Biden honours Springsteen, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mindy Kaling

White House ceremony was held in the East Room for National Medal of Arts and Humanities awards

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US President Joe Biden made puns and jokes while handing out the 2021 National Medal of Arts and Humanities awards in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday.

"Bruce, some people are just born to run, man," Mr Biden quipped to Born in the USA rocker Bruce Springsteen.

The ceremony for the recipients of the 2021 medals was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Biden and his wife Jill hosted the event that included actors, bestselling authors, singers, activists and other artists, including Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

"She embraces life's absurdity with absolute wit, and handles real life turns with absolute grace," he said of Louis-Dreyfus.

"A mom, a cancer survivor, a pioneer for women in comedy, she is an American original."

Mr Biden said he would ask her later if she preferred being president or vice president.

To designer Vera Wang, who was seated next to Springsteen, the President, said, "I see you in my wife's closet all the time."

Actress Mindy Kaling, a star of the long-running television show, The Office, set in Mr Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, also received a medal.

When Mr Biden introduced author Colson Whitehead to the crowd, he said the writer had won back-to-back Pulitzers for his books.

"I'm trying to go back to back myself," said Mr Biden, who intends to run for re-election in 2024.

Singer Gladys Knight, the "empress of soul", was an honouree, along with historian Walter Isaacson, bestselling authors Amy Tan (The Red Tent), Ann Patchett (Bel Canto) and Tara Westover (Educated), and activist, lawyer and author Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy), along with others.

They and their guests were hosted at a reception immediately after the ceremony.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: March 22, 2023, 12:14 AM