Source Pravda.Ru

Obama's State Dinner: Top Republicans Find Themselves among Non-Attendees

Tuesday President Obama welcomed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his administration's first state dinner. An invitation to a state dinner is the most coveted invitation in Washington.

Traditionally, a new administration's first invitation goes to the president of neighboring Canada or Mexico.

Every unit in the White House weighs in on the dinner's guest list, said Lisa Caputo, a press secretary for Hillary Clinton when she was first lady.

Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg are reportedly on the invite list. A guest list is expected to be released on Tuesday, CNN reports.

While the White House is mum about who will be among the 300 or so lucky invitees to President Obama's first state dinner Tuesday night, word is already leaking out about who's not on the A-list.

Chief among the non-attendees: top Republican lawmakers.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner won't be there; he's on Thanksgiving break and home in Ohio. His deputy, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, also didn't get an invitation to the dinner.

The president didn't invite his 2008 rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, even though Obama the candidate pledged a post-partisan presidency.

Most senators will be back in their home states during the holiday break, and few Republicans want to return to Washington for a party packed with Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell received an invitation but decided to skip the dinner, FOXNews reports.

News agencies report, the first lady will choose the flowers, the tablecloths and the china to be used that night.

She will be presented with the completed centerpieces and place settings to pick from.

Do people take the china or the silverware as a memento?

"It's very sad. Unfortunately, it does happen and it's really upsetting because they are part of the White House history," said Zantzinger.

Coordinating the wardrobe is so important, aides talk ahead of time to make sure the dresses don't clash.

"The personal aides will sort of communicate and it's really more so that they don't duplicate, for them both not to be wearing the same color," said Zantzinger, NBC2 News reports.

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