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White House Gatecrash 2009

An incident that occurred when two individuals gate-crashed the state dinner between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held on November 24, 2009.

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State Dinner Crashers: Taking Attention Whoring to a Whole New Level

  • Nov 30, 2009
As if we couldn't end 2009 without yet another gates scandal, November brought us Gatecrash 2009 to go along with Gates-gate and Kanye-gate (it should be noted that I'm a bit disappointed that "gate" was used as a prefix instead of a suffix this time).  Though all of the gates are really unfortunate, the factors surrounding Gatecrash makes it an expecially cringeworthy gate for me, namely for the fact that the it involves the President, and the fact that the individuals who instigated this did it purposely for attention.

2009 has taken attention whoring to a whole new level.  There are plenty of attention whores out there, and I admit that I can be a bit of one myself sometimes, but not many people go to the extent that some people have this year to gain international attention for their publicity stunts.  From getting knocked up with multiples and fabricating an outrageous hoax involving their own children to crashing a state dinner at the White House to satiate their thirst for attention, this has gotten out of hand. 

The fact that this happened just a mere month after the balloon boy incident is a bit much for me, and I'm sure for many others as well.  Have people not learned anything?  Is this the descent of humanity?  With many reality tv "stars" branching out and starting their own clothing lines, music career, spin-off shows, etc, it looks like some people just want to cash in on their moment in the spotlight, too.  The Salahis remind me of Spiedi, except they're twice their age, yet sadly, don't know any better.

Let's have a rundown of how far the Salahis went to crash the state dinner.  Both dressed to the nines and actually looked like they belonged there.  Michaele even going so far as to donning a confusing and ill-fitting sari-inspired dress, most likely as a tribute to the guests of honor (she forgot to put on a bindi though).  When they drove up to the White House, their SUV was turned away and they had to park outside and walk to the White House.  Since their names weren't on the guest list, it is speculated that they then had to go through two separate ID checkpoints.  They probably said something like, "Oh, there must be some sort of mistake.  We were invited", meaning that they made false statements to at least two federal employees, which, of course, is a federal offense.  Once inside, they hob nobbed with the likes of the President, Vice President, and other high profile guests.  It is still unclear whether they had any dinner or even had a place to sit.

It wasn't until a savvy reporter saw them and thought, "What are these two schmucks doing here?" that it was discovered that the Salahis had crashed the party.  It didn't help that immediately after the event, Michaele posted a bunch of pictures from it on her own Facebook fan page (the fan page actually made her look like a celebrity hunter, but much content has since been deleted).  Of course, journalists dug up on the dirt on these two and discovered that they had a very unsavory past, and the most damning discovery: that Michaele is currently auditioning for Real Housewives of D.C.  Then it all made sense.  They most likely just wanted a few video clips and photos to put on the show to say, "Look how high up on the social ladder we are.  We're so important and have so much clout that we hob nob with these high profile people all the time.  We even got invited to the state dinner".

Um, I don't know about anyone else, but that plan is elaborate.  It's obvious that quite a bit of planning went into this.  Thank goodness these were just [physically] harmless, fame-seeking people.  Here's a scary thought, though: If these two nobodies managed to sneak in and convince everyone that they belonged there, and even got to shake hands with the man running an entire country and his sidekick, then any lunatic could do the same thing.  It's especially dangerous with this somewhat controversial presidency, what with not everyone agreeing with some of the actions that President Obama has taken, or the fact that he's our first black president.  Though they went through a search and walked through a metal detector, anything in that room could have been turned into a weapon.  Unlike all the other guests, the Salahis did not have the clearance to be there.

This is no laughing matter, and I hope they get more than just a slap on the wrist for what they did, and the Secret Service needs to reevaluate their protocol for such situations.  As @Sean_Rhodes wrote in his review of this incident, this is not only a huge embarrassment for the Secret Service, but for the United States as a whole as well.

When incidents like these occur, I can't help but think of Nicole Kidman's histrionic, fame-hungry character in To Die For saying, "You aren't really anybody in America if you're not on TV".  Let's hope that this level of attention whoring doesn't pass onto 2010, but with the ways things are going, this hope is looking pretty bleak.
State Dinner Crashers: Taking Attention Whoring to a Whole New Level State Dinner Crashers: Taking Attention Whoring to a Whole New Level State Dinner Crashers: Taking Attention Whoring to a Whole New Level State Dinner Crashers: Taking Attention Whoring to a Whole New Level

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September 29, 2010
For whatever reason I thought back to 1990 when Home Alone came out and you stated hearing stories on the news about parents who did leave they're kids home and how they could be arrested. It's people who wanted attention and sadly people still want it today cause they're lives are empty. "You aren't really anybody in America if you're not on TV." says a lot. Maybe people should stop watching so much TV.
February 03, 2010
I heard about this story a few months ago and yeah becoming popular by pulling a stunt like from the movie wedding crashers is a stupid way to be on tv. Obama's security force needs to become more strict in what is going on yes it is an embarsement to the U.S however Obama wants to be a man of the people. That being said this was a miscommunication on three fronts those who crashed, the security force, and Obama. The Security force needs to tighten up or other wise be replaced.
February 03, 2010
I don't think Obama flub, I think he probably assumed that Secret Service would have things covered, but I agree, their security force needs to tighten up! I'm sure whoever allowed for this to happened probably got reprimanded in some way. Haven't heard the outcome of this situation yet. Not sure if we're ever going to. Thanks for your comment, Kris!
December 02, 2009
Thanks for your great insight. With all the problems of National Security we face I wish this story would fade from the news already. All that needed to be done was increase the security and give these people an admonishment. If the proper security had been in place to begin with, this wouldn't have even happened so they need to stop focusing attention on these people and fix the problem and move on.
December 03, 2009
Thanks for your comment, Michael. I think that as soon as the Salahis stop doing what appears to be their press tour to "clear their name", this will all go away. I think that the public's pretty much over them at this point, but they're making fools of themselves by giving interviews. If they really didn't crash it, all they have to do was hand over their invitation and show that they were invited. I'm sure the Secret Service made this embarrassing mishap a nice learning lesson.
December 02, 2009
Disgusting all the way around. Unbelievable the lengths that people will go to in order to generate attention. And so sad that anyone can get past the Secret Service if they are blonde and well endowed - plastic or otherwise. Great article, Devora! Well thought out and presented without reserve. Love it!
December 03, 2009
Thanks, Crystal! Let this be a lesson to the Secret Service, as well as those major attention-seekers out there.
December 01, 2009
What I find particularly interesting about the whole thing, and only discovered when I got to this article, is that it's being used by the hardcore rightbloggers to prove that Obama is secretly a Muslim trying to take over America. I'm still not sure how the logical leap is being made from uninvited guests to tools of the evil evil president, but it's being made!
December 03, 2009
Always interesting to read up on conspiracy theories. Don't know why there's a big to-do about arugala though!
December 03, 2009
The arugala thing is a leftover from a "controversy" during the election where Obama said he grew arugala or something, and it was proof of his evil/anti-Americanness/femininity/whatever. Yeah, seriously.
December 01, 2009
So true! All these media "scandals" are simply products of this reality TV driven lifestyle we are living. People are willing to do most anything to become an "insta-celeb" these days and the media is just fueling the fire. What makes the White House State Dinner Crashers interesting is that the couple was already in the process of signing with Bravo TV to star in the "Real Housewives of Washington, DC." Similar to the Balloon Boy Hoax, where the Heenes had starred in an episode of Wife Swap, these average joes assume that having their 15 minutes gives them free reign to pull these ridiculous stunts. My favorite part of the whole thing is the role that facebook played in figuring the whole thing out, once again, the power of social media! I love it!
December 02, 2009
Thanks for your comment, Claire! Poo for them that they got all the attention they ever wanted, except that it's negative. And yes, that whole Facebook saga really is ridiculous!
December 01, 2009
Great points - unfortunately, since the media covers these attention whores so aggressively, they get exactly what they want and you can be sure they'll be more of these guys in the pipeline. I spend half my time in LA, and the scary thing is that about 50% of the population here are potential candidates for this kind of thing. Wow.
December 02, 2009
Thanks, James. I think they were looking to become famous, just not for this. They've totally gained notoriety for something negative. And that's a scary thought that there are many more who would have done similar things. Yike!
December 01, 2009
You hit this right on the nose Debbie, this was plain awful!  To begin with, shows like Real Housewives dumb America down already!  It does make me nervous that they could just step right into the White House.  I honestly find it hard sometimes to be an American, it's actually embarrassing!  Those Secret Service agents should honestly be fired!  Nice write up :) 
December 02, 2009
Thanks, Julian! Yeah, I think having the fictional Desperate Housewives is enough, no need to see the drama of these Real Housewives. Seriously, someone needs to be reprimanded for this!
December 01, 2009
excellent write up, Devora! I know that the two were searched for arms and everything but the fact that they managed to sneak in w/out invites is just upsetting. I do have to commend that anything can be turned into a weapon, and no president should be left unprotected. Secret Service dropped the ball big time! ok, where that new food review at?! hee-hee!
December 02, 2009
Thanks, Woo! Yup, Secret Service fail. I wonder what will happen to those who were involved. Food reviews are coming for sure! :)
November 30, 2009
Nice take on this incident. They should throw the book at this couple and also at the party or parties who were responsible for letting them get in. If anything ever happened to this President it would tear the country apart...perhaps irrevocably.
December 02, 2009
Thanks, Paul! I agree. These two party crashers should be reprimanded along with the folks who allowed this to happen.
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More White House Gatecrash 2009 reviews
review by . November 29, 2009
Within the entire world, there are few compounds that are supposed to be more secure than the White House.  I say "supposed" to be because for the most part the very idea that Michaele and Tareq Salahi were able to slip into the White House so easily.  Here's the deal for those of you who have been living under a rock: Obama hosted a state dinner for the Prime Minister of India and these two somehow crashed the party.  That's right, the most secure compound in the world …
review by . December 01, 2009
Does anyone really think the whole Kanye-Taylor debacle was spur of the moment? Kanye had nothing to lose (he's already the voice of this generation), while Taylor had so much more to gain (SNL host, Band Hero spokesperson, one of NBC's people of the year, etc.). If it was all a set-up, it worked out perfectly. The media gobbled it up, people had something funny to talk about, and those two had the last laugh.       While attention whoring is incredibly selfish and causes …
review by . December 09, 2009
   Does anyone remember the film Enter the Dragon? In the movie Brue Lee slips by the bad guy's guards to get to places on the island he shouldn't be. What did the bad guy do? He didn't complain about Lee, instead he made the guards fight Bolo to the death.      Why isn't the White House learning from this film?  i.e. fix the security, stop publically complaining about the couple and move on.
Quick Tip by . December 03, 2009
I am SO over these two...so we're making them famous for being jackasses?!? Enough. Oh yeah, and thumbs up to Homeland Security...great job!
Quick Tip by . December 01, 2009
It amazes me how much media attention BS like this gets when there are so many more important things happening in the World!
Quick Tip by . December 01, 2009
T-Swizzle for president!
Quick Tip by . November 29, 2009
Just goes to show that all the security screenings at the airport is a sham! On top of that, it's a shame for America I guess.
Quick Tip by . November 29, 2009
Reality TV is way over the top...worse than the bad taste talk shows of the 80s. The publicity hounds never cease to get attention.
Quick Tip by . November 29, 2009
As if we could leave 2009 without yet another fame & attention-seeking reality TV personality incident.
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devora ()
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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The 2009 White House gatecrash incident occurred when Michaele and Tareq Salahi, from Virginia, gate-crashed the state dinner between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held on Tuesday, November 24, 2009.

According to media reports, "the first the White House security detail knew of their blunder in allowing them into Tuesday's event was when the couple posted photographs from the dinner on their Facebook page." Invited guest Brian Williams, anchor of the NBC Nightly News, observed the Salahis' SUV being turned down from the East Gate entrance. After that, he saw the Salahis and crew leave their vehicle and walk to the White House. They entered through two security checkpoints; only one of them checked for photo ID. The White House on November 27 released photos of the couple posing with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. Secret Service director Mark Sullivan issued a statement on November 27 saying that the Secret Service was "deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances surrounding the State Dinner". Sullivan's statement also pointed out that "the preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list."

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, wrote a letter to the House Committee on Homeland Security requesting an ...
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