When you’re the president of the United States, it would be too tacky and unseemly to do too much gloating—even when you’re standing in Washington, DC, just weeks after your reelection, next to Kid Rock, the musician whose music and face was deployed as a rallying cry by Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
After the Kennedy Center Honors gala in Washington last night, Kid Rock told CNN that he had a moment with President Obama.
“It was nice. I saw the president tonight,” he said. “He said, ‘I’m still here.’ I said, ‘No hard feelings.’ ”
Rock was such a stalwart of the Romney campaign that on the Monday night when Romney and Obama made some of their last campaign stops in crucial swing states, Romney brought Kid Rock with him to New Hampshire—which Romney wound up losing—while Obama brought Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z with him to Ohio, where Jay performed his now famous version of “99 Problems,” altered to fit the campaign.
After Rock performed his song “Born Free” in New Hampshire, which the campaign had adapted as its official campaign song, Rock brought the Romneys onto the stage—introducing them as the next president and first lady, Mr. Mitt and Ann Romney.”
“I have to say thank you to Kid Rock,” Ann Romney told the crowd. “Let me tell you we are kids of Detroit, Kid Rock and I are, and Mitt is a kid of Detroit, and we love Michigan. We love Kid Rock. We love that he stood up for us and helped us out for all this time.”
But back in Washington, Rock said he loved hearing his music at the campaign stops, though he was disappointed Romney lost.
“It always stinks to lose at anything in life,” he said.
Rock also said he knows he turned off some longtime fans.
“It’s tough to stand up for something you believe in. Believe me, especially in my business. I alienated a lot of fans and people,” Rock said. “But I believe if you don’t stand for something, you don’t stand for nothing.”
At the Kennedy gala, which will air on CBS on Dec. 26, Obama played emcee as he honored Buddy Guy, actor Dustin Hoffman, late-night host David Letterman, dancer Natalia Makarova, and members of the British rock band Led Zeppelin Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones.
Obama reportedly poked fun at the honorees.
“There was some hotel rooms trashed and mayhem all around,” Obama said of honorees Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones, recalling Led Zeppelin’s hard-partying days. “So it’s fitting that we’re doing this in a room with windows that are about three inches thick, and with Secret Service all around. So, guys, just settle down.”
Introducing Letterman, Obama joked that it’s a little more nerve-wracking to be on the receiving end of a roast. “You’re looking a little stressed,” he said to the comedian.
The president noted that Dustin Hoffman’s breakthrough role in The Graduate was meant for Robert Redford. ”Well, Dustin, you’ll be glad to know that this award was not supposed to go to Robert Redford,” Obama said. “He’s already got one.”
Comedian Ray Romano gave it back to Obama when he was paying homage to Letterman, who he said didn’t let it get him down when his first pilot was cancelled.
“If you want to win the World Series, do you quit after losing one game? No!” Romano said. “Do you quit after losing one debate? No, Mr. President!”
When the camera cut to the president, he was seen shaking his head no.