Fewer marquee names at fourth Obama state dinner

More than 200 guests have begun filing into the White House for a state dinner honoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a night when German heritage trumped Hollywood glitz, compared with other Obama administration soirees.

The guest list, provided by the White House, is dominated by administration and government officials from Washington and Berlin.

More than half a dozen members of Congress also scored invitations, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), an ambassador to Germany under then-President George W. Bush, also is attending. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will represent the judicial branch.


Among the local and regional elected officials attending are Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

Corzine recently hosted a fundraiser for President Obama in New York. Obama campaign donors are well-represented at this fourth White House state dinner of his administration.

Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Leo Apotheker, Choice Hotels Chairman Stewart Bainum and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt are among the corporate titans attending. James P. Hoffa, leader of the Teamsters union, represents organized labor.

From the Fourth Estate, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib and David Leonhardt of the New York Times also scored a coveted invitation.

Musician James Taylor is on the guest list, and will also be providing some of the evening’s entertainment.

Guests will dine on a menu that includes Hawaiian tuna, Maryland crab ravioli and apple strudel.