Skip to content

What Are Barack Obama and Bono Talking About?

Although Barack Obama is known for being only former president who could name four Jay Z albums, he’s still notably well-versed in the Caucasian canon. He’s invited Bob Dylan to the White House, sincerely included Coldplay in a playlist of his favorite songs, and is apparently up for hanging out with Bono even after being relieved of his diplomatic duties: On Friday, Barack and Michelle were photographed as they went to Manhattan’s Upland to dine with the U2 singer. You can see those photos here.

Since the meeting took place in a private setting, there’s no word on what the Obamas and the third wheel actually talked about. There were probably some pleasantries exchanged, maybe some quip about the Virgin Islands vacation, and perhaps a bit of Bono jovially reminding them that the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree just passed—to which Barack likely said, yes, he recently heard “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and he totally understands where he’s coming from. But Barack and Bono have probably talked about plenty of things since their relationship dates back to at least 2006, back when Obama was a senator and before the GOP made sure to test the black don’t crack truism.

In 2010, Bono met with Obama to discuss foreign aid and came out proud that he spoke with “the first BlackBerry president.” The U2 frontman visited the White House a year later and played the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” for the then-president. “How cool is this?” Obama said.

This story is better than the photo. Back in 2011, the President invited Bono and Alicia Keys to lunch in his private dining room adjacent to the Oval Office. Bono asks where he should sit. Potus says sit wherever there’s a chair. Bono sees a guitar case in the corner, a campaign memento from Rock The Vote event. Bono quickly tunes the guitar and starts playing/singing Norwegian Wood by the Beatles. Why? Because the second verse goes like this: “She asked me to stay And she told me to sit anywhere So I looked around And I noticed there wasn’t a chair” In the midst of this, the President looks back at me and says, “How cool is this?”

A post shared by Pete Souza (archived) (@petesouza44) on

It’s not just a case of Bono foisting himself upon the Obamas as if he’s promoting a U2 album. The former first family met Bono and his kin when they were in Ireland for the 2013 G8 summit. My take? If Barack Obama thinks Bono is cool, then he’s cool. And The Joshua Tree still holds up.