WASHINGTON--A contingent of Illinois political officials and activists with ties to President Obama and wife Michelle attended a holiday party at the White House on Thursday, featuring new, tighter security measures installed after wannabe reality TV show stars crashed a Nov. 24 state dinner.
One of my spies told me that White House staffers sat at tables at the entry gate checking off guests as they arrived; in all ID's had to be shown at three checkpoints before guests enterred the East Wing and passed through the magnetometer. This triple checking comes after Michaele and Tareq Salahi sailed past checkpoints and were able to enter the White House even through they were not on any guest list. A House committee on Thursday held a hearing on the security breach.
The holiday party food: shrimp, roast beef, turkey, smoked salmon, shrimp. Choirs, I am told, were singing in the different rooms of the White House.
Obama briefly spoke. No photo line. Chicago Obama staffers White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, FLOTUS Chief of Staff Susan Sher; Public engagement chief Tina Tchen were seen at the party.
The Illinoisans at the Obama party included:
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton
Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie
Illinois State Sen. Iris Martinez
Illinois State Sen. Terry Link
Former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones mentor to then state Sen. Barack Obama
Former Illinois State Rep. Robin Kelly, chief of staff for Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and state treasurer hopeful.
Cook County Clerk David Orr
Cook County Board Member Forrest Claypool
Illinois State Rep. Art Turner
llinois State Board of Education Chair Jesse Ruiz
Chicago Ald. Toni Preckwinkle
Dennis Gannon, CFL
Tom Balanoff, SEIU
Henry Tamarin, UNITE
Ron Powell UFCW
Susan and Lewis Manilow
Abner and Zoe Mikva