Reality Sets in for White House Party Crashers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed the White House.

    Did you flee town just before the sh*t hit the fan with the White House party crashers?

    Sure, maybe you were happier that way, but c'mon, you know you want to know more. 

    As you may have heard by now, it all started on Tuesday, Nov. 24, when Michaele and Tareq Salahi, a couple of aspiring reality-TV stars from northern Virginia, went to the White House's State Dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India.  

    The "Real" Party Crashers of DC

    [DC] The "Real" Party Crashers of DC
    Michaele and Tareq Salahi are known around the world for getting into last week's White House state dinner uninvited, but it wasn't their first controversy.

    The event was billed as D.C.'s Hottest Ticket and the Salahis' presence might've been par for the course for the polo-playing socialites -- except for the pesky little fact that they weren't on the guest list. 

    And how proud they were! Michaele Salahi posted photos from their escapade on Facebook the very next morning. With one minor error: Michaele said she "was honored to be invited to attend the First State Dinner hosted by President Obama & the First Lady."

    Soon, the Washington Post's Reliable Source broke the story and all the news outlets came running.

    The story started out with questions about how the Salahis got in and whether it was a major security breach, especially since President Barack Obama has been on the receiving end of the most death threats of any U.S. president.

    At first, the Post's Roxanne Roberts told CNN, the White House had no explanation, other to say that "these people did in fact get through."

    What happened was the couple got through a Secret Service checkpoint where agents didn't confirm if the Salahis were on the guest list. After going through the magnetometers and other levels of screenings, they showed up about halfway through the guest arrivals, a Marine announced their names and off they went, making sure to get their picture snapped several times along the way.  

    But the Salahis didn't stay for dinner. By 9 p.m., just as guests were getting seated, they were gone.

    Once the story got out, it wasn't long before the U.S. Secret Service was telling all how "deeply concerned and embarrassed" they were by the circumstances surrounding the state dinner and, at the same time, trying to track the couple down. As reported by the Warren County Report's Dan McDermott, agents went in search of the Salahis at the Oasis Winery on Friday to question the couple about their uninvited appearance.

    The Salahis, meanwhile, remained mysteriously absent from their Linden, Va., home and seem to not even be in the D.C. area. They have managed instead to only talk through their lawyer. (If the USSS were looking for you, wouldn't you be on the lam, too?)

    That hasn't stopped the publicity machine from churning, though, or reporters from digging into the couple's past.

    Seems the Salahis are personas non grata at the Oasis Winery: "In Feb. 2008, the courts removed them from any affiliation" with the winery, its tasting room manager told the Warren County Report.

    They're also heavily in debt and have been involved in a vicious lawsuit with Tareq's parents over the family winery in which Tareq is accused of running the business into the ground with his profligate spending, according to the New York Post and other media outlets.

    In her bid to land a a slot on the reality show "Real Housewives of D.C.," Michaele Salahi has also tried to pass herself off as a former "supermodel" and ex-Washington Redskins cheerleader, which hasn't gone over well with the real Redskins cheerleaders. She asserts she was a Redskins cheerleader in the '90s, but the team has no record of that. TMZ obtained a 2005 photo apparently showing her posing as a cheerleader at FedEx Field with other members of the cheerleading squad.

    She's also been accused of red-carpetizing her name from Michelle Ann Holt Salahi to Michaele Salahi.

    For her wedding, Mrs. Salahi allegedly ran up a tab of thousands of dollars having her hair and makeup done at the Erwin Gomez Salon, an exclusive establishment in Georgetown where she was also done up for Tuesday's state dinner as a camera crew from Bravo recorded the preparations, according to the New York Times. That visit was also put on the Salahis' tab.

    Over the weekend, the alleged White House party crashers were reported to be seeking big bucks for a TV interview, according to the AP and the The New York Times -- which their rep now denies. CNN, meanwhile, confirmed the couple had cancelled an  appearance on "Larry King Live."

    Two senators who appeared on Fox News Sunday said authorities ought to pursue criminal charges against the Virginia couple. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) also said that such behavior should be strongly discouraged, with Bayh adding it's no laughing matter, WTOP reported.

    A member of the House panel that oversees the Secret Service agrees.

    Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told NBC's "Today" show on Monday that a full investigation is necessary "to find out exactly what the Secret Service is doing to make sure this never happens again."

    Some, like the Huffington Post's Michael Russnow, wonder whether the Salahis should be boiled in oil. Others say the joke's on us.

    Or, is it like Russnow concludes: much ado about not nearly as much as the media's been screaming about?