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Biden hints he'll run for president again in 2024 in a quip at an awards ceremony

President Biden gave author Colson Whitehead a National Humanities Medal. Whitehead won a Pulitzer twice for his fiction, a rarity. "I'm kind of looking for back-to-back myself," Biden quipped.
Saul Loeb
/
AFP via Getty Images
President Biden gave author Colson Whitehead a National Humanities Medal. Whitehead won a Pulitzer twice for his fiction, a rarity. "I'm kind of looking for back-to-back myself," Biden quipped.

Updated March 21, 2023 at 7:12 PM ET

President Biden hinted at running for reelection during remarks at an award ceremony on Tuesday honoring achievements in the arts and humanities.

Biden has said he intends to run for a second term the 2024 presidential election, but has not announced his final decision on the matter.

While handing out medals on Tuesday, he praised author Colson Whitehead, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2017 and again in 2020 — one of only four people to have won the honor twice.

"Pretty good, man!" Biden told Whitehead. "I'm kind of looking for back-to- back myself," a quip that evoked laughter and applause in the East Room.

It was one of many light-hearted moments in an event marking the accomplishments of 21 people and organizations. "You're amazing. And you do make this country better. You make it a better place," Biden said.

Some of the recipients had a personal connection to Biden, like actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who starred in HBO television show "Veep," which premiered at a time when Biden himself was vice president. Louis-Dreyfus spoke at the Democratic National Convention where Biden was nominated.

Writer Richard Blanco read his poem, One Today, during former President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2013. Mindy Kaling is known for a role she played in "The Office," set in Scranton, Penn., Biden's hometown.

President Biden gave actor Mindy Kaling the National Medal of Arts during a ceremony at the White House on March 21.
Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
President Biden gave actor Mindy Kaling the National Medal of Arts during a ceremony at the White House on March 21.

And he ribbed Bruce Springsteen for being from New Jersey, next to his beloved state of Delaware, noting his first performance was at an Elks Lodge in Freehold, N.J. "I know where it is — Freehold, New Jersey. Just across the river. I've been to Freehold. And I married a Jersey girl," Biden said, referring to first lady Jill Biden.

Biden joked that he is introduced to fashion designer Vera Wang every time he opens the closet. "There's all those labels," he said. "I know your dresses always look beautiful on my wife, God love her."

Biden also recognized Fred Eychaner for his contributions to dance, architecture, arts education and LGBTQI+ advocacy. Eychaner is a major donor to the Democratic party.

Biden previously gave the National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John in September 2022 at a special White House performance.

Here is the full list of winners:

National Medal of Arts

  • Judith Francisca Baca, artist
  • Fred Eychaner, philanthropist
  • Jose Feliciano, musician
  • Mindy Kaling, actor
  • Gladys Knight, musician
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actor
  • Antonio Martorell-Cardona, painter
  • Joan Shigekawa, producer and arts administrator
  • Bruce Springsteen, musician
  • Vera Wang, designer
  • The Billie Holiday Theatre
  • The International Association of Blacks in Dance
  • Musician Bruce Springsteen leaves the East Room of the White House after receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Biden.
    Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images
    /
    AFP via Getty Images
    Musician Bruce Springsteen leaves the East Room of the White House after receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Biden.

    National Humanities Medal

  • Richard Blanco, writer
  • Johnnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist
  • Walter Isaacson, writer
  • Earl Lewis, historian
  • Henrietta Mann, Native American academic
  • Ann Patchett, writer
  • Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and activist
  • Amy Tan, writer
  • Tara Westover, writer
  • Colson Whitehead, writer
  • Native America Calling, radio show
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Ximena Bustillo
    Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.

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