Obama-mania meets Bollywood spectacle as the Washington press corps is going a little starstruck over Obama’s first State Dinner with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Washington Post and Politico are devoting special sections on their websites to the event and CNN is already on the story. Several outlets are planning live video coverage of the dinner and receiving line.
In a town where a good celebrity citing is Fed chief Ben Bernanke or ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, things get a little out-of-control for the White House press when they find out A.R. Rahman and Jennifer Hudson are going to be serenading guests. There’s even a “who are you wearing” element to the event, with Pulitzer Prize winning fashion writer-turned Obama family reporter Robin Givhan handing out fashion advice for the evening.
The event cries out for a full-length gown; anything less would seem too informal. A bit of cleavage is fine but a dress that requires double-stick tape should be saved for the Grammys.
In addition to the usual political crowd and Indian officials, early press reports say the dinner’s guest list includes actor-turned-political aide Kal Penn, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta (who almost became Surgeon General), and Washington Post’s national editor Rajiv Chandrasekaram and his wife Julie Schlosser of Fortune, and WaPo managing editor Raju Narisetti (Note: if you want to score an invite, have roots in the country whose leader is being dined).
The guestlist also includes Hollywood moguls David Geffen, Steven Spielberg, and Jeffrey Katzenberg as well as super-agent (and brother of the chief-of-staff) Ari Emanuel. Representing the networks as guests at the dinner will be CBS’ Katie Couric, NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Robin Roberts.
Reporters are also tweeting away about the event, with ABC’s Jake Tapper encouraging Sen. Claire McCaskill to tweet the event because it would “be ground-breaking and a quite polite shout-out to the twitterverse.” CBS’s Mark Knoller, on the other hand, tweeted “I don’t mind not being invited to tonight’s State Dinner – since it’s meat loaf night at my house.”
Here is CNN’s report: