Obamas stew and champagne balancing act for State dinners

February 2nd, 2009 - 1:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, February 2 (ANI): Veteran observers of the White House believe that U.S. President Barack Obama is trying to tone down the glitz of future state dinners by striking a balance between the arrangements of champagne and stew, to suit the dour national mood and grim economic conditions.
Hes toning it down a bit. I think a lot of people think thats appropriate because of the times, Politico.com quoted Letitia Baldridge, the White House social secretary under President Kennedy, as saying.
He obviously wants to get things done. He doesnt want anyone to accuse him of overplaying the festivities of it, although Im sure when there are happier times, the celebratory symbols will come back, she added.
She even said that a big challenge before Obama was to decide which of the White House traditions to indulge, and which to dispense with as the economy continues to tank.
You can have champagne served, the Marine Band playing, and flowers everywhereor just have a simple signing ceremony in the oval office, she said.
Maybe he doesnt know what he wants to direct them to do in terms of rituals. Hes under real pressure to be as dignified as past presidents, perhaps even more soTheres so much tension, she added.
She believes that even formal dinners prepared by the White House chefs will have to be reined in.
You could serve a wonderful stew or, instead, a five-course meal with a fish course and a cheese courseI think now is not the time for that, she said. If they have a seven-course dinner, youll find people having a seven-course dinner at their country club, she said.
Desiree Rogers, the new White House social secretary, revealed that she was trying to strike a balance.
While it is important to be financially prudent, events at The White House are generally of a celebratory nature and that needs to be honoured as well. The events we have hosted so far reflect this and I think you will continue to see these core elements in the future, she said in an e-mail.
Joshua Earnest, a spokesman for the White House, said that the President wanted to ensure that his events showed respect for Americans amid the ongoing financial trouble.
The tone and tenor of President Obamas activities during his first 10 days in the White House reflect his commitment to bringing relief to the American families and businesses that are weathering the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, Earnest said. (ANI)

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