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Remember When a President Attended the CMA Awards?

George Bush
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Garth Brooks was so popular in 1991 that even the leader of the free world couldn’t pass up a chance to see the singer collect his first Entertainer of the Year Award. President George H. W. Bush brought First Lady Barbara Bush to the Nashville awards show, 21 years ago today (Sept. 28). While presidents have recorded skits for country awards shows since, only the 41st president has seen the event in person. 

Of course President Bush wouldn’t be allowed to just enjoy the show quietly. He hobnobbed with country stars and celebrities and offered this memorable zinger: “When I need a little free advice about Saddam (Hussein), I turn to country music” (quote via Entertainment Weekly). Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker and Travis Tritt were other winners on the night.

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