Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen bonded while singing Broadway show tunes around the White House piano and enjoying 'libations'

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen bonded while singing Broadway show tunes around the White House piano and enjoying 'libations'
President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen host a new podcast together.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen host a new Spotify podcast, "Renegades: Born in the USA."
  • Obama thought Springsteen was shy until they bonded over music and "libations" at the White House.
  • "And then I said, 'Well, he's not as shy as I thought,'" Obama said.

President Barack Obama was surprised when he met Bruce Springsteen for the first time.

On their new Spotify podcast, Renegades: Born in the USA, Obama and Springsteen discussed the origins of their friendship. The two met around 2008, when Springsteen played a concert for Obama's presidential campaign.

"I remember thinking, 'He's very low key, even maybe a little bit shy,'" Obama said. "And I liked that in you. So I thought, 'I hope I get a chance to talk to him at some point.'"
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They continued to see each other at official events, but never had much time to talk. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was through music that Obama says he really got to know The Boss.

"We had a great dinner at the White House where we sang -"

"I played the piano, and you sang," Springsteen said.
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"Well, I don't know about that," Obama said. "But we all sang some Broadway tunes. And some Motown. And some classics. And there were libations involved ... And then I said, 'Well, he's not as shy as I thought, but he just has to loosen up a little bit.'"

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen bonded while singing Broadway show tunes around the White House piano and enjoying 'libations'
President Barack Obama awarded Bruce Springsteen a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.Leigh Vogel/WireImage/Getty Images
They continued to bond after Obama's time as president ended. "After a few drinks, and maybe in between songs, you'd say something ... and I'd say, 'Aw, that makes sense to me.' And those are some deep waters above the stillness there," Obama said. "And so I think we just grew to trust each other and have those kinds of conversations on an ongoing basis, and once I left the White House we were able to spend more time together and, you know, little simpatico."
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Another reason they hit it off? Their wives, Michelle Obama and Patti Scialfa, also became fast friends.

Obama added Michelle was impressed that Springsteen had a grasp on his "failings as a man."

"And after we would leave a dinner, or a party, or a conversation, she'd say, 'You see how Bruce understands his shortcomings and has come to terms with them in a way that you have not? You should spend some more time with Bruce. Because he's put in the work.' And so there was also a little of the sense that I needed to get coached in how to be a proper husband," Obama said.
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In Renegades: Born in the USA, which is produced by the Obamas' company Higher Ground Productions, Obama and Springsteen also discuss politics, race, music, and their childhoods. The first two episodes are available on Spotify, with six more episodes to be released weekly.

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