December 10, 2009

WH Dinner 'crashers' stood out years ago

Posted: 08:13 AM ET

By Xuan Thai, CNN White House producer

I confess, I've met Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

I met them a number of years ago. Yes, at a Washington party - I don't think they were crashing that time, as they've been accused of crashing a White House state dinner in November.

Then it was a reception for a well-known Italian designer-type, one in which people put on the one item they own by that label, one that I'm a little embarrassed to admit to have attended.

At first, they seemed like a normal couple, but minutes into our conversation it became clear to me that there was something a little different about the pair.

At the time, there were no reports of Michaele's alleged misrepresentation of being a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, no cameras following them around as they tried out for a reality TV show, no questions about their charitable organization or other claims that have come to light.

But even then, something seemed odd - they addressed me like they'd known me for years and that I would want to hear about the legal woes they were having with Tareq's mother. They dropped names, such as basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, the fabulous events they went to, the incredible things they did.

I knew or thought they were interested in talking to me for only one reason: I'd just told them I worked in television news.

Needless to say, they left a lasting first impression.

(Read More)

Filed under: Salahis • White House

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James Deagle   December 10th, 2009 10:24 am ET

If I had to nominate a couple to represent our era, it would be Mr. and Mrs. Salahi. By pursuing fame and notoriety itself, rather than accomplishing something that may bring it to them naturally, they perfectly embody our celebrity-obsessed times. Fame for nothing, media exposure for free.

Maybe they can hook up with Richard Heene and produce a reality show pilot where they babysit his son, Balloon Boy. That would be as 2009 as it gets.

Expat American   December 10th, 2009 10:43 am ET

Americans are obsessed with reality shows. They bring in the big bucks, no doubt about that. And it doesn't cost the television networks/producers as much as real programming with real actors. Everyone wins!

Personally, I like the 'Amazing Race', even if one also gets to see that many Americans don't have a very broad global perspective. It's fun and good entertainment. Great scenery and you have to love the challenges when the contestants have to carry around Mr. Gnome.

The Secret Service was caught with their trousers down in this case. This is frightening how someone who wasn't supposed to be there can get so close to the President. Lord forbid, had it been someone with different motives than the Salahis. I hope the Secret Service has made some modifications to protect the President; whoever it is!

Gerald Jolly   December 10th, 2009 11:53 am ET

Like rats living in a sewer, they come out whenever they can feed on garbage.

Dodie ~ CA   December 10th, 2009 12:10 pm ET

@ Gerald Jolly

lol .......... Whan an anology! Spoken like a true lawyer! :~)

@ Expat American

I completely agree that Americans are obsessed with Reality TV. We are the ones who fuel this fire.

We all need to get a life!

Expat American   December 10th, 2009 6:28 pm ET

Dodie in California:

I blame Richard from Survivor I for dropping trou! From that moment on, RealityTV has consumed American media...!

sol   December 10th, 2009 7:41 pm ET

what amazing story but the bodyguard have to be more carefull with that kind of situation.

JBM   December 10th, 2009 8:29 pm ET

Well some of us couldn't bid farewell to the soaps fast enough just earlier this week. I would take them back over reality TV any day. If we saw ignorance in a soap opera, we could blame it on poor acting. Now there is nothing on which to blame it, it's simply the "reality."

R J   December 10th, 2009 10:55 pm ET

they’ve got leggs….

Well, how about a 60minutes of Reality show with 20 minutes of the Heenan family, 20 minutes of Octomom Plus, and 20 minutes Salahi Couple….just enuf TV fame 4 all

‘The Lady in R E D is dancin with the vice prez , cheek to cheek…..
the lady in R E D is workin the room, freak 2 freak……..’

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