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"You got to keep the lantern lit, my friend," Springsteen tells Obama

By Sean Neumann
April 02, 2021 10:14 AM
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Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
| Credit: Rob DeMartin/Spotify

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen's eight-part podcast series is wrapping up its season on Monday — but the former president and the rock 'n' roll icon spend much of the episode looking forward.

In the finale of Renegades, the duo reflect on the optimism they feel when thinking about the next generation of Americans.

"The 35 and under crowd," Obama, 59, tells Springsteen, 71, "They believe in a unifying story of America."

The pair, who became friends on the 2008 campaign trail, launched their podcast at the end of February — hosting frank discussions about racism, masculinity, fatherhood, their careers and their unlikely friendship.

Monday's episode is planned to be the last Renegades episode, though Obama and Springsteen don't close the door permanently.

In the finale, Obama tells Springsteen about what initially got him "fired up" to run for president before they take a moment to talk about the future of the country Obama led for two terms.

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
Barack Obama
| Credit: Rob DeMartin/Spotify
Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
| Credit: Rob DeMartin/Spotify

"Our kids, their peer group, across the country, they believe almost as second nature that people are equal," Obama, who long campaigned on the value of hope as a political message, tells Springsteen. "They do not believe in discriminating on the basis of someone's skin or their sexual orientation or their gender or their ethnicity or their faith."

Obama continues, folding in themes he and Springsteen discussed throughout the eight-part series.

"They do not believe in economic order that is so grossly unequal that you can have a handful of people worth more than millions of their fellow citizens," the former president says. "They do not believe in a society that ignores the desecration of the planet. They reject the idea that we have no responsibility at all to future generations."

Springsteen tells Obama he thinks it's "our job is to help create that bridge for that next generation," and Obama with him, noting their own roles in U.S. history.

"Your songs and my speeches or books or this conversation I think are just to let that next generation know, 'You're on the right track,' " Obama tells the "Born in the U.S.A." singer.

"You got to keep the lantern lit, my friend," Springsteen says, adding that "it's corny, but your children make you optimistic."

"They force you to be optimistic," Springsteen says. "It's their world that you're handing over now."