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#MemeOfTheWeek: Hillary Clinton's Awkward Love For Beyoncé

Beyonce performs the National Anthem as then-U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton looks on in the background at the ceremonial swearing-in of President Obama in 2013.
AFP/Getty Images
Beyonce performs the National Anthem as then-U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton looks on in the background at the ceremonial swearing-in of President Obama in 2013.

It seems everybody loves Beyoncé. But not everyone can say her name.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was asked about the performer Wednesday by an audience member at a town hall in Iowa: "If you could choose, would you rather be the president or Beyoncé?"

Clinton said she'd rather be president, because she can't sing. She then went on to praise Beyoncé's talents, and ended with this line: "I want to be as good a president as Beyoncé is a performer." [The fun starts at 1:08 in the video]

Seems like a pretty nice thing to say, right? Well, it's all about how Clinton said it. The candidate kind of mispronounced (like "BAY-on-say") the name of one of the biggest stars on the planet.

Parts of the Internet were not impressed. The most interesting responses came in a thread led by a tweet from Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson.

Of course, not all of the reaction to Hillary's pronunciation was bad, and it's important to point out that Beyoncé might not even be mad about it. The superstar has been spotted before at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.

Hillary's pronunciation of Queen Bey confirms what is starting to become a universal theme with this election's crop of presidential candidates: they're not that cool. We've already pointed out candidates dancing awkwardly on Ellen, candidates being duped when they don't buy the right websites, candidates being made fun of in their own apps, and [former] candidates and hashtags gone wrong.

But being cool may not matter. Hillary Clinton is leading in the polls among potential Democratic voters, even as her competitor Bernie Sanders continues to lock up endorsements from rappers. So, while it's hard to ever really tell what voters want in a president, you'd be safe to assume at least right now, they're not looking for a master of the pop culture zeitgeist in the next commander-in-chief.

Now, if Clinton were to pick Beyoncé over being president, we know which song she'd pick first:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sam worked at Vermont Public Radio from October 1978 to September 2017 in various capacities – almost always involving audio engineering. He excels at sound engineering for live performances.
Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.