Merle Haggard: Obama ‘Very Different’ Than Media’s Portrayal

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December 29, 2010 8:28 a.m.

County music legend Merle Haggard — a 2010 Kennedy Center honoreetold Rolling Stone he finds President Barack Obama to be “very different” than his depiction in the media.

“It’s really almost criminal what they do with our president,” Haggard said. “There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he’s doing certain things that he’s not. It’s just a big old political game that I don’t want to be part of.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Celebrating The Arts: The 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees]

Haggard also said he doesn’t think Obama is conceited, adding that the president seeks help when he needs it. “I think he knows he’s in over his head,” he said. “Anybody with any sense who takes that job and thinks they can handle it must be an idiot.”

Speaking to the Bakersfield Californian, Haggard added that he was impressed by Obama’s charisma. “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 said. “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. I think he had it, and Bill Clinton had it.”

Wrapping up his Rolling Stone interview, Haggard went on to compliment Obama’s handshake, said he especially enjoyed meeting President Bill Clinton and discussed his future plans to record an album with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

Ed. Note: This post has been edited from the original.

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