12/09/2013 09:46 am ET Updated Dec 09, 2013

Obama: 'I Think I Just Became The First President To Ever Publicly Mention Area 51'

During the 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, President Barack Obama joked that he was making history for going where no president had gone before.

While honoring Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine -- who claims she has seen UFOs before, including "a mothership" -- Obama mentioned Area 51, a secret military installation north of Las Vegas that conspiracy theorists believe is home to crashed flying saucers and alien bodies.

"Now, when you first become President, one of the questions that people ask you is, 'what's really going on in Area 51?'" Obama said. "When I wanted to know, I'd call Shirley MacLaine."

"I think I just became the first President to ever publicly mention Area 51," Obama added. "How's that, Shirley?"

The Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS on December 29. Along with MacLaine, opera singer Martina Arroyo, pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer Herbie Hancock, pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel and musician and songwriter Carlos Santana received honors this year.



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