Gatecrashers only a `footnote` to Indian PM dinner: Michelle Obama

Last Updated: Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 13:05

Washington: First Lady Michelle Obama has described the security breach at White that marred her debut as the nation`s hostess as a "footnote" to an otherwise outstanding state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Given the opportunity, there`s nothing from 2009 for which she`s craving a do-over. She`s not longing for a few generous mulligans, Michelle told the Washington Post in an interview published on Thursday - not even for the state dinner honouring India that was marked by three uninvited guests.

A celebrity hounding Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, and a self styled "meeting planner, online magazine publisher and philanthropist", Carlos Allen, allegedly gate crashed the November 24 dinner giving the slip to the Secret Service charged with protecting the president and visiting dignitaries.

The incident also launched a grand jury investigation and sparked harsh criticism of social secretary Desiree Rogers, whose friendship with the first couple dates back to their days in Chicago.

"The state dinner was an outstanding success. It`s just the follow-up after it. I look at the reporting on the state dinner and go, `Is that all that happened? Really?` Because I sat in a phenomenal dinner where the Prime Minister and his wife were, felt, so connected to the United States and they were so proud to be there," she was quoted as saying.

"And the evening was so wonderful and it was so well-orchestrated," she said. "For me the other stuff that everyone is talking about is a footnote to what the state dinner actually was. So I wouldn`t do that over," Michelle said.

The first lady also dismissed the suggestion that the security breach had left her especially unnerved or upset. "We have dealt with the Secret Service for many years now, because I mean, Barack got Secret Service during the course of the campaign," Post quoted her as saying.

"These folks are good at what they do. But, with that said, the White House and the Secret Service are working to ensure that processes are in place so that something like that never happens again. And you know, I agree."

That work includes close scrutiny of the Office of the Social Secretary. "When I say the White House, I mean everyone in the White House," Michelle said.

IANS



First Published: Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 13:05

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