Tony Bennett: Americans Should Support Anything Obama Wants

By Nicholas Ballasy | April 30, 2009 | 5:46 PM EDT

( - Grammy-award winning musician Tony Bennett told he “loves everything” Barack Obama has done in his first 100 days as president and thinks every American should “give him all-out support for anything he wants to do.”
Bennett further said that Americans should imitate the other countries of the world that support Obama. “I really hope that every citizen of the United States would imitate the rest of the world because they’re all for Obama,” said Bennett. “Every other country adores what happened – in our great country – to have him as president.”
Bennett’s comments were made at the National Portrait Gallery where he presented the Smithsonian Museum with a portrait he painted of the late jazz legend Duke Ellington, commemorating his 110th birthday on April 29.
“I love everything he’s done and everything he’s doing,” Bennett said of Obama. “I think we should give him all-out support for anything he wants to do. We should all help. He’s giving our country back to us, and that’s the laws of the land – the citizens own the country.”

When asked if there is anything specific Obama has done that he likes, Bennett noted Obama’s speaking skills.
“First of all, I think he’s one of the great orators of all time,” said Bennett. “I was impressed with Governor Cuomo and Martin Luther King and the way they spoke, and he [Obama] is so intelligent, and he’s such a great orator.
“He has such a great way of communicating, and his thoughts and his philosophies are just astounding,” said Bennett. “He’s impressing the rest of the world. I wish that everybody in America would realize that we really have a great president.”
Bennett, 82, also spoke with about the significance of his choice to donate his painting of Duke Ellington to the Smithsonian Museum.
“Well, in my life, I mean, it’s the greatest honor I’ve ever received, having this painting in the Smithsonian,” said Bennett, who has donated two other paintings to the Smithsonian.
“It’s reaching the top of the line, and it’s something I never planned on,” he said. “I didn’t have an ambition of ever being in the Smithsonian and to have it happen will just inspire me for the rest of my life – to just keep improving and keep growing. It’s a wonderful moment for me.”
Bennett told the audience during the presentation of his painting that the roses in the portrait positioned behind Ellington symbolized the dozen roses Ellington would send Bennett every time he composed a new song. Bennett said Ellington gave him one piece of advice about songwriting he will never forget.
“He told me, ‘When you make a song, make sure it doesn’t sound like any one else’s,’” said Bennett.
Bennett’s painting of Duke Ellington is available for the public to view in the new arrivals section of the National Portrait Gallery.
Tony Bennett is a Grammy-award winning musician and a two-time Emmy Award winner. He has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. The biggest hits among Bennett’s 30 singles that have appeared on the Billboard Charts include “The Best Is Yet to Come" and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."