Obama Mentions Area 51, Says He's First President to Do So

Image: Obama Mentions Area 51, Says He's First President to Do So President Barack Obama and the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors recipients, from left; Carlos Santana, Shirley MacLaine, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock and Martina Arroyo at a reception in the East Room of the White House on Dec. 8.

Monday, 09 Dec 2013 10:22 PM

By Amy Woods

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The highlight of this year's Kennedy Center Honors, scheduled to air Dec. 29 with inductees Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel and Carlos Santana, was not a riff by the jazz great, a song by the piano man or a lick by the Mexican guitarist. It was a remark by President Barack Obama.

'I think I just became the first president to ever publicly mention Area 51," Obama said Sunday during the event.

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The commander-in-chief was discussing actress Shirley MacLaine, who, along with opera star Martina Arroyo, rounds out the 2013 inductions. MacLaine wrote in a 2007 memoir that she saw UFOs, Mediaite reported.

"Now, when you first become president, one of the questions that people ask you is, 'What's really going on in Area 51,'" Obama said during a pre-event reception at the White House.

"When I wanted to know, I called Shirley MacLaine. I think I just became the first president to ever publicly mention Area 51. How's that, Shirley?"

The classified military base's shout-out from Obama marks the first time since the Clinton era that a sitting president has mentioned or alluded to the purported site of alien activity, National Public Radio's Adam Wollner blogged.

When President Bill Clinton exempted the southern Nevada property from environmental-disclosure requirements, he referred to it as "the Air Force's operating location near Groom Lake, Nev."

Related stories:

UFO: Britain Releases Last Batch of Secret Files, Explains Dept. Closure
Area 51 Secrets Revealed in Newly Released Classified Documents

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