Barack Obama Says He Made “Mistake” by Not Giving Dolly Parton Presidential Medal of Freedom

"I think I assumed that she had already got one... She deserves one. I'll call Biden."

obama mistake dolly parton presidential medal of freedom
Barack Obama (CBS) and Dolly Parton

    Former President Barack Obama has said it was a “mistake” and a “screw-up” that he did not give Dolly Parton a Presidential medal of Freedom.

    The self-reflection came during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In a wide-ranging conversation that covered the drone program, Obama’s frustrations with his failure to close Guantanamo Bay, and whether DQ Blizzards are better than Wendy’s Frosties, Colbert introduced a new segment called “Questions We’re Pretty Sure Barack Obama Has Never Been Asked Before.”

    The segment proved to be surprisingly challenging. When Obama was asked “What goes in a toaster?” He responded, “toast,” and received a scolding from Colbert. “Bread goes in the toaster. Toast comes out.”


    While the President’s head was still spinning, Colbert hit him with a follow-up question. “How does Dolly Parton not have a Presidential Medal of Freedom?”

    Obama blinked. “That’s a mistake. I’m shocked.”

    He added, “That was a screw-up. I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she had already got one. That was incorrect. I’m surprised. She deserves one. I’ll call Biden.”

    Elsewhere, Obama spoke at length about Trump’s erosions of democracy and his own belief that the much-maligned drone program had “less collateral damage than if you send in troops.” Check out snippets below.


    Colbert is a longtime fan of Dolly Parton, and during an October appearance on The Late Show, she brought him to tears with a performance of “Bury Me Beneath the Willow”. While her decades of charitable giving qualified her for the Presidential Medal of Freedom before the pandemic, the fact that her $1 million donation helped fund a successful COVID-19 vaccine certainly won’t hurt her case. You can catch her playing a literal angel in the new Netflix musical Christmas on The Square.

    Of all living Presidents, Obama continues to be the most aware of pop culture, and he recently gave Drake his blessing to play him in a movie.


Latest Stories