Black tie at the White House

Friday 7 July 2006This is more than 17 years old. Be careful.

I know this seems really unlikely, but I will be attending a black-tie dinner at the White House on Monday night. Yes, the White House.

It all still seems a bit unreal, but here’s what we know so far. The President and Mrs. Bush are honoring Maria Shriver and Special Olympics with a formal dinner. My wife Susan is on the guest list, at the suggestion of Special Olympics, probably because of her series of op-ed pieces in the Washington Post, most recently A Golden Moment with Nat, published a few weeks ago. She has corresponded with Tim Shriver about these pieces in the past, so he probably put us on the list.

Susan was checking our home voicemail from the Cape on Monday, one of those “Oh, there won’t be anything there, but I might as well check” calls, when she heard the voicemail from a social director at the White House!

So she has bought a gown, and I am renting a tux, and we will be extending our vacation by a few days to fly to DC and report at the White House Monday night. We don’t know who will be there, other than the President, Mrs. Bush, and Maria. Maybe Arnold? Maybe Ted? There are many many unknowns.

We checked out some questions with the social director. Can Susan give Mrs. Bush a copy of her book? Yes, but you give it to the Secret Service, and they eventually give it to her. Can we bring a camera to the event? Yes, but you can’t take photos of the President or the entertainment, and you have to be discreet. Does Atkins count as a dietary restriction? No, dear, but you’ll love the food.

As anyone who has followed my politics on this blog must know, it is too bad I’m not more of a fan of the President. Of course I won’t do anything unseemly, but it would be an easier visit if I liked the guy. I’ve thought about sending a pro-Bush friend in my place!

And in the back of our minds is the sinister possibility that the entire thing is an elaborate hoax. It’s an outlandish theory, but in a way more plausible than actually being invited to the White House.

It’ll be an experience and a half. More to come...

Update: it happened!


If Ashton Kutcher jumps out of a van as you stand at the White House gate, you'll know you've been Punk'd!
Enjoy it - it'll be one of the stories you'll forget that you've told your grandkids a thousand times when you're old and senile. I figure, the more of those you have, the less frequently you'll be annoying and repetitive.

And that's the general you, not *you* in particular, btw. Stupid language.
I can think of a pro-bush friend of ours who would love to go. He even lives in Bush-sibling-country now. Now *that* would be story ;-) This is so exciting. Can't wait to read all about it! And of course, you'll be creating a Tabblo of whatever pictures you're allowed to take.
Does Andrew have a tux?
Lucky! See, I guess you have an excuse, you live in Mass. which is like living in another country -- afterall, ya'll keep re-electing Ted over and over again. Must be in the water or something...

Anyway, if you have nothing else to think or say... just know that there are some right-leaning... W. likin' folks out there (that actually read your blog) that will be attempting to vicariously live out a dream through your good fortune.
I remember getting invited to the While House for dinner...

Oh wait, that was White Castle.

Enjoy! Take plenty of pictures.
View it as the President honoring Special Olympics - and forget who the particular president is. I would expect that any President would do the same - honor a worthy cause and not worry about the politics of the people invited, either.

After all, my wife played in a Christmas concert in the White House during the Clinton administration, and it's still special, even if it was Clinton, who she detests.
I wonder how deep of a background check the Secret Service does on people invited to dinner at the White House? Is someone from the Secret Service reading this thread? We live in interesting times and you're travelling in interesting circles Ned.
I meant to mention it in the post: when we RSVP'd, we had to provide our full legal names and social security numbers. Not sure how deep they'll check things out...
Sylvain Galineau 3:04 PM on 8 Jul 2006
Andrew could probably still come along. With the right suit he'd probably pass for a Secret Service agent.

Enjoy the adventure.
About time... enjoy!
I got the full debrief the next day. Whatta night! I think that I might live vicariously though you for a while.

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