TPM News

November 24: The President and First Lady await the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, before the first state dinner in the Obama White House. President Obama hosts his first state dinner at the White House for Indian Prime Minister Singh. Earlier in the day, Obama said, "This visit reflects the high esteem in which I and the American people hold your wise leadership. It reflects the abiding bonds of respect and friendship between our people, including our friends in the Indian American community who join us here today."

Newscom/Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Prime Minister Singh arrives at the White House.

Newscom/Gary Fabiano/Sipa Press

the Obamas greet the Prime Minister and Mrs. Kaur. Michelle Obama wears a dress designed by Indian-born designer Naeem Khan, who told Larry King that it took three weeks and 40 people to complete the dress. Khan said he wanted to dress the First Lady in something "Indian, chic, simple but very glamorous."

Newscom/UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

The Obamas pose for pictures with their Indian guests.

Newscom/ Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

Attorney General Eric Holder was among the attendees at the dinner. Also on the guest list were director Steven Spielberg, journalist Fareed Zakaria and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.


Hours before the dinner, reporters are offered a sneak peek of a sample table setting Michelle Obama hired award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson to help the White House executive chef prepare the vegetarian meal.

Newscom/Zhang Yan

The dinner is held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. In his toast, President Obama explained that the setting is meant to evoke images of India where events are "often celebrated under the cover of a beautiful tent."

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

A Marine Corps band plays before the arrival of the President and Prime Minister.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

Some of the event's 338 invited guests.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

Guests watch award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, who headlined the post-dinner entertainment for the event.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

Marvin Hamlisch conducts the National Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra kicked off with a performance of "Summon the Heroes" by composer John Williams.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

Singh listens to the National Symphony Orchestra.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

President Obama toasts the guest of honor.

Newscom/Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa Press

One day after President Obama announces his decision on a troop surge to Afghanistan, his top Cabinet members will testify on Capitol Hill about the plan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

They have been present in most of the nine meetings Obama has held with his War Council as he considered his options on whether to send more troops to the region at the recommendation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

As we reported earlier, Obama will address the nation Tuesday night from West Point Military Academy.

Rush Limbaugh may have crossed another line today in his anti-Obama rhetoric -- openly joking (at least, we hope he's joking) about a military coup.

Limbaugh noted that President Obama will be delivering his upcoming speech on Afghanistan, from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

"My question is: Will they detain him?" said Limbaugh. "Hopefully."

FCC Chairman Jules Genachowski has been a frequent White House visitor, both before and after getting the job.

His first meeting on Feb. 18, according to the White House visitors logs released today, was several weeks before he was nominated for the job.

He came again Feb. 24 to meet with Pete Rouse.

The day before President Obama nominated him, Genachowski met with both David Axelrod and Valerie Jarret, presidential advisers. He was nominated March 3.

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Last month, the White House was accused of launching "a frontal assault against free enterprise and the Chamber of Commerce," by an executive of the business lobby.

It's true that the White house signaled its intention to play hardball with the Chamber. But it's not like the group has been shut out from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since Obama took office.

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A group of Democratic talking heads gathered at the White House March 13 for a meeting with Ellen Moran and David Axelrod.

The White House visitors logs released today show Axelrod, President Obama's senior adviser, met that day for about two hours in the West Wing with 18 people. Among them were Chris Kofinis, Karen Finney, Margaret Omero, Margaret Myers, Steve McMahon, Peter Fenn, Michael Feldman, Jennifer Palmeri, Hillary Rosen, Simon Rosenberg, Brad Woodhouse (of the DNC) and Mo Elleithee.

It was called a "communications message meeting" on the spreadsheet.

A source who attended the meeting tells TPMDC the White House hosts weekly message calls sharing their talking points with pundits who appear on television. The meetings are sometimes hosted in person at the White House. The March meeting actually was called and led by Moran, then communications director. She has since departed the White House.

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New visitors logs released by the White House today seem to confirm that Colin Powell has been among those President Obama has consulted with while drafting a new strategy for Afghanistan.

The logs don't include any details of the meeting, other than the fact that it was between the two men alone. That makes it one of less than a dozen total one-on-one meetings with Obama included in today's list.

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