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President Barack Obama had a difficult time getting his words out during his 2010 Kennedy Center speech in the East Room of the White House on Sunday. But the recipients for the 33rd annual awards including Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman and Bill T. Jones didn’t seem to mind as they laughed while Obama spoke.

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According to CNN, Obama struggled to pronounce the word “superfluous” at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors while reading an opinion by legendary Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“To many people, the superfluous is necessary,” Holmes wrote. “The theater is necessary. Dance is necessary. Song is necessary. The arts are necessary. They are a necessary part of our lives.”

But “superfluous” tripped him up!

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“It’s this lip. It’s hard to say,” Obama explained to the laughing audience. “You try it when you’ve had 12 stitches.”

After Obama was elbowed during a pickup basketball game the day after Thanksgiving, he had to receive a dozen stitches in his lip.

But he eventually got the word out correctly!

“The men and women here tonight embody that idea,” he concluded. “Tonight it is my honor to offer them the appreciation of a grateful nation.”

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