Socialites crash a White House state dinner; UPDATED: Crashers met Obama face-to-face

Socialites crash a White House state dinner; UPDATED: Crashers met Obama face-to-face

Obama hosted his very first state dinner on Tuesday, and was in for a bit of a surprise. It turns out that a socialite couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, were able to crash the party, cruising right on by the Secret Service guards posted at the entrance.

An aspiring reality-show couple that allegedly attended President Barack Obama’s first state dinner without an invitation were filmed by the Bravo cable network’s camera crews as they prepared for the event.

A Bravo spokeswoman on Thursday said the couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, had told camera crews for Half Yard Productions, which produces the reality television series “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” that they had been invited to the dinner “and the producers had no reason to believe otherwise.”

… She said the producers filmed the couple preparing for the event but didn’t follow them into the White House, where the Obamas were feting visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Ms. Salahi is under consideration as a cast member for “The Real Housewives of D.C.” The Bravo spokeswoman said the cast hasn’t been finalized. She called the incident a “personal matter” and referred additional questions to the couple’s lawyer or publicist.

Neither could be reached for comment Thursday.

A White House official on Thursday said the couple hadn’t been invited to Tuesday’s state dinner, and that an investigation was under way to determine how they made it inside the event.

“Agents at the gates failed to verify that these people were on the list,” the official said.

The Salahis — he in a tuxedo, she in a red-and-gold traditional Indian dress — apparently posed for photos with dignitaries at the party, including Vice President Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, and posted some of the snapshots on Ms. Salahi’s Facebook page.

… Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said an initial review “determined that, at one of the checkpoints, the procedures we have in place weren’t followed.”

Gee, you think?

Apparently, as long as you dress like this, you’re good to sneak into a White House state dinner:


Michaele posted photos and details of the event all over Facebook, shamelessly claiming that they were invited.

I was honored to be invited to attend the First State Dinner hosted by President Obama & the First Lady to honor India. In June 2010, the America’s Polo Cup will be between INDIA & the UNITED STATES. Please join me in this cultural celebration of politics, diplomacy, fashion, sports, entertainment & family fun.

She also posted scores of pictures — pictures of her with Marines, cuddling up to Joe Biden, posing with Indian Prime Minister Singh, with Katie Couric, and even Rahm Emanuel.






It’s difficult to imagine a couple more brazen or shameless. This woman was confident enough to waltz right on into the White House, yet stupid enough to post the pictures all over her Facebook. The sad — and worrying — thing is, if she hadn’t posted those pictures, the Secret Service probably never would have found out.

And it of course turns out that the couple is trying to break into reality TV. This gives them the notoriety to do just that, doesn’t it? It unfortunately also embarasses the Secret Service, Obama, and pretty much the entire White House. It was Obama’s first state dinner, and how will people remember it? They’ll remember that two famewhore socialites snuck in and that his security allowed it to happen. This, for once, is not Obama’s fault, but he’s the one embarassed by it inevitably. I wonder how long it will take him to blame this on President Bush, though.

What is scary is how easily they were able to get in. Imagine if these had been two terrorists. What if they had been bent on assassinating Obama? What if they wanted to plant a bomb? They would have been able to and no one would have been able to stop them, because security just let them through. Clearly, this little prank is much more than just a simple case of a couple crashing a party — it shows that there is a huge problem with Obama’s security around the White House.

UPDATE: It turns out that the couple even met Obama face-to-face, and there’s photographic proof to prove it:


Obama has ordered a full review of how this breach was possible. Funny — when it’s Obama in the crosshairs, he’s suddenly demanding a full investigation. Yet, when Congress and the Army wanted to investigate Maj. Hasan and the Fort Hood shootings, he was all ready to shut that one down real quick.

Infiltrating a White House party chockful of celebrities, journalists, and diplomats? Needs a full investigation immediately. Shooting up an Army base and killing over fourteen? Let’s leave that one alone.

Nice priorities, Obama.

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Ava Gardner