December 16, 2009
Posted: 08:54 AM ET
A Georgia couple arrived at the White House on the wrong day for a tour recently and got much more than they bargained for.
After being screened by the Secret Service, Harvey and Paula Darden of Hogansville, Georgia, were led into a lavish invitation-only breakfast where they met the president and the first lady.
How the couple was able to get into the White House event without being on the guest list was called "dumb luck" by the Dardens. The White House is calling it a "nice gesture" and has been explaining how this incident is nothing like the breach of security that took place when Tareq and Michaele Salahi infamously crashed the Obamas' state dinner.
The Dardens got into the White House on Veterans Day, weeks before the Salahis' infamous party crashing. The couple mistakenly arrived a day early for a tour that was booked by their congressman.
The White House says it put the Dardens through the appropriate screenings and criminal background checks before allowing them to go to the Veterans Day breakfast because there were no tours scheduled that day.
Harvey Darden, 67, says the whole thing was a surprise to him because at the time he did not realize that he was at the White House on the wrong day.
Darden says he was standing outside the White House security booth with his 62-year-old wife when he heard: "Mr. and Mrs. Darden, you are cleared to come in."
November 30, 2009
Posted: 09:02 AM ET
The gate crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi want to be famous as stars of reality television. I am all for that. Give them a reality television series and call it "Trial and Jailtime" in the D.C. criminal justice system.
This despicable, desperate, duplicitous couple disgraced the Secret Service and embarrassed the president in his home. They totally overshadowed the president's meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the leader of an important ally. The incident made the Obamas' first state dinner, honoring the prime minister and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, fodder for comedians - and it certainly raises security concerns for other world leaders visiting at later dates.
The gate-crashers need to be held accountable and not glorified.
Unless they have some excuse we haven't heard yet, the Salahis deserve to be charged with criminal trespassing and lying to federal officers for starters. Yes, they dressed for the occasion, but the Salahis are no different, and shouldn't be regarded any differently, than a nut case who jumps over the White House fence and tries to run in the front door.
The only difference is that the fence-jumper would be shot ten feet from his entrance point. I worked in a couple of White Houses and have always had the greatest respect for the Secret Service. These men and women put their lives on the line daily and often serve in long and tedious tours of duty.
Filed under: President Barack Obama
November 27, 2009
Posted: 06:52 PM ET
From The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The celebrity-seeking couple who snuck into a state dinner this week came face-to-face with President Obama and his wife, Michelle, the White House said Friday in a disclosure that underscored the seriousness of the security breach and prompted an abject apology from the Secret Service.
A White House spokesman said the couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi of Virginia, met the president and first lady in a receiving line at their first state dinner. That disclosure coincided with a statement in which Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said his agency was “deeply concerned and embarrassed” by the events at the state dinner last Tuesday.
“The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list,” Mr. Sullivan said.
“Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That failing is ours.”
Shortly before the disclosure from the White House and the statement by Mr. Sullivan, the Secret Service said it wanted to interview everyone connected with the incident, including the couple, and had not ruled out criminal charges.“Everyone who has some information to contribute” will be contacted, said James Mackin, a spokesman for the Secret Service.
Filed under: President Barack Obama
Posted: 12:24 PM ET
Oprah Winfrey will interview President Obama and his wife, Michelle, next month for a 60-minute program to air before Christmas, the talk show host announced Wednesday.
"Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special" will air at 10 p.m. ET December 13 on ABC, her Web site said.
"The intimate, informative and entertaining hourlong special will include a one-on-one conversation with the president, marking the first time Oprah has interviewed him since he took office, as well as an exclusive sit-down interview with the first couple," it said.
The special "will showcase behind-the-scenes preparations as the White House gets ready for the holiday season," the Web site said.
November 24, 2009
Posted: 06:10 PM ET
Potatoes & Politics:
Watch Larry King Live for a night of pomp and circumstance as President and Mrs. Obama host their first state dinner. The guests of honor: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife. We'll talk to Jennifer Hudson, who will perform at the very exclusive event. Plus, celebrity chefs Paula Deen and Wolfgang Puck join the conversation (Paula will also dish about her little run-in with a ham)! And don't miss former White House chefs reminiscing about their favorite state dinners.
President Obama's decision about troop levels in Afghanistan could come as early as next week. What is the President's strategy in the war? Has he taken too long to make a decision? We'll talk to Matthew Hoh, the former State Department staffer who quit in protest of the war in Afghanistan, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark.
That's all tonight at 9ET/6PT!
And we want to hear from you:
If you were hosting a state dinner, what would be on your menu?
Posted: 05:25 PM ET
Note: Paula Deen, former White House chefs and Sally Quinn of the Washington Post join Larry tonight to dish about all the dinner details.
The menu? No meat. Instead, a selection that includes roasted potato dumplings or green curry prawns. Preceded by potato and eggplant salad and white house arugula with onion seed vinaigrette. Dessert features pumpkin pie tart and pear tatin.
Wines are from California, Oregon and Virginia. The entertainers? There's Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for her turn in the film Dreamgirls. Also A.R. Rahman, who won two music Oscars this year for his work on Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire.
Expect a special version of that film's bouncy theme song, Jai Ho! Kurt Elling, a Grammy-winning jazz singer and composer, will perform, as will the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. About 400 guests will be in a big tent pitched on the South Side of the White House for the formal state dinner honoring India. The tent allows for nearly three times the crowd that could squeeze into the state dining room.
The guest list includes at least one Indian-American Republican: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Also Hollywood types such as Steven Spielberg and super agent Ari Emanuel. And CBS anchor Katie Couric and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
First lady Michelle Obama has brought in a celebrity chef, award-winning Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit, a Scandinavian restaurant in New York City. "These state visits and dinners are a really important part of our nation's diplomacy," Michelle Obama said today. "Throughout history, they've given U.S. presidents - and the American people - the opportunity to make important milestones in foreign relations."
State dinners are a long-standing White House tradition. Since the time of George Washington himself, presidents have conduced business over meals with lawmakers and the occasional foreign diplomat. Tonight's state dinner closes a circle of sorts. The first formal state dinner that we know today was held Dec. 12, 1874, when President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife hosted King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands - also known as Hawaii, the future state that in 1961 became the birthplace of one Barack Obama.
September 8, 2009
Posted: 01:42 PM ET
There is one piece of information in Washington that's so coveted you'd think it was deemed classified: how Michelle Obama got those well-toned arms. Women's Health got the scoop–straight from Mrs. Obama's long-time personal trainer, Cornell McClellan.
He's put her through 1,872 workouts. That's how many days–give or take a few–she's hit the gym since 1997, the year she first started working with McClellan at his Chicago fitness studio, Naturally Fit.
Even more impressive: Most of those sessions took place at 5:30 a. m. "She's truly committed herself to the importance of health and fitness," McClellan says.
"I believe the purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit. To do that, we take a holistic approach that includes strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility training."
For an even greater total-body challenge, the workouts also feature rope-jumping, kickboxing, and body-weight calisthenics, all done at a heart-and lung-busting pace that skyrockets fitness levels and burns tons of calories.
Filed under: President Barack Obama
June 19, 2009
Posted: 02:28 PM ET
Tonight is the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner in Washington.
Everybody's who's anybody in DC will be there, but we'll be focusing on one person in particular.
Pres. Obama is scheduled to speak this evening at the dinner. These speeches are typically very funny, and we've got a very funny panel to tell us how he did. Penn Jillette and Mo Rocca will be among the guests.
Plus, we'll have the latest on the situation in Iran.
And of course, we want to hear from you (although not until after the speech):
What do you think about Pres. Obama's speech at the RTCA dinner?
April 1, 2009
Posted: 06:50 PM ET
Tonight, the Obama's cross the pond and take England by storm – and meet the Queen! The U.K. appears to be wild about the Obama's. Today was about the fashion, the food, the frenzy! And the gifts! What gifts? The iPod of course. The president and Mrs. Obama gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod and the queen, in return, gave the Obama's a framed autographed picture of herself and Prince Philip. Seriously, that's what they gave each other. Seriously.
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We also want to know WHAT SONGS WOULD YOU LOAD ONTO THE QUEEN'S iPOD? CLICK HERE and tell us! Keep it clean! This is a family blog!
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