Kid Rock put some serious work into Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, lending his song “Born Free” to Romney’s campaign and touring the country with the Republican nominee toward the end of his election run, but the rocker proved he wasn’t a sore loser on Sunday when he met President Barack Obama at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Kid Rock told CNN after the event’s conclusion that he had run into the president, and that they had been perfectly civil towards one another. “It was nice,” he said. “I saw the president tonight. He said, ‘I’m still here.’ I said, ‘No hard feelings.’”
Obama and Kid Rock don’t typically run in the same circles, but both were attendees at the 35th annual Kennedy Center Honors, which honors artists and entertainers. The star-studded event honored an eclectic group of entertainers including blues musician Buddy Guy; ballerina Natalia Makarova; David Letterman; Dustin Hoffman; and the three remaining members of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. It was attended by a wider cast of notable guests, including Tina Fey, Robert DeNiro, Ray Romano, Morgan Freeman, Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Kimmel and Bonnie Raitt.
Speaking to CNN, Rock acknowledged his own disappointment after Romney lost the election, but said he was trying to look at the positive. “Well, it always stinks to lose,” he said. “But I think the beautiful thing about it is, you know, I love this country just like I think both men do. And you cross your fingers, you try to move forward, you hope for the best. You respect the office of the president of the United States, and the great thing is in four years, you know, we’ll see what happens, we get to choose again."
"It's tough to stand up for something you believe in,” he added. “Believe me, especially in my business, because it’s very easy [to] alienate a lot of fans and people,” he added. “But I believe if you don't stand for something, you don't stand for nothing.”
Obama and Kid Rock weren’t the only ones with an awkward history to encounter each other at the event. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also acknowledged the presence of honoree David Letterman, for whom she has been the butt of many jokes. Clinton used the opportunity to make a jab at the late night talk show host, saying he must have been wondering what he was doing in the company of so many talented performers.
"Dave and I have a history," said Clinton. "I have been a guest on his show several times, and if you include references to my pantsuits, I'm on at least once a week."