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November 29, 2009

Who’s In The House

Obama White House Gate Crashers.jpg

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Why photos of the White House gatecrashers (1, 2, 3, 4) — otherwise, a superficial story lapping up attention in a holiday news vacuum — have impact.

1. Speak to ever-widening gap between “two Americas” and how much the well-connected and so-called “beautiful people” seem to come and go as they please.

2. Are evidence samples how low-brow media is turning America into one big reality show.

3. Visualize terrifying possibility anybody could get this close to the president. (Is “the nose” and the guy “under Tareq’s chin” Secret Service?)

And then, there’s the right-wing spin: With Obama now fully owning the war, the deficit, the economic meltdown and basket-full of other issues he’s put on the agenda, how much does telegenic Prez have a handle on his house?

(10:15 PST – slightly revised)

(photo: Samantha Appleton/White House. White House caption: President Barack Obama greets Michaele and Tareq Salahi during a receiving line in the Blue Room of the White House before the State Dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, Nov. 24, 2009.)

  • eatbees

    …the photo, fair or not, speaks to the question of how much the president really has a handle on his house.
    As blogger Angry Arab has been pointing out, Tariq Salahi is a board member of the American Task Force on Palestine, though he was removed from their website after the embarassment. Angry Arab considers the ATFP a front group for the Israeli agenda in Palestine — he calls it the “Dahlan Task Force for Israel,” a joke you will either appreciate, or not.
    Plus there’s the whole polo connection, and Michaele has crashed alumni parties of the Washington Redskins cheerleaders although she was never a member. Why is it people like this who get to walk in and see the president? It says a lot about cultural assumptions in Washington.
    On the other hand, this isn’t the first time they were in the same frame at a high-society event.
    Since Obama is a self-made man himself, not a born member of the blueblood elite, maybe he has a “friend problem” as the Clintons did back in the day — various social climbers and fraudsters who have attached themselves to him on the way up, hoping to cash in once he reached the top.

  • jean

    Yeah, can ANYBODY walk into one of these deals? With death threats to the President at record levels, I WANT TO KNOW WTH HAPPENED HERE. I do not want to spend ANY time watching caissons and horses and hearing solemn funeral marches, not to mention the rest of it.
    Did that, been there.
    By the way, why is there no ‘post/preview’ function on Mozilla? IE is not my favorite.

  • Wordsmith

    Ease up on the coffee beans, jean. Goodness!
    I’m always in Firefox (Mozilla) and get the ‘post/preview’ buttons. Perhaps it has something to do with how or who you use for ’signing in’ as in TypePad, etc.

  • g

    Well, I’ve worked as an event manager at high profile invitation-only events, and I think the gateway that was breached was at the level of protocol. There’s a point where you have to show you were invited – a registration point where you either show your invitation or your name is verified on a list and noted. They either didn’t present themselves there, or they presented themselves there and managed to get past it. Both possibilities are a problem.
    That said, I don’t think the President was in any danger, because the gatepost these folks breached was the one PRIOR to going through security clearances. They went through all the security checks everyone else did.
    The dangerous possibility here was one of improper protocol – they could have behaved badly, acted weirdly, embarrassed somebody, caused a scene, confronted someone, caused a diplomatic crisis. Those are dangerous enough.
    These two should have been found out at the first check point. The fact that there is an assumption that once someone passes that point, no questions should be asked is disturbing. At the place I recently worked, event staff was always aware of who was talking to the Big Guy – Its surprising no one here did.
    Back in the ’90s when Presidential security was less stringent, I was at a Clinton event where one of the vendors who’d contributed material to the event (a caterer, florist, something, I forget exactly) was invited by the Protocol Officer to join the line for people to have their pictures taken with Clinton. This particular vendor tried to sneak a family member into the line. She and her family member were immediately ejected from the event, despite the fact that they both had tickets to attend as general guests. That’s how much control that particular officer had over his various levels of security.

  • DennisQ

    Michaele has the little girl thing down pat. She knows just how much whine will get the gatekeeper to budge just a teensy bit. I’ve known people like that. It’s amazing what they get away with.
    Notice the fervor with which she greets the president. Nobody could be unmoved by such an adoring gaze. And she doesn’t pose any threat, because she’s just a little girl. She tapes her breasts down like the flappers did in the 1920’s.

  • jtfromBC

    ya just gotta love Michaele’s hand holding style

  • Katherine Hunter

    just to raise superficiality to its heights the young lady’s arms sure cant compare to Mrs. Obama’s !

  • bystander

    I’m intrigued by the level of chummy familiarity on display in each of the four (1, 2, 3, 4) accompanying photographs linked in the discussion above. Couple them with the apparent recognition and warmth (?) between Obama and Michaele, and it would not be unreasonable – from the respective posture, affect, and appearance of each individual – to assume the Salahis were invited guests. These folk didn’t just crash a party, they inserted themselves into the middle of that party. They didn’t hide behind the potted palms, or drift along the fringes to feast, drink, and make merry just below radar. They came to attract attention, and occupy preferred real estate. And, every person captured by the camera with them are the people who made that effort successful. Any number of investigations can be conducted as to how they eluded security, since they didn’t have an invitation, but I personally wonder how it is that between Rahm, Joe, and Barry’s wives the interlopers weren’t fingered.

  • Megan

    You know, I kindof enjoy seeing Pres. Obama meeting someone with equal charisma. The gaze, the handshake, the red, the wattage. I’m all for Obama, but this is the first time I’ve seen him with someone who doesn’t fade by comparison in a while.
    I wonder how Ms. Sahali holds up standing next to Pres. Clinton?

  • Johnson

    Anyone else bored of hearing about this couple? The interesting part is the security breach, not the couple:

  • Molly

    Michael, are you really comparing gate crashers with Obama’s decision on Afghanistan? I understand you are disappointed in the man, but this is a long elastic reach.

  • Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    Molly, I was pointing out the “stretch” as right-wing spin. Personally, I think the noise around the incident is more media distraction than anything else.

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