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President Obama Makes Ellen DeGeneres Cry, Calls Her ‘Influential’

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President Obama stopped by The Ellen Show on Friday February 12 and among the laughter and dancing usually found on Ellen’s talk-show, a few tears were shed—the good kind.

It all began when Ellen paused for a moment to thank Obama for his efforts for the gay community in the United States. “I cannot tell you or thank you enough for what you have done for the gay community,” Ellen tells the president, applause erupting in the studio.

And while that moment in and of itself is quite emotionally heavy, things got more intense and emotional when Obama actually turned the tables on Ellen, basically telling her that it is she who should be thanked:

“It’s one of the things I’m proudest of because my whole political career has been based on the idea that we constantly want to include people and not exclude them… But I will say we were driving over here today—and I meant this, I said it to my staff—I said, as much as we’ve done with laws and ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ etc., changing hearts and minds—I don’t think anybody has been more influential than you on that. I really mean that. Your courage—and you’re just really likable. You being willing to claim who you were, that suddenly empowers other people. And then suddenly, it’s your brother, it’s your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your coworkers. And then attitudes shift. And the law is followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.”

As Obama shares this perspective with the comedian and talk-show host, Ellen smiles and begins welling up with tears, visibly moved by his words. It’s a beautiful, poignant, and arguably deserved moment for the truly influential star. Watch below:

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