Tuesday, December 28, 2010
– The Kennedy Center celebration honoring Merle Haggard's contributions to the arts will be broadcast tonight.
Kennedy Center Honors, at a special ceremony with President Obama, fellow honorees Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, composer Bill T. Jones and dancer/choreographer Jerry Herman will air at 9 p.m. on CBS.
An all-star cast of performers paid tribute to the honorees, including Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley and Kid Rock, Julia Roberts, Barbara Walters, John Travolta and Dave Grohl.
"(Oprah) and I had some funny things happen. She leaned over to me one time during the presentation, and she said we came the farthest, " Haggard said. "She sent me some gifts when we got home. There was a six-pack of some of the most expensive champagne I've seen in my life. She's quite a lady."
Haggard described McCartney as not being "very funny," but said the ceremony made him a new fan of the president. "He was really nice to us and he was nice to everybody else. It wasn't just a brush-by - he made a special effort to get to know us, the singer said. "I was highly impressed with him. I'm not one to go for the charisma, (but) I realize that's a talent and it's really not something that may or may not make his presidency better. He has that charisma. I think that's necessary and I think that when you represent America around the world, you need it. Ronald Reagan had it, and Bill Clinton had it."