Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama says State Dinner party crashers are "footnote" to a "phenomenal dinner"


WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama downplayed having three people crashing the Obamas first state dinner on Nov. 24, on Wednesday calling the security breaches at the event for the Prime Minister of India "a footnote to what the State Dinner actually was."

"The State Dinner was an outstanding success; it's just the follow up after it.

"I look at the reporting on the State Dinner and go, 'is that all that happened, really' because I sat in a phenomenal dinner where the Prime Minister and his wife were--felt so connected to the United States and they were so proud to be there and the evening so wonderful and just so well orchestrated that to me, the other stuff that everybody is talking about is a footnote to what the State Dinner actually was," Mrs. Obama said.

Asked if she was shaken by the security breach at a White House session with reporters who cover the East Wing, Mrs. Obama said that Secret Service, protecting the Obamas since during the campaign, was "outstanding" and they are "good at what they do."

"With that said, the White House and the Secret Service are working to insure that there are processes in place so that something like that never happens again, and I agree."

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, Mrs. Obama's close friend, had been criticized for the security breach, even as the Secret Service said their agents were at fault. Pressed about how Rogers handled the event, Mrs. Obama did not mention her name and said, "When I say the White House, I mean everyone in the White House."

A Virginia couple, reality show aspirants Tareq and Michaele Salahi made their way to the reception line and met the Obamas and the Indian Prime Minister and his wife. The third crasher, Carlos Anderson, entered the White House with a group of Indian business executives and actually took a seat at the dinner that had been vacated by one of the entertainers.

The Nov. 24 incidents are the subject of criminal probes and a Jan. 20 hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee. The panel held an initial hearing last month.


"The Indian Prime Minster" and his wife have names, you know!

Writing about how the media focuses on dumb stuff is just an excuse to continue focusing on dumb stuff. In the media.

This is really terrible, that three people have crashed the state dinner. What great security OBAMA has in Washington. Thank God I did not vote for this guy!

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 13, 2010 12:35 PM.

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