President Joe Biden on Tuesday teased a 2024 run as he celebrated American legends Bruce Springsteen, Gladys Knight, Julia Louis Dreyfus and more in a White House ceremony.
Biden bestowed medals to nearly two dozen individuals and groups whose work, he said, deepened the country's "understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizen's engagement with history, literature, philosophy and so many other subjects."
"Above all, you're masters of your craft," Biden told the recipients.
Biden made a reference to a potential 2024 campaign while introducing author Colson Whitehead, noting he won two Pulitzer prizes for his consecutive novels "The Underground Railroad" and "The Nickel Boys."
"How in the hell did you do that? Pretty good man. I'm kinda looking for back-to-back myself," Biden said, prompting a loud applause.
Biden has repeatedly said his intention is to run for reelection, though he's yet to make any formal announcement.
Biden also quipped about how "some people are born to run" while he praising rock music icon Bruce Springsteen.
"Bruce Springsteen, a poet troubadour, chronicler of American life and resilience and hope and dreams, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with 20 Grammys, an Oscar, a Tony, and an unyielding love from millions of fans across generations," Biden said.
Biden introduced Dreyfus as "President Julia Louis Dreyfus" for her role as Selina Meyer in the hit HBO sitcom "Veep."
"I'm gonna talk to Julia later whether she liked being VP or president better," he joked. "I got to figure that one out."
Biden recognized each individual who was honored, describing in detail their achievements in their respective areas.
When it came to Knight, Biden described her as the "Empress of Soul" and said she's "truly one of the best things ever to happen in terms of music."
Other recipients included comedian Mindy Kaling, designer Vera Wang, activist Bryan Stevenson, artists Judith Francisca Baca and Antonio Martorell-Cardona, and writers Ann Patchet, Amy Tan, Walter Isaacson and Tara Westover.
"Mindy Kaling you know from Massachusetts, but as we all know, Scranton, Pennsylvania made her who she is," Biden joked, in a nod to Kaling's work on "The Office."
It was the first time Biden awarded the arts medals since taking office after the COVID-19 pandemic put the ceremony on pause.
Biden previously bestowed Elton John with a National Humanities Medal during a White House concert last fall as John was embarking on his farewell tour -- an honor John said he was "flabbergasted and humbled" to receive.
"You do make the country better, make it a better place," Biden said to the 2021 awardees as the event came to a close.