CBS Early Show Touts Obama State Dinner As ‘Hottest Ticket in Town’

Barack and Michelle Obama, CBS On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the Obamas hosting their first state dinner in the White House and declared: “Everyone wants one, but only a few hundred are lucky enough to get an invitation to the hottest ticket in town...”

Cordes concluded her brief report by mentioning: “Pop entertainer and Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson will entertain the guests, giving everyone, including the Obamas, ample opportunity to dance.” Footage was played of the first couple dancing as co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: “Which we know they love to do.”

Rodriguez spoke with former Clinton White House official Laura Schwartz, who remarked: “What an exciting day today.” Rodriguez agreed: “I know.” She then asked Schwartz: “...what do you think the Obamas want this dinner to say about them?” Schwartz described the event as the Obamas “inviting the world into their home” and noted the couple’s frequent global travel: “...the Obamas have been traveling quite a lot this first year, which is very exciting, it’s good for America. It’s good to be involved.”

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
7:14AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Up next, it’s the hottest it ticket in D.C. We’re going to tell you which Hollywood stars are invited to the Obama’s first state dinner.         

7:17AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: The Obama’s first state dinner is tonight and almost everything about it is a closely guarded secret, from who’s invited to what’s on the menu. But we have got a sneak peek for you this morning, courtesy of CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

NANCY CORDES: Everyone wants one, but only a few hundred are lucky enough to get an invitation to the hottest ticket in town, the President and Mrs. Obama’s first state dinner. The guest of honor is India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife. Many of the details are still hush-hush, but the evening is expected to be a mix of Washington heavy weights, staff members, and Hollywood big wigs. Expected to attend are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but not her husband, former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. From the entertainment world, likely guests include Obama fund-raiser Steven Spielberg, Ari Emanuel, and film maker M. Night Shyamalan. The Obamas chose to host the event on the South Lawn, under a white tent which can accommodate close to 400 guests. While no one is giving a price tag on this dinner, previous state dinners ranged anywhere from $60,000 to upwards of several hundred thousand.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON [POLITICO]: It’s larger than Bush’s official dinner in 2005, where there were about 150 people there, but smaller than the Clinton’s dinner, which had about 700 people there.

CORDES: Pop entertainer and Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson will entertain the guests, giving everyone, including the Obamas, ample opportunity to dance. Nancy Cordes, CBS News, Washington.

[FOOTAGE OF OBAMAS DANCING]

RODRIGUEZ: Which we know they love to do. Joining us now from Washington, our old friend Laura Schwartz, former White House director of events during the Clinton administration. Helped plan many of these state dinners. Hey Laura, good to see.

LAURA SCHWARTZ: Good morning, Maggie. What an exciting day today.

RODRIGUEZ: I know. From what you heard about the details that Nancy just gave us, what do you think the Obamas want this dinner to say about them?

SCHWARTZ: Well, I think this is their – you know, this is their first state dinner, so they are inviting the world into their home by way of the prime minister of India and it really is the time to put that outstretched hand of America here at home. You know, the Obamas have been traveling quite a lot this first year, which is very exciting, it’s good for America. It’s good to be involved. But this is the first time these honors are given here at home, the people’s house, right behind me.

RODRIGUEZ: We know that celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelson will be preparing the menu. Is it customary to honor the guest of honor, in this case the Indian prime minister, with the food or in another way?

SCHWARTZ: Absolutely, Maggie. You what happens, about two months before now, one of the delegation members have come over from India, they sit down, they talk about the likes and the dislikes of the prime minister and the spouse. Any food allergies. In this case the prime minister is a vegetarian. And then the White House wants to highlight the best of America. So they’re bringing Marcus Samuelson into work with Chef Cristeta Comerford, the White House chef, who’s fabulous in her own right and she still will oversee the entire dinner, but Marcus Samuelson will definitely add a little zing.

RODRIGUEZ: Oh, unfortunately we’re out of time. Laura Schwartz, thank you so much.

SCHWARTZ: Thanks, Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: You’re welcome.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC