Obama Hosts Iftar Dinner, Notes Thomas Jefferson's Koran
The Romney campaign let loose with the announcement that their VP pick would soon be announced late Friday night, just as President Obama's Iftar dinner was still settling.
Obama hosted the Ramadan dinner at the White House after sundown, serving garden salad, thyme-roasted natural chicken, farmstand vegetable ratatouille, and vanilla peach sesame halvah crunch to guests who had been fasting all day.
Attendees includes the two Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.). Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), whose district includes part of Dearborn, Mich., also came.
Dozens of ambassadors ranging from Nigeria to Yemen were also on the guest list.
"Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia -- perhaps the first Iftar at the White House -- more than 200 years ago," Obama said. President Clinton officially began the Iftar dinners, which were continued by George W. Bush.
"And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress -- the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. And that's a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam -- like so many faiths -- is part of our national story."
The president continued to talk about the values of Islam, including "you know that the Koran teaches, 'Be it man or woman, each of you is equal to the other.'"
"They are entrepreneurs and lawyers, community leaders, members of our military, and Muslim American women serving with distinction in government," Obama said. "And that includes a good friend, Huma Abedin, who has worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear."
"The American people owe her a debt of gratitude -- because Huma is an American patriot, and an example of what we need in this country -- more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit," he continued. "So, on behalf of all Americans, we thank you so much."