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President George W. Bush picked George Strait as one of ten recipients of the 2003 National Medal of Arts. After saying he was "deeply honored," George added, "To think that my career has taken me from the honkytonks of South Texas to the White House is really remarkable. I'm also extremely flattered to be named alongside the other honorees." Past country recipients include Roy Acuff (1991), Earl Scruggs and Minnie Pearl (1992), Bill Monroe (1995), Eddy Arnold (2000), Johnny Cash (2001) and George Jones (2002).

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