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Chat > More State Dinner comments

Michele Jones should NOT be the scape-goat in this.
Jones never told the Salahis to show up. And shame on HuffPo for putting up a bogus story yesterday regarding Jones' resume (which was baseless because the LLC in question WAS registered in Maryland).

And some responsibility DOES fall at the feet of Desiree Rogers because it was Desiree that changed the rules of the procedures regarding state dinners when she took away the responsibilities of that other woman that resigned in June that was in charge of the guest lists.
When there is a well working procedure in place before serous debate should occur before any changes take place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

All I can say is you live and you learn. Everybody should be held accountable. Desiree, Michele Jones, and the Secret Service. Hopefully next time it won't go down like this. Lets hope this incident has taught Ms. Rogers a valuable lesson and she will know what to do from here on out. If not, the Obamas know what they have to do and hopefully she takes it like a woman and there is no love lost.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 6:57 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Okay, as much as I think someone needs to be held to account here, Pete King is getting my goat. He's yelling about a "cover up?" I mean, call me crazy, but aren't the Obamas the VICTIMS, here? I just do not trust his motives in the least. Like you said, Janelle, he's just trying to drag this out so he can embarrass the Obamas some more.

The last thing I want to see is Desiree testifying. She is *not* a politician. I'm not saying she's dumb -- in fact, she's probably too smart. She'd get up there and say what she really thinks about all this and hoo boy. Headlines for days.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterChristina


I found the emails on the Today show website. I have to say, they don't look TOO bad to me...but I think they reveal a problem that maybe hasn't been discussed yet.

It was always my understanding (perhaps I'm wrong) that the guest lists for these kinds of events were pinned down way in advance. That gives time for the Secret Service to do the appropriate background checks on the guests. I attended an inaugural event for Bush 2004 as part of my job, and I had to give all kinds of information about myself pretty far in advance -- seems like it was at least a week, maybe two.

But for some reason, Michele Jones thought fairly late in the game that she might be able to get the Gate Crashers in. Now, she informed them that ultimately she couldn't, but she THOUGHT she might be able to, as soon as a day before the dinner (or day of? I can't remember.)

My fear is that the guest list was in such flux that the Secret Service was almost relying on the guests themselves to say they belonged there. I'm totally speculating, but I've thought that from the beginning. *If* my speculation is true, that's an issue. I don't think state dinners can accommodate late drop-ins!

But I could be wrong. There seems to be some kind of confusion between the party itself and the "arrival ceremony." But I'd be curious to hear what the party planners here think about that. How far in advance do you usually know who is going to be at an event?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 8:14 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

Most of my experience is not with guest lists, but head counts for food. We needed to know a few weeks in advance so we could contact purveyors and suppliers of perishable items.

But we did have a big book signing party with an approved guest list that we received a week in advance, and checked off names at the door. We turned away folks who were not on the list, were yelled at, and when the author showed up with an entourage of irate people he let them all in anyway. So much for a vetted guest list.

But from what you describe when you attended the Bush event, Christina, it sounds like a different ball game. It's got to take at least a week or two to do a thorough background check, and then if you multiply that by 400 -

Having a fluctuating guest list sounds like an awful idea. Let's face it - an Obama WH event is the hottest ticket around.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 8:37 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

@ Leah D - I'm not scapegoating Michele Jones, for the record. I do, however, think she was going a little bit too far thinking she could get those two jokers into the event and stringing them along like that. I'll be curious to see what she did to attempt to get them in and why she thought she could pull strings to get them in.

@ Christina - What the email exchange sounded like to me was that Michele Jones was kind of playing games. It reminded me of this one time a friend of mine "knew someone" who could supposedly get us VIP into a particular club in Miami. This person supposedly knew all the right people to get us on the list where we'd stroll right through and head up to the tables. Long story short, this person didn't have an in all that special, couldn't get us on the list, and to top it off we don't find out until the last minute when we get there that we're not on the list! That is what the emails reminded me of.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that this is a definite learning situation for the White House and Secret Service. Desiree is on serious notice that she has to keep it together and on the low. I would love for this to go away very soon.

Lastly, Peter King is a jerk. I think he said some crazy stuff against the president earlier this year. He's not concerned in the least bit about these party crashers. He wants to embarrass the White House, and so he'll grandstand and demand this and that from the Secret Service and Desiree and milk this whole debacle for all it's worth. The Republicans are stuck on playing politics.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 9:52 PM | Registered CommenterIVA


Yeah, I know exactly the kind of person you're talking about. Shoot, you should have crashed that club just like the Salahis! :-) I'm realizing there's a lot to be said for just *acting* like you belong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 10:44 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

IVA, Christina is right, ya'll should have walked right up in that junt like ya'll belonged there and when they asked questions, got hella mad like they did something wrong. LMAO!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 10:51 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

LOL!!! Well we did get mad and cop an attitude at the door for a hot minute, but after a bit we just left.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 10:58 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

Pete King had a field day in New York today. That state government is getting scarier by the moment.

There are lots more of his ilk in the north woods.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 10:59 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

Oh my gosh -- and now we're finding out that female Gate Crasher (I do know her name. I just don't even feel like typing it) wasn't really a Redskins cheerleader. Is there anything that is real about these people at all? Because it sure isn't homegirl's hair color.

This whole story is strangely fascinating to me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 2:13 AM | Registered CommenterChristina

Interesting conversation going on here. Generally, I agree with all comments even if they are contradictory.

Peter King IS a jerk although this is his usual reaction to anything and everything. However, I saw where Darryl Issa seemed satisfied (for now) after attending a meeting with the Secret Service.

I've watched enough of these Congressional hearings to absolutely not want Desiree Rogers subjected to one for the sake of the Obama administration. I've seen a lot of decent people treated with great disrespect at some of these. (Pretty funny though to watch Jeff Sessions try to reprimand Eric Holder, who had a hard time to keep from laughing at him.)

The worst I've seen happened this last week at a Republican house hearing on Acorn. Really pathetic and biased. Not a single neutral voice and smirking galore from the questioners all the way to the audience. Couldn't watch all of it, but I don't think it was something C-Span should have televised. My opinion.

Desiree Rogers has been a problem for Michelle before and even caused her to have to change her chief-of-staff because Desiree refused to play as a subordinate to the First Lady's chief-of-staff. There was a flurry of press stories hinting at how hard Michelle is to get along with. Valerie Jarrett intervened (better diplomatically than having Michelle have to directly deal with it) and the Sher lady from Chicago who worked with Michelle for years was brought in. Don't know what the dynamics are in the East Wing now, but it kind of looks like Desiree is still playing by her own rules.

Desiree has a tremendous amount of talent and I expected her to put the pizazz into White House events. On that she has delivered again and again and again. But I prefer to witness the fruits of her efforts highlighting the President and First Lady rather than Desiree herself. She entered the Governor's Dinner this way also, but was wearing a less attention-seeking gown.

One positive about the party crashers is that between them and Tiger Woods, Sarah Palin is being pushed out of the spotlight.

And Michelle Jones may not have done anything "wrong" but she certainly was unprofessional. The common person in much of this is the Salahis attorney, a Mr. Gardner.

On Today when asked about not being invited to the CBC dinner, they said they were the guests of the Gardner law firm, but CBC spokesperson said the law firm had not requested tickets. Also they were not promptly escorted out. They seem to have gotten about as far as they did at the State dinner. They attended a VIP reception and had their picture taken with Burris and Patrick Kennedy. Don't think they met the Obamas. From the time the Obamas left the White House until they the time they left the dinner, consisted of just under an hour. The Salahis were caught when people complained that they were in their seats at the table and were escorted out at that point.

They followed the same routine at the White House and were in the tent, but were not seated. Do not know the circumstances of their leaving.

This Gardner guy is listed as one of 500 friends on Michelle Jones Facebook. And has had other e-mail contacts with her. This shows inexperience in these kinds of matters and is a shame she got caught up in it. Gardner may be acting like an agent for the Salahis in their social quests.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 7:33 AM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

@Christina - LOL - the first thing I thought when I saw The Blonde was "what's up with the do?" Or lack thereof.

@Sharon Nelson - That Gardner is possibly acting as an agent is a very good point. He may have some kind of deal with her in the event that she does make the cut for New Housewives.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 8:31 AM | Registered CommenterBevi

@Sharon--I think you're spot on regarding Gardner/possible agent issue, especially after the CBC party crash. You also brought up a good point that I was thinking about as well regarding the change of Chief of Staff in the East Wing earlier in the year. One of the reasons written about was the fact that Desiree wanted to only report to the President and First Lady. If that's true, I understand why that could be good because the events held at the WH thus far have really reflected the style and wishes of the First Family in a way that I thought was really great---having that access made that possible. Desiree's title is really Social Secretary/Special Assistant to the President. The downside is that there were no checks and balances to changes of protocol procedures that Desiree enacted.

I can only imagine the inside scrutiny of Desiree among WH personnel that is being talked about internally over this matter---forget about what TV and newspapers are talking about. A lot of people worked really hard for this event---internal water cooler talk is powerful. Ms. Rogers should really stay away from the photos, cameras and the grand entrances, permanently. Just focus on doing a good behind the scenes job. The Social Secretary's office is never to draw this much attention to itself. Every administration has department problems, scandals, etc. because it's a huge, public entity. A scandal at the Treasury, Pentagon, etc. maybe, but the Social Secretary's office? Way too much drama for the Social office in my opinion. No where in U.S. Presidential history up until now do I remember this department being spotlighted so much during the Presidential term.

Since she is a friend of the Obamas, I think Desiree needs to report to someone else as well, especially on protocol changes. I agree she should have a lot of access to the Obamas to reflect their style and wishes, but overall, she should still report to the Chief of Staff now, Susan Sher. The only problem with that is Susan Sher is a friend of Desiree. But since she is also a Special Assistant in the West Wing, maybe she needs to also report to Rahm Emmanuel. I'm sure something is going to change and there have been meetings going along with the internal review. I'm sure Valerie Jarrett's head is about to explode right now because she lives in the same building with Susan and Desiree. Mrs. Obama is probably thinking, "I need a drink", and I hope she has a tall, strong one too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 8:37 AM | Registered CommenterJanelle

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when Rahm wrapped his head around this.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 8:51 AM | Registered CommenterBevi

Christina and Bevi:

The "blond" hair was human hair extensions.

I read where she phoned a hairdresser in DC and he flew in human hair from California. She wanted a new "do" since she was going to the State dinner.

She still owes him $4,000 for her new hairstyle. The hairdressers has taken her to small claims court to retrieve his money, but as of yet, she has not paid him! He also stated that she is still wearing the hair!

Since nothing about his couple appears to be "real", I wonder if they also changed their names so that they could have new identities? LOL

I will respond later about the circus that is going on. This should have never escalated to a congressional hearing having to take place!

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM | Registered Commenterjerseygirl

Does anybody think that tacky bleached blonde hair look good? I just don't get it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Registered CommenterGroovy

Jerseygirl - Now that is what I call the Scoop of the Day. 4K for hair extensions? Puhleeze.

It's so ironic to see how disrespectful the Republicans are being. I think it's important to get the protocol down, but you are right - this is turning into a circus.

It would not surprise me to see Desiree relieved of the more detailed aspects of her job, however.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Registered CommenterBevi

LOL, they are fakin it to they make it!!


good points, Sharon and Janelle

Bevi, I want to be the fly right next to you. I know he was cursing up a storm!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 2:55 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

I was listening to the radio today and a Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee (forgot his name) was being interviewed. Since the party crashers didn't show up at the hearing today, they're going to be subpoenaed. So the circus is still in town.

Anyway, he was asked whether this hearing and the subpoenaing was a waste of time given the fact we've got some serious problems in the world and in our country, and the Secret Service has already admitted fault and is revieweing their procedures, and the White House has reviewed their procedures and made changes accordingly. He talked about how the Secret Service is under their jurisdiction, so they're just doing what they should do. He didn't sound convincing and I think the bluntness of the question surprised him and embarrassed him a bit. He should've felt a little foolish.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 4:36 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

This is the link to the hairdresser that says the "crashee" owes him money. Also, I thought this was for the state dinner, but it turns out it was for her inaugural polo match in 2007!


Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 4:42 PM | Registered Commenterjerseygirl

This is a total waste of time.

As long as proper procedures are in place and this will NEVER happen again, please don't waste my tax dollars on this foolishness!

What is going to be gained from this circus? Are some Congress people trying to take our minds off of the really important issues? This is not going to do it!

I have already called my Congressmen and reminded them that we kicked out Gov. Corzine and if there were any takers for "next". I don't want to see anyone from NJ involved in this foolishness!

It has been time to move on.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Registered Commenterjerseygirl

The hearings seem like overkill to me, too. And it is ironic that the Secret Service head can't even answer most of their questions because it is an ongoing investigation. A waste of time, indeed.

Although the Republicans are pushing for a Desiree subpoena, I expect the Democrats to block it. More than likely. Hey, if Karl Rove and Harriet Meyers can ignore theirs over a potential criminal matter, why not Desiree over a matter the Secret Service takes full responsibility for?

Politico is making a big deal out it just now, but, then, Politico makes a big deal out of rather minor matters all the time.

Old Benny Thompson was going out of his way to be polite to the Secret Service guy and gave an outstanding summary of his service including some pretty high awards. Linda Sanchez spoke with a very angry tone. Why do they do that? Grandstanding for their constituents to try to appear tough? It doesn't get them any better answers.

Then there's the Republicans. Peter King was obnoxious as usual. The next Republican (forget who he was) got so twisted up in one question that he completely lost me. The Secret Service guy attempted an answer but I doubt he understood either.

Lots of things going on today so I didn't watch all of it. A little bit of that nonsense goes a long way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

Thanks for the recap Sharon. I saw a quick clip of Linda Sanchez on the news this evening and was wondering why she seemed so upset. Congress is a strange place.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 8:25 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

Appreciate everyones' opinion. I have only seen a small recap on CNN tonight. Some Secret Service agents likely to lose their job. The WH will now have someone from the Social Secretarys' office at the gate.

I don't really understand why the WH didn't allow Desiree to testify. Get all the facts, let everyone take pictures and move on. She's Wellesley/Harvard educated. I think she would have acquitted herself.

Friday, December 4, 2009 at 12:11 AM | Registered Commenterann#1