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OTRC: Paul McCartney jokes at Kennedy award dinner

Paul McCartney appears in an undated photo from his official website. (paulmccartney.com)

Beatles legend Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey and three other recipients of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors were presented with their ribbons Saturday night at a pre-gala dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

During Saturday's event, McCartney joked about being a regular on the Washington awards circuit. The rock legend recently won the Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress.

"I'm getting my own personal parking lot," McCartney joked according to the Washington Post. "Things come in bundles. I'm honored to be with people you admire. I really admire President Obama and I admire Hillary, too."

Other honorees include Country musician Merle Haggard, dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones and composer-lyricist Jerry Herman of "Hello, Dolly!"

The five will be honored for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts on Sunday at a ceremony, which is presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and set to air on CBS on December 28.

In an earlier interview with the Washington Post, McCartney said he didn't know how important the Kennedy Center Honors award was.

"I must admit, someone had to tell me what an honor the Kennedy Center Honors were. Obviously, I would know it's connected with President Kennedy. That's an era and a president that we were fans of," said McCartney. "You knew something was attached to it. But I had to be educated that this is the one, the big American honor."

McCartney was invited to receive a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002 and he accepted but then withdrew from the ceremony, citing a family obligation.

Winfrey, who is taping the 25th and final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" before she launches her OWN cable channel next year, is one of the few talk show hosts to receive such an honor. The late Johnny Carson was among the recipients in 1993, a year after he retired as host of "The Tonight Show."

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