Monday, February 23, 2009

Pics: President Obama & 1st Lady
Host First Black-Tie Dinner at White House
(Also WHITE HOUSE Report)

The President and First Lady welcomed the National Governors Association to the White House on Sunday for the 2009 Governors’ Dinner. “The White House is the place where our bond as Americans is strengthened,” said Desiree Rogers, White House Social Secretary. “We look forward to welcoming the nation’s governors to celebrate our democratic ideals, our diversity, our shared values and the best of the American spirit.”

WHITE HOUSE Press Pool report:
One quick additional detail elaborating on the first report -- POTUS's
tie was a bowtie, not a necktie as he's worn for some formal events.

From the way the East Room was set up for the musical portion of the
dinner with the governors, it seemed like the White House intended
their guests to dance, not talk politics. The six tables in the room
were already filled by staff and other non-gubernatorial types before
the dinner guests walked down the main hall for the musical
entertainment -- leaving the governors and their spouses nowhere to go
except onto the dance floor. POTUS and FLOTUS led the short walk from
one end of the building to the other, with the governors trailing.
POTUS waved at your pool, called out, "Hey guys," and immediately
started mingling with the guests in the room. It wasn't immediately
clear who all of them were, but they hadn't been in the dinner; Phil
Schiliro, the head of the White House legislative affairs department,
was chatting with FLOTUS at one point.

POTUS made no remarks, at least not while your pool was in the room. A
small combo from the Marine Corps Band played a 10-minute set -- a
cover of "Down at the Twist and Shout," by former D.C. local music
standout Mary Chapin Carpenter; a medley of ragtime-sounding
George Gershwin tunes; and a cover of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the
U.S.A." The band had two acoustic guitars, a fiddle and an acoustic
bass. Throughout the set, POTUS and FLOTUS mingled separately, and
when the music stopped, POTUS walked up onto the stage to greet each
musician individually. Very few governors seemed to be dancing to the
Marine's set.

That looked like it might be about to change, though, by the time
Earth, Wind & Fire took the stage, about five minutes later. The band
opened its set with "Boogie Wonderland," which had various elected
nodding their heads. The band was lively; a percussionist
waved his drumsticks at the crowd, trying to get them dancing. POTUS
and FLOTUS were at the front of the crowd on the dance floor, smiling
and talking with guests. Your pool was ushered out of the room after
about three minutes, and with the TV cameras gone, the lights were
lowered. As we walked through the crowd and out the front door, Earth,
Wind & Fire was starting to play "September