The President and First Lady played hosts to British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, at their fourth state dinner since moving into the White House. The star-studded gala featured celebrity musical performances, hobnobbing elites, a lot of compliments and back slapping, and of course, the cast of Downton Abbey. What could be more British (while also being very American?) Below are some of the highlights:
The theme: "America's Backyard," which we suppose is appropriate since the dinner was literally held on the White House lawn, under an ornately decorated tent.
The menu: Crisped hake, bison Wellington and lemon pudding with huckleberry sauce. Yummy, though we have preferred Cornish pasties.
The guests: There were 362 invited guest in all. Among the celebrity (non-political edition) attendees were Warren Buffett, Anna Wintour, George Clooney (who got to sit at the head table, next to the First Lady), Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba, North Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy, singer John Legend (who performed), his girlfriend and model Chrissy Teigen, Harvey Weinstein, Downton Abbey stars Huge Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, Richard Branson, Homeland's Damian Lewis, Apple design guru Jony Ive, and Carey Mulligan, who was the date of Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Suns (who also performed.) There were also Cabinet members, four Senators, one Congressman, a governor, a Supreme Court Justice (Scalia, oddly enough) and a handful of journalists. And for those who enjoy sinister conspiracies: about 50 "bundlers" who have raised at least $50,000 for Obama's re-election campaign were also invited, a not uncommon practice for state dinners.
Overheard: "They look better than us." That was the President to David Cameron about their wives. Also heard were toasts to the Queen, a whole lot of talk about the "special relationship" between the two countries, and perhaps a discussion about oil prices.
Not overheard: The name of the wines being served. The White House has stopped announcing the the specific wines being served at state dinners, possibly to avoid the appearance of lavish over-spending on drinks, since a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon worth about $399 was served to China's president last year. All they will say is that the wines were American.