Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obamas host first state dinner. Chicago's Jennifer Hudson entertains. Schedule.


Updated 10:08 a.m. eastern time

WASHINGTON--Here's the invite to the hottest ticket in town Tuesday night--President Obama and First Lady Michelle's first state dinner. Several news outlets are reporting that the entertainment will include Chicago's Jennifer Hudson and Kurt Elling. This is the most anticipated event yet produced by White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers--so the Chicago connections are no surprise.

Some 320 guests are expected.The invite is on a cream-colored card embossed with a gold presidential seal and black text:

The President and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of the company of Mr. _____ at a dinner in honor of His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, to be held at The White House on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at seven o'clock.

My column with background on the Obama dinner is here. Mrs. Obama presides over a session Tuesday afternoon with girls she is mentoring on the history of White House dinners. Her East Wing will also show off the place settings at that time. Mrs. Obama will be joined by White House Curator William Allman and Tanya Turner, protocol officer for the Visits Division of the State Department.

All the Chicagoans in the White House--Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod and Susan Sher are expected. Emanuel's brother, superagent Ari, will be part of the Hollywood crowd showing up. There will also be a Chicago contingent, including business executive Penny Pritzker, the chairman of TransUnion, Pritzker Realty Group, and Classic Residence by Hyatt. She was the finance chair of the Obama presidential campaign and Obama might not be in the White House today if it were not for her efforts, especially in the first quarter of his campaign in 2007.

For a schedule of how the day will unfold, check out my column here.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Biden are hosting a lunch for
Singh and his wife at the State Department. That's also a hot ticket.

Many events will be live streamed at C-SPAN also is offering up a full plate of coverage.

Here what C-SPAN is producing: "We'll begin at 9pm by showing the Indian Prime Minister's arrival at the North Portico. Then, a conversation with Nia-Malika Henderson of Politico to talk about the guest list and other subjects. Over the course of the program we'll show some of the guest arrivals from the White House Booksellers Area, the toasts and possibly a clip of the entertainment. Also in the program: telephone conversations with Anita McBride, former chief of staff to Laura Bush; Walter Scheib, former White House executive chef (1994-2005); Melinda Bates, former director of the White House Visitors Office (Clinton Administration)."


Well how nice to belly up to the trough for fine food compliments of the taxpayer while people are out of work and eating soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think the people attending this ball can afford to pay their own tab Nice job President Obama you’re a disgrace to your office as well as the buffoons that will be attending the debauchery. Obama you truly are clueless; it is nothing more than a fox in the hen house.

So I ask you. Would you invite 'purity mongers', thiefs, trouble makers, murders, adulterers, liars, racists, cowards, money grubbers, back-biters, cheats, ignorant, obstructionist, haters of low income people who need healthcare, so-called professers of faith = ha, knights of destruction and other like minded dubious ones to your sacred home?

Good stuff! I can't wait for the New issue of U.S History. Soul Music in the "White House". If it wheren't for Bush, none of this would have ever happen. Thanks Buddy!
Besides making History as the Worst President ever. Bush has also started another chapter in African American History. Thanks Buddy!

Mr. Star, in response to your blog above, actually you are the jerk. If you had bothered to read the entire article, you would have learned that these dinners are a necessary duty of every sitting president. Don't just blame President Obama, this has been a time honored tradition for decades. Including Presidents Bush, Reagan, Kennedy, Johnson and so on. So, why should President Obama be singled out by you? You, my friend are the disgrace. It must be racism that drives your criticism, not the taxpayers' money. I bet if McCain was in office, you would not have written your blog, or, if you did, you would have praised his great diplomacy when taken into considering that the area that this head of state represents is one of the most troubled and sensitive areas in the world.

@ Lee Star . . every president in HISTORY has hosted State Dinners for foreign leaders and dignitaries and they've always been on our dime. No one has EVER paid their own way into a State Dinner thrown by a sitting US President. I think your comment shows who really lacks class (and formal knowledge on how to use punctuation). It's called a period honey. Try using one and maybe you can get a job and get off those PB & J sandwiches.

Try praying, it will free your soul from envy and hate.

I am so tired of EVERYTIME Obama does anything, its criticized by the haters! I did not see all these negative comments when Bush was in office, completely screwing everything up! That's why Cheney is spilling the beans now! Bush left this country in the shape its in. People, get over it! If Obama was a different RACE, no one will keep such a watchful eye over him and his wife! Eat and be merry OBAMAS!

I am an Indian and an American, now how can a common person like me be invited to the State dinner? Don't you think they should have some invites for common folks that they should raffle off?

Best wishes to President and Mrs. Obama on their first State Dinner. I hope that everything goes well and all guests are pleased. So far, the President has improved our international relations and our likeability around the globe. As a world traveler, this is very important to how Ameticans are treated abroad. His diplomacy goes a long way in keeping us safe. It is interesting to note that some of the fare to be served came from Mrs. Obama's garden. Now that is a class act! I think it is great that some of the low income people in the neighborhood of the Whitehouse will be among the guest. In addition, the shelters bordering the Whitehouse will enjoy some of the goodies for Thanksgiving.
Thanks to President and Mrs. Obama, great Americans!

The first lady looks WOW!!! with beautiful dress.
The president and the first lady represent our country very well. Everyone should be proud.

Yes, state dinners are part of a president's job description. I think the negative posts here are misplaced about this particular news item. The problem is: Lynn is putting too few hard hitting political items on the blog. If someone doesn't care for the President or his policies, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are a racist. Accusations of racism cannot be the defensive strategy of the President. If it is, he has already failed. When a negative post about the President offends you, it does not mean that it is always fueled by racism. At this point in Bush's presidency, he had already been raped many times over by the media. He didn't have the iron clad defense of racism that Liberals run to on every occasion to protect their man. The President, himself, should put the racism defense to rest forcefully. If not, it will always appear that he is hiding behind it.

finally ,,, finally,,, mrs O. wore an attractive dress!!!!

All I have to say is that people from the state of Chicago, IL are very together they help and support their own very much look at the trend Oprah, Obama, Jennifer Hudson,
Valerie Jarrett, Michael Jordan,Dwayne Wade and I could go on forever I truly admire that about them. Keep up the good work !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 24, 2009 6:19 AM.

Obama Afghanistan troop increase decision on Dec. 1 was the previous entry in this blog.

Arrival ceremony for India PM Singh at the White House. Pool report with who's who is the next entry in this blog.

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