February 21st, 2014
11:12 AM ET

Art History Professor Receives Handwritten Apology from Obama

Ann Collins Johns decided to let President Barack Obama know that his comments last month about art history majors were inappropriate. So she fired up her computer, found the White House website and sent off an email.

A week later she got the surprise of her life when she received an email that included a handwritten apology from the President himself.

What did he say that was egregious enough to warrant a presidential apology? Well, last month, Obama was discussing the value of manufacturing jobs at a factory in Wisconsin when he said, "You folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree."

He went on to say that there was, "nothing wrong with an art-history degree. I love art history. I don't want to get a bunch e-mails from everybody."

But Johns, who teaches art history at the University of Texas at Austin, told CNN that she took exception.

"I sent him an email, never thinking for one second that anything would happen,” she said Wednesday morning.

Johns says she decided to be positive in her note.

"We really work hard on teaching students…who come in and take an art history survey class how to think, read and write critically, because that's what you do with art,” she wrote. “It's not just looking at a pretty picture. You have to call upon all of your resources to come up with some sort of interpretation."


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November 20th, 2013
11:52 AM ET

Obama Honoring Clinton With Medal of Freedom Today

President Barack Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – to 16 people, from former President Bill Clinton and iconic talk show host Oprah Winfrey to the late astronaut Sally Ride, in ceremonies Wednesday night.

President Clinton is receiving the award for his public service in the White House and for founding, "the Clinton Foundation to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment," according to the White House.

This will be their first face-to-face since Clinton criticized Obama on his "keep your plan" pledge for health care, CNN's Jim Acosta reports. All eyes will be on the body language between the two.

Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris says, "They’ve got a very complex relationship. And at bottom it is one—still for all the ups and downs and rockiness, it's one of mutual need." (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

Harris says President Obama has come to value his relationship with the Clintons.

“And he's come to appreciate Bill Clinton for all his exasperating qualities and the fact that he doesn't want to be friends with him; he only wants to hang around with him in small doses. I think he does recognize that they are in a fraternity as two democratic presidents elected who, no matter the ups and downs, they need each other. Their arms are locked.”

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