President Obama jokes about Area 51

President Obama publicly mentioned Area 51 in remarks at the White House Sunday about the Kennedy Center Honorees.

“Now, when you first become president, one of the questions that people ask you is, 'What’s really going on in Area 51?’ ” Obama said.

“When I wanted to know, I’d call Shirley MacLaine. I think I just became the first president to ever publicly mention Area 51.  How’s that, Shirley?”

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MacLaine, who is among five artists who are receiving the honor Sunday, has claimed to have seen UFOs.

Conspiracy theorists have long been infatuated with Area 51 for its secrecy and have alleged it was a location of frequent UFO sightings.

Area 51 had previously been rumored to be a CIA facility, but new documents released in August confirmed its existence.

The base is located in Nevada, in the Mojave Desert, the documents showed, where the government tested aerial surveillance programs.