Everything went off without a hitch for the president and first lady at their second state dinner Wednesday night. The Obamas welcomed Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala as their guests of honor.
The event was also a coming-out party of sorts for new Social Secretary Juliana Smoot. Her goal was to prevent a repeat of last November's debacle, when media-hungry Tareq and Michaele Salahi allegedly crashed the party without invitations.
Tonight staffers were posted alongside Secret Service agents, just in case any guest list issues arose.
Among the hundreds that lined up to get in, at least one woman was turned away. Kathryn Mudge said her husband, Arturo Valenzuela, an assistant secretary of state, was supposed to bring her ID. Their night wasn't ruined. An hour later, the couple returned and got in without question.
Goldberg said this was like "coming home after a drought." She told photographers she frequented the White House during the Clinton years but avoided it during the Bush era.
President Barack Obama launched the night with a toast of partnership between the U.S. and Mexico filled with "partnership and respect."
During his toast, President Calderon congratulated the American people for "having a president like Barack Obama." He went on to congratulate the president for "having a wife and first lady like Michelle Obama."
After dinner, the party moved to the South Lawn, where Grammy Award-winning singer Beyonce and Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriele performed.
And now some notes from the state dinner arrivals from the White House press pool:
- Most chatty: Ray LaHood, who couldn't remember how many state dinners he's been to and kept looking at his wife for assistance. How was security Mr. Secretary? "We came in on the west side so we didn't come in the way, uh, other people came in."
- Most interesting date: Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Oprah BFF Gayle King. Are they dating? "We're really good friends."
- Most aww shucks moment: Olympian Shani Davis took his coach, Jae Su Chun. (Davis also won the prize for most economical: His tux, mint-colored tie and cummerbund came from...wait for it...Mens Wearhouse.)
- Most political: Eva Longoria Parker talked about immigration. "The main message he can give is that he opposes (the new Arizona law) and that came through today."
- Best entrance: Larry Summers who walked in the wrong way. Less than five minutes later, after a marine announced his arrival, he sheepishly walked by the photographers again -- this time headed in the right direction.
- Best/oddest accessory: A toss-up between Rep. Xavier Becerra, who wore his Congressional pin on his tux lapel and Mark Sanchez and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who sported matching New York Jets pins.
- Color of the night: Orange. Gayle King and Eva Longoria both sported one shoulder toga style orange gowns.
- Best multi-tasker: Tim Kaine who appeared at the White House at 5:48 and then sent out a press release at 6:18 blasting Senate Republicans for "obstructing Wall Street reform."
- Best quote of the evening: Whoopi Goldberg (who sported a Ralph Rucci gown) saying that she has missed being at the White House. "It's like coming home after a long drought." She said she hadn't been invited the past eight years.
- Best wink-wink line: Comedian George Lopez: "I'm sitting with the president. They didn't tell me which country."
- Best solo performance: Carole Geithner arriving sans her hubby.