October 26, 2012
BUT OF COURSE: Spending At State Dinners Soars Under Obama.
President Obama has spent far more lavishly on White House state dinners than previous chief executives, including nearly $1 million on a 2010 dinner for Mexico’s president, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner. Presidents have long used formal dinners to court foreign heads of state and to dish out fine food and wine to reward political, financial and show business celebrities and supporters.
But current and former government officials said the documents obtained by The Examiner point to an unprecedented upsurge in White House spending on such events.
The Obama extravaganza two years ago for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, which included a performance by pop star Beyonce, cost $969,793, or more than $4,700 per attendee, the documents show.
The Calderon dinner was held on the South Lawn in a massive tent adorned with decorated walls, hanging chandeliers, carpeting and a stage for Beyonce’s performance.
The dinner for the prime minister of India — which was famously crashed by Virginia couple Michaele and Tareq Salahi — cost nearly half a million dollars. Dinners for Chinese Premier Hu Jintao and British Prime Minister David Cameron were of the same level of extravagance.
A knowledgeable government official who made the documents available to The Examiner said the extravagant spending seemed unfair with so many Americans out of work.