.Nice HP covers this but ignores all the important issues.

NSA, fast and furious, Libya, no shovel ready jobs, racist, economy and so on

Now we know what hp thinks is important.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
tmoogly sk3navy1 March 07 2014 at 12:35 PM

You forgot Cash for Clunkers where 1/3rd of the cars bought were foreign. That really helped the economy, Japan's.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Randy tmoogly March 07 2014 at 1:20 PM

Don't forget that for each car "sold" under the far left's UAW handout bill, the taxpayers were hit with a bill in excess of $45,000 to pay for the cost of the assorted SEIU members they hired to process the paperwork.... (and are still on the taxpayers payroll shuffling paper from desk to desk to desk to a filing cabinet that will never be opened again.

Flag +1 rate up
coatoam March 07 2014 at 12:13 PM

Obama_____the gift that just keeps giving!

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1 reply
Randy coatoam March 07 2014 at 1:22 PM

That "gift", to which you refer makes one wish for a burning bag of dog excrement on their porch instead....

Flag Reply +1 rate up
zzyxx March 07 2014 at 6:18 PM

this guy is an intelligent, educated dunce.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
aaltexan March 07 2014 at 12:11 PM

Why am I NOT SURPRISE.........

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Nancy March 07 2014 at 12:10 PM

One of Bush's truest statements and he said it himself. Was ANYONE listening?

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."—Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

Flag Reply +1 rate up
paulatkinson22 March 07 2014 at 12:10 PM

What do you expect. 75% of the people who voted for Obama can't spell either. They also can't put together 3rd grade level sentences. They say things like... "I seen" and "I ain't" and "I says". He fits right in as their leader.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
1 reply
Randy paulatkinson22 March 07 2014 at 1:23 PM

don't forget "aks"

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Tom March 07 2014 at 6:20 PM

"Obama botches spelling at performance"
Wow, where has the news media been for over the last 5 years. Obama has botched up nearly everything that he got involved in.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
TERRY March 07 2014 at 12:07 PM

Does anybody remember Obama In Ohio Trying to spell Ohio :

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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