Obamas to attend Ford's Theatre gala

President Barack Obama steps out of the Oval Office with James Clapper, right, to announce him as Director of National Intelligence to oversee the nation's 16 spy agencies, during a ceremony the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 5, 2010. Clapper, currently the Pentagon's top intelligence official, is a retired Air Force three-star general who, pending Senate approval, will replace Dennis Blair who resigned as director of national intelligence after frequent clashes with the White House. The position of national intelligence director was created in 2004 in the wake of intelligence failures that led to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

June 6, 2010 7:18:55 PM PDT
President Barack Obama honored Ford's Theatre at a White House reception Sunday.

He thanked the theater for its work preserving President Abraham Lincoln's legacy and supporting the arts. Obama said it was impossible to separate the nation's history from the history of music and spoken-word performances, especially during times of trouble.

The president noted the current suffering in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill and again promised to do everything he can to make things right.

After the reception, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were attending the theater's annual gala. Singer Kelly Clarkson, comedian George Lopez, actor Dick Van Dyke and others will perform, and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and South African Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs will receive the theater's Lincoln Medal.