Opinion: Party time again: Michelle Obama explains the Angela Merkel state dinner for you guys without invites


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Another big night in the Barack Obama White House today, planned as another Salahi-free state dinner. This one is for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Obama hasn’t seen since their big meeting in France two weeks ago.

This is the fourth of these big to-do’s, the most recent one being for China’s President Hu. It’ll be in the Rose Garden at the first lady’s suggestion. In Washington culture, invites to these things are much coveted in a bipartisan way -- and used as rewards or persuasive invitations to become more helpful, politically speaking, to the big guy in the round office. Who knows, there are certainly donors in here too.

Two-hundred-and-twenty elites will partake in the grand soiree. Scroll down for Michelle Obama’s own take on what the evening holds. And scroll even further to see all the guests who did make the cut (Lots of Honourable This and That, but also columnist E.J. Dionne, Diane Sawyer, Susan Eisenhower, James Hoffa and Chief Justice John Roberts).


While the political royalty dines outside the White House this evening, a gaggle of Republicans will be arguing up in New Hampshire, as the Democratic debate competition opens to become the host of future state dinners after Jan. 20, 2013.

The eat-less admonitions of the first lady go out the bulletproof windows at....

...home again tonight: It’s a four-course deal kicking off with a salad sprinkled with honey gastrique from the White House’s own beehives (Who knew President Obama had his own beehives even?).

The main course involves petite filet with crab ravioli and then Hawaiian tuna tartare and spring pea salad, pickled carrots (young) and shaved ham. Dessert will be apple strudel because the German leader doesn’t get enough of that at home.

The tablecloths are sequined, of course. The gold-rimmed china is old stuff left over from the failed eight years of you-know-who from Texas. The National Symphony Orchestra will provide beautiful music. Fifteen-year-old George Li will play the piano (no pressure there). Also performing will be James Taylor, who is not 15.

Judging by the volume of arrayed glassware, there will also be ample liquids to wash everything down.


The Hu State Dinner: Who made that guest list cut


-- Andrew Malcolm

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Michelle Obama’s remarks at state dinner preview, as provided by the White House

MRS. OBAMA: Well, you all look lovely. How are you? Good afternoon and welcome to the White House. You know, this is a special day. We’re hosting another state visit.

And one of the things that we really love to do when we have state visits is to invite you guys in so....

.... that you have a better sense of what happens in this place, because we always give the press a preview, right? They want to know what we’re serving and what the tables are going to look like. And these are -- this is what the tables are going to look like, so everybody take a look.

But we also like to use it as an opportunity to educate you guys and give you a chance to be in on what’s going to happen tonight, right? You guys live in Washington. You live in the Washington, D.C. area. People -- you read about these state visits. But how often is it that you get a chance to get a little piece of it, right?


So that’s why all of the staff, everyone that works on the state dinners -- this is really one of the best parts of the dinner, is inviting you guys in and letting you get a little peek.

But let me just tell you about this visit. The President is hosting the leader of Germany, Chancellor Merkel, and this is an official visit, so it’s something a little bit different from when a world leader just comes by and comes by the Oval Office. I mean, this is when we roll out the red carpet because we have a special relationship with the visiting country.

And tonight is special because the President and I, in addition to hosting the Chancellor and her husband -- the President is going to give the Chancellor the Medal of Freedom, which is the higher honor that any civilian can receive from the President of the United States. So that’s pretty cool. She’s really excited about that.

And very few people from outside of our country have ever received this honor. Usually it’s for people here in this country. But that’s a testament to Chancellor Merkel’s extraordinary life, and it’s one of great service not just to her country but to the rest of the world.

She grew up under Communist rule in East Germany, back when Berlin was divided by the wall. And when the wall came down and her country reunited, she dedicated herself to public service.

And she has been a leader in Germany’s democracy more than ten [two] decades, so her career spans, well, time longer than most of you have been alive. And six years ago, she became the first East German and the first woman to serve as Germany’s Chancellor.


And her life reminds us of the opportunity that women have to lead our governments and to strengthen our world. I mean, you look at someone as powerful and influential and as dedicated as Chancellor Merkel, and you’re reminded that women are amazing and they play a critical role in strengthening ties around the world.

And it’s not just women like Chancellor Merkel in other countries. We have some of our own powerhouses right here in the United States, people like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. They are working very hard in this country to foster ties with governments all around the world.

So I want you all to know that no matter where you come from, or what you look like, or how much money your family may have, you can have a real impact on the world. And that’s a message that we try to tell young people all across the world.

And I’m going to be traveling to Africa soon, spending time in South Africa and Botswana, working with young leaders and women leaders and delivering some of the same messages. And we’re going to figure out ways for young girls like you all to be a part of that trip, as well.

But for now it’s time for me to turn it over to our special guest, Brooke Anderson, who’s the Chief of Staff for the National Security Staff here at the White House. And Brooke is going to give you a few more of the details about the official visit.

She is a great role model for all that young women can be, and a reminder of what you can do when you work hard at anything. And she loves doing this stuff, as well. We’re always grateful to have her on board. So I’m going to turn it over to Brooke. And then we’ll get to try a little dessert and talk a little bit more amongst ourselves after these guys leave, okay?

So with that, I’ll turn it over to Brooke -- and come and sit down. I’m sitting over here. Brooke, come on. Thank you so much. ####


Expected State Dinner attendees:

Her Excellency Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Professor Dr. Joachim Sauer

Ms. Naomi Aberly, Dallas, TX Mr. Larry Lebowitz; Mr. Jeremy Alters, Hallandale Beach, FL; Ms. Lina Guerrero, Miami, FL; Mr. Leo Apotheker, Palo Alto, CA; The Honorable Jorg Asmussen, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Washington, DC; Mr. Mark Ayers, Alexandria, VA, Mrs. Deborah Ayers.

Mr. Stewart W Bainum, Chevy Chase, MD, Mrs. Sandra Bainum; The Honorable Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, Mrs. Kris Barrett; The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice President of the United States, Jill Biden; Mr. David Billings, Washington, DC, Mrs. Rebecca Goodhart; Mr. Stephen Bittel, Miami Beach, FL, Mrs. Sabine Bittel, Coconut Grove, FL; The Honorable Antony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, Office of the Vice President, Washington, DC.

Ms. Sara Bloomfield, Washington, DC; Professor Dr. Wolfgang Bohmer, Former Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt; Mr. Volker Bouffier, Minister-President of Hessen; Mr. Ulrich Braess, Washington, DC,
Mrs. Dorothea Braess; The Honorable John Brennan, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, National Security Council, Washington, DC, Mrs. Katherine Brennan; Mr. Robert E Buccini, Wilmington, DE, Mrs. Elizabeth Buccini.

The Honorable William Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC; General James E Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Fort Myer, VA; Mr. Robert Clark, St. Louis, MO, Ms. Raschelle Burton; The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC; The Honorable Daniel Coats, United States Senator,
Mrs. Marsha Coats, Spouse of United States Senator; Mr. John Cooney, Chicago, IL, Mrs. Barbara Cooney.

The Honorable Tom Corbett, Governor of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA; The Honorable Jon Corzine, Former Governor of New Jersey, Mrs. Sharon Corzine; Ms. Sevim Dagdelen, Member of the Federal Parliament, The Left, Washington, DC; The Honorable William Daley, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, Washington, DC, Ms. Bernadette Keller; H.E. Dr. Thomas de Maiziere, Federal Minister of Defense; General Martin Dempsey, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Fort Myers, VA, Mrs. Deanie Dempsey.

Mr. Kai Diekmann, Editor in Chief Bild/Bild am Sonntag; Mr. E.J. Dionne, Bethesda, MD, Ms. Mary Boyle; The Honorable Thomas Donilon, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, NSC, Washington, DC, Ms. Cathy Russell, Chief of Staff to Jill Biden; Mr. Kirk Dornbush, Atlanta, GA, Mrs. Barb Dornbush; Mr. William Drozdiak, New York, NY, Ms. Natalia Drozdiak, Bridgehampton, NY; Mr. David Duffy, North Kingstown, RI, Mrs. Heidi Duffy.

Mrs. Leni Eccles, Belvedere, CA, Ms. Norma Douglas, Sun Valley, ID; Ms. Susan Eisenhower, Washington, DC, Mr. Bucky Clarkson, Jacksonville, FL; Mr. Christoph Eschenbach, Washington, DC, Ms. Jeanette Weaver Ruesch, Chevy Chase, MD; Mr. Richard Fante, AstraZeneca, Newtown Square, PA, Mrs. Janine Fante; Dr. Daniel E Fass, Klapper and Fass, Scarsdale, NY, Mrs. Jessica Fass, Riverside, CT; Mr. Otto Fricke, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU/CSU.

H.E. Dr Hans-Peter Friedrich, Federal Minister of the Interior; Mrs. Carol Fulp, Oak Bluffs, MA
Mr. Bernie Fulp, Boston, MA; Mr. Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA, Ms. Amy Wakeland; The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC, Mrs. Carole Geithner, Spouse of The Honorable Timothy Geithner; Mr. Robert J Gillette, Tempe, AZ, Ms. Lisa Bunch, Phoenix, AZ; The Honorable Austan Goolsbee, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors, Washington, DC, Mrs. Robin Goolsbee; The Honorable Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, Mrs. Rachel Gordon.

Mr. Thomas Gottschalk, Master of Ceremonies of TV Show; Dr. Emily Haber, Political Director of the Federal Foreign Office; Mr. Robert D Hansen, Midland, MI, Mrs. Kathleen L Hansen; Mr. Thomas Hesse, New York, NY, Ms. Gwendolyn Bellmann; Dr. Christoph R Heusgen, Advisor to the Chancellor, Washington, DC; Mr. Bruce Heyman, Chicago, IL, Mrs. Vicki Heyman; Mr. Doug T Hickey, San Francisco, CA, Ms. Dawn Ross; Mr. James Hoffa, Washington, DC, Ms. Meaghan Wolff.

Ms. Kate Hughes, Princeton, NJ, Mr. Robert J Del Tufo; Mr. Helmut Jahn, Chicago, IL, Mrs. Deborah L Jahn; The Honorable Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, Washington, DC;
Professor Dr. Hans-Peter Keitel, President, Federation of German Industry; Mr. Craig Kennedy, Washington, DC, Ms. Karen Guberman; Ms. Lena Kennedy, Pasadena, CA, Ms. Teena Hostovich, La Canada, CA; Mrs. Katja Keul, Member of Parliament, Alliance 90/The Greens; Mr. Klaus Kleinfeld, Port Chester, NY, Mrs. Birgit Kleinfeld; Mrs. Freya Klier, Author; Mr. Jurgen Klinsmann, German Football Manager and Former Player; The Honorable Amy Klobuchar, United States Senator, Mr. John Bessler, United States Senate Spouse;

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Klose, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU/CSU; Mr. Stefan Kornelius, Washington, DC; Dr. Bernhard Kotsch, Deputy Head of the Chancellor’s Office; Mr. David Leonhardt, Bethesda, MD
Mrs. Laura Leonhardt; Mr. Daniel Libeskind, New York, NY, Ms. Nina Lewis-Libeskind; Mr. Bryan Lourd, Beverly Hills, CA, Mr. Bruce Bozzi, Los Angleles, CA; The Honorable Nita Lowey, United States Representative, Mr. Stephen Lowey, United States Representative Spouse; Mr. Noah Mamet, Marina Del Rey, CA, Ms. Jennifer P Lindberg, Los Angeles, CA;

The Honorable Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC;
Ms. Marissa Mayer, San Francisco, CA, Mr. Zachary Bogue; The Honorable Mitch McConnell, United States Senator, Republican Leader, The Honorable Ms. Elaine L. Chao, Spouse of United States Senator; Mr. Robert A McDonald, Cincinnati, OH, Mrs. Diane McDonald; The Honorable Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, NSC, Washington, DC,
Mrs. Karin McDonough; The Honorable Gregory W. Meeks, United States Representative, Mrs. Simone-Marie Meeks, Spouse of United States Representative; Ms. Darlene M Miller, Burnsville, MN,
Ms. Terry Lee Strout, Minneapolis, MN;

The Honorable Karen Mills, Administrator, Small Business Administration, Washington, DC; The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, Edgewater, MD, Mrs. Deni D. Mineta; Ms. Elizabeth Mohn, Washington, DC, Mr. Markus Dohle; Mr. Andreas Muhe, Photographer; Mr. Stefan Muller, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU/CSU; The Honorable Philip Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, State Department, Washington, DC, Mrs. Tammy Murphy; The Honorable Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Department of State, Washington, DC, Ms. Virginia Moseley;

The Honorable Samuel Nunn, Washington, DC, Mrs. Colleen Nunn, Atlanta, GA; Mr. Samuel Palmisano, Armonk, NY; The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, United States Representative, Democratic Leader,
Mr. Paul Pelosi, Spouse of United States Representative; Mr. Antonio M Perez, Rochester, NY,
Mrs. Lori Perez, Pittsford, NY; The Honorable David Plouffe, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, Washington, DC, Ms. Olivia Morgan; Mr. Douglas Rediker, Washington, DC; The Honorable Bruce Reed, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President, Washington, DC,
Ms. Bonnie LePard;

The Honorable Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, New York, NY, Mr. Ian Cameron; The Honorable John G. Roberts, The Chief Justice of the United States, Mrs. Jane Roberts;
Mr. James Rogers, Charlotte, NC, Mrs. Mary Anne Rogers; Dr. Irene B Rosenfeld, Northfield, IL, Mr. Richard Illgen, Kenilworth, IL; H.E. Dr Philipp Rosler, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology;
Ms. Diane Sawyer, New York, NY; His Excellency Dr. Klaus Scharioth, Germany’s Ambassador to the United States, Washington, DC, Mrs. Ulrike Scharioth;

H.E. Dr. Wolfgang Schauble, Federal Minister of Finance; Mr. Eric Schmidt, Mountain View, CA;
Mr. Olaf Scholz, First Mayor of Hamburg; Mr. Jurgen Schulz, Head of Division, Federal Chancellery;
Mr. Jon Schumacher, Saint Paul, MN, Ms. Mary J Briggs; Mr. Jerry Seib, Chevy Chase, MD, Ms. Barbara Rosewicz; The Honorable Steffen Seibert, State Secretary, Spokesman of the Federal Government; The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator, Mr. William Shaheen, Spouse of United States Senator; Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs, NSC, Washington, DC, Dr. Jeffrey Randall;

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, Mrs. Patty Shinseki, Spouse of The Honorable Eric Shinseki; The Honorable Jim Steinberg, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, Ms. Sherburne B. Abbott; The Honorable Ellen Tauscher, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, Mr. James Cieslak; Mr. James Taylor, Burbank, CA, Mrs. Caroline Taylor; The Honorable Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady, Washington, DC; Dr. Steven L Ullestad, Northeastern Iowa Synod, Cedar Falls, IA, Mrs. Ruth Ullestad;

Mr. Bernd Ulrich, Deputy Editor in Chief of Weekly Newspaper Die Zeit; Mr. Arnold Vaatz, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU/CSU; The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC; The Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz, United States Representative
Mr. Steven Schultz, Spouse of United States Representative; Mr. Perry Weitz, Huntington Bay, NY,
Mrs. Felicia Weitz; H.E. Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs. ####