Posts Tagged ‘White House’

Party Crashers: The Complete Story On The White House’s Uninvited Guests

(Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

(Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

This past Thanksgiving my whole family gathered around the table and the talk amongst the meal didn’t center around my newly engaged sister or speculation on when I will get married, but on the Virginia couple that snuck into President Obama’s first Presidential State Dinner. It was a story that quickly dominated the slow holiday news cycle when I flew back to Massachusetts last Tuesday. It all started when Tareq and Michaele Salahi of Front Royal, VA decided to show up to the State Dinner welcoming Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

According to Time, the couple drove up to the White House gates (which is allowed during State Dinners) and were turned away at first- but then hopped out of their car and walked to another entrance and somehow were allowed in by Secret Service. The surprising wrinkle was that the couple didn’t go around to this pedestrian entrance before getting their make-up touched up by the Bravo camera crew that was filming them. Bravo networks confirmed that the couple are in consideration for a spot in the upcoming Real Housewives of Washington DC.

Beats sending your kid up in a balloon I suppose.


Michaele and Tareq Salahi

As the couple worked the press cameras, they managed to mingle and snap photos with all of DC’s elite including Mayor Adrian Fenty, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, VP Joe Biden, ultimately working their way to shaking hands with President Obama in a receiving line. They also got to meet news anchors Katie Couric & Robin Roberts; as well as A.R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire fame.

After pulling off the party crashing of the decade, the couple posted photos of the event on their Facebook profile.

So who are Tareq and Michaele Salahi? Well they aren’t strangers when it comes to meeting famous faces. They have an entire Facebook photo album with the couple meeting Former President Bill Clinton, John McCain, Prince Charles, Richard Branson, Oprah, and President Obama at a previous event.

Michaele is a former Redskins cheerleader and Tareq is a board member on the Virginia Tourism board. State records link the couple in a family dispute over the ownership of Oasis Winery in Hume, VA. The story on their role in the winery is muddled even though their names are clearly on the website; the Warren County Report says that the couple are long disaffiliated with the winery.


It's ok guys, they know Oprah- they must be nice people.

The couple are not only wine socialites but are also heavily involved in polo. They founded America’s Cup of Polo, which links them to Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar- a possible inside connection for the two? Gawker explored the idea but Embassy denies any involvement. Fox News has even more information behind the couple.

The couple is laying low as Secret Service is trying to get in contact with them for questioning, the couple originally were booked on Larry King Live but the interview was canceled and the couple are quickly trying to sell their story.

There is a lot to say about America’s party crashers. The biggest debate is whether there was any threat to the President? Even though they went through magnetometers like every other guest, pundits are quick to say that a knife could of been taken off a table or perhaps anthrax could of been snuck in.

Maybe the couple could of coated their hands in poison like Mandy did when she tried to kill President Palmer in a season finale of 24.

I really enjoyed reading Michael Russnow’s piece on The Huffington Post that clearly reasons that The President is exposed more often than we like. Russnow is right, there are so many times that the President is exposed to people that aren’t given background checks- and in reality he wasn’t really in any danger.

So what about the couple? Gawker thinks that they are what America needs right now. Some think they should go to jail. Unless the secret service goes the “lying to a federal official” route it looks unlikely that will happen.

The bigger picture question is what does this say about society? With two extreme examples of what people will do to for fame, have we become a society that encourages more and more extreme acts for the spotlight?

UPDATE: The Salahis appeared on the Today Show yesterday where they not only claimed they were invited, but say that their lives have been ruined because of this ordeal


Daily DC Item: White House Goes Green & Obama Goes Irish

0317091804Some people were drinking green beer yesterday- others were drinking green water.

Well if you were the White House fountain you were enjoying green water, I learned from some a local DC blogger that the White House changed the color of the fountain to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The story in the Politico today confirms that and also reported more on the part Irish Barack Obama (3.1% Irish!)

Did anyone else see the White House fountain yesterday? I’m sure a lot of you were partaking in other activities or were you?

It is always hard to party when a drinking holiday such as this one occurs during the work week, I was keeping tabs on the posts over at Going Out Gurus where the bloggers encountered a morning of empty bars. They say that maybe the revelers aren’t morning people- and they might not be, but you can’t also factor in the fact the working citizens of DC might have been out if it was on a more convenient day.

The last interesting note of yesterday was Obama’s announcement of his nomination for U.S. Ambassador to Ireland: Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I hope he gets the gig and we see a few NFL games over on the Emerald Island.

Inauguration 2009: Inauguration Estimates Cut In Half

"Clinton_inauguration_1993_crowds" courtesy of Flickr user dpape

Did estimates of up to 5 million people scare you from coming out to see the Obama Inauguration?

Well how about 2-3 million? Does that number sound more appealing to you?

Inauguration officials are now revising earlier estimates of Inaugural attendees by half. According to the Washington Post, “turnout could easily reach 2 million, officials said, far outstripping the 400,000 who attended the 2005 inauguration of President Bush.

It doesn’t surprise me that only 400,000 people came out to see Bush swearing in again. I wonder how many of them were protesters.

The WP article notes that 5 million people may come into the DC Metro area, but it seems unlikely that the entire 5 million will actually make it to The Mall and parade route. So does that mean that a fallback plan of watching the festivities at a local pub may not be smart? Trying to fight through the other 2 million that came into town but didn’t want to go the extra mile to be there in person may make leaving my house a nightmare no matter what I do.

I also wonder if this story will entice even more people to try and see the events in-person. Next thing you know we really do have 5 million people in DC because they thought, “5 million people? No way! But 2 million people… maybe I will try and make it in…”

Now for some more Inaugural news.

Obama’s playing the part of Lincoln very well

"Lincoln Bible" courtesy of the Presidential Inaugural Committee

So the Obama’s got the Lincoln train ride thing down. He’s also kicking off Inaugurapalooza with a concert at the Lincoln memorial. And of course we all know Obama’s from the “land of Lincoln.”

He wants to make sure we get the whole Lincoln metaphor down with his decision to use the Lincoln bible to take his Inaugural oath. The bible hasn’t been used in over 150 yearsm since- you guessed it- Abe Lincoln used it. With the announcement the Lincoln bible came out for a little photo op and CBS has some video of it on display.

More Inaugural Weekend Details

It looks like the Inaugural committee has released some more details on the events that weekend, here’s the latest details from the Presidential Inaugural Committee:

Sunday, January 18th
No new details on the welcome event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial except that it will be in the afternoon

Monday, January 19th – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The President-elect, Vice President-elect, and their families are going to honor Dr. King through various community service activities. The earlier reported youth concert at the Verizon Center will be held that evening.

Tuesday, January 20th – Inauguration Day

"the president's own" courtesy of Flickr user happy via

The festivities will start at 10 A.M. but officials say that if you have tickets that you should try and get into the areas around 9. Remember that there’s no overnight camping on The Mall and that you can’t stake a parade spot til 7 AM.

Musical groups to perform include The United States Marine Band, Aretha Franklin, The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”, The San Francisco Boys Chorus, and The San Francisco Girls Chorus. John Williams will conduct an ensemble including Itzhak PerlmanYo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill.

Here’s a the current rundown of the ceremony:

  • Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks: Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Invocation: Dr. Rick Warren
  • Musical Selection: Aretha Franklin
  • Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will be sworn into office by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable John Paul Stevens
  • Musical Selection: John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma  (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet)
  • President-elect Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.
  • Inaugural Address
  • Poem: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Benediction: The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
  • The National Anthem: The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”

President Obama will escort President Bush to a departure ceremony then attend a luncheon in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

The Inaugural Parade will march down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. Here’s a preliminary list of parade participants that have been invited.

Wednesday, January 21st
No new news on the prayer service that will take place that day.

How cushy is an Honorary Co-Chair role?

The committee has also announced their Honorary Co-Chairs which include former President Carter, Clinton, and Bush (the first one.)  Mayor Adrian Fenty and Colin Powell are also on the list. While I don’t know what exactly an Honorary Co-Chair does at the Inauguration- I bet he/she will have really good seats.

Talking about seats I was showing a friend around DC last night and we visited the White House where we saw the VIP Grandstand still under construction.

The work looks top notch and there’s a round frame at the top- probably for the Presidential Seal. I also noticed glass partitions installed in the front and center rows. I bet those are probably bullet-proof. There’s also another grandstand structure opposite of this one. That’s probably as close as  I’m going to get to the parade- or anything Inaugural for that matter.

More Inauguration Links

The Inauguration Committee on Twitter:

Volunteer for the Inauguration:

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