Gate-crash a screwup, won`t happen again: Obama

Last Updated: Monday, December 14, 2009 - 11:20

Washington: President Barack Obama was angry about the celebrity-hound couple who crashed the White House state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month and promised the "screwup" won`t happen again.
"What I know is what everybody knows," Obama said in a CBS interview aired on Sunday night. "These people should not have gotten through the gate."

The gate-crashing couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, breached security and strolled into the November 24 state dinner and shook hands with both Obama and Manmohan Singh and had themselves photographed with many guests including Vice President Joe Biden.

"A mistake was made at the checkpoint to let them through," he said. "That mistake was not corrected through the process. I think the Secret Service has already taken responsibility for it. I think there`s been an acknowledgement on the part of the White House that there should`ve been better coordination between Secret Service and the Social Secretary`s office. And it won`t happen again."

Asked if he is unhappy with White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, the President said he is "unhappy with everybody who was involved in the process....because obviously although I chafe at being in the bubble, I also want to make sure my family is safe," he said. "And that foreign guests of ours are safe. And so, it was a screw up."

"Now I will admit that, you know, this is a town where once a screw up happens, people can`t just say, okay, that was a screw up and let`s fix it," he said. "There has to be, you know two weeks worth of cable chatter about it."

"I don`t think that from a policy perspective, this was the most important thing or even the fifth or sixth most important thing that happened this week, although it got the most news," added Obama.

Asked if he was "seriously angry" when he found out what happened, Obama said: "Yes. That`s why it won`t happen again."

"It`s really a shame that I had to go through a whole 60 Minutes interview without talking about the gate-crashers," the President quipped, laughing, when the issue was raised as the interview wrapped up. "Good catch."


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First Published: Monday, December 14, 2009 - 11:20

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