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The Salahis doth protest too much

Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the couple accused of committing a brazen security breach at the White House, took to NBC's "Today" Show this morning to defend their "honor" and get us to feel their pain. They failed on both fronts.

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"It’s been devastating what’s happened to Michaele and I," Tareq told Matt Lauer. "Our lives have really been destroyed." Echoing her polo-playing husband, Michaele said, "Everything we worked for -- for me, 44 years -- just destroyed." Pardon me while a wipe away a tear. Folks who seek the limelight and want the world to see how fabulous they (think they) are shouldn't complain when it casts them in a harshly negative light.

As for everything they've worked for, Lord only knows what that might be. Perhaps she was referring to their big moment in the sun as one of the couples on the "Real Housewives of D.C." Cameras from the Bravo channel's popular human train-wreck franchise have been following the Salahis for a while now, but they haven't officially been chosen for the series.

Taking umbrage at being called a "party crasher," Michaele said, "We were invited, not crashers, and there isn’t anyone who would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that." She added, "No one would do that, and certainly not us." But when pressed by Lauer to say who did invite them, Tareq fell back on a variation of a familiar talking point: "One of the things that we're doing is we're working the secret service. We want to get through that process. We've been very candid with them and getting documentation to them."

Could the documentation be e-mails between the Salahis and Michele S. Jones, special assistant to the secretary of defense? Jones has insisted she made it clear to them that she didn't have the authority to grant them access. So who gave the Salahis the impression that they were invited to the state dinner with the prime minister of India?

I've been to a state dinner. You never forget the day that thick envelope from the White House arrives. You keep the invitation for the rest of your life and show it to your nearest and dearest. Nothing would have made the reality-TV crowd happier than to see the calligraphy, the gold embossed eagle and "The President and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of your company...." The Salahis haven't produced an invitation. And until they publicly produce an e-mail or a voice mail requesting that they send their full name, date of birth and Social Security Number to a specific person in the White House before their arrival, they better get used to their self-inflicted destruction.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 1, 2009; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

I saw them on the Today show. They appear to be semi-literate trailer-trash with money. That's a maybe re the money. I stand by the rest.

Posted by: m_richert | December 1, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

They are publicity hounds, pulling a publicity stunt. As Capehart said, you know if you are invited to a state dinner -- it's not good enough to "think" you are invited. But why would the Today show indulge them in their publicity seeking? The thing these people fear most is someone turning off the camera.

Posted by: fmjk | December 1, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't Matt Lauer ask them about the cameras and makeup people who were following them around before the dinner? Is it because the "Real Housewives" show is on Bravo, which is owned by NBC?

And what about the hairdresser's claim that Mrs. Salahi looked in her purse for the official invitation? It sure sounds like she knew she needed that (and not an e-mail invite) to be a legitimate guest.

Posted by: valandsend | December 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

A contributor to a chat said that Salahi's parents ran a private school in Virginia - they must have neglected him: "It has been devastating to....I."

Posted by: CheneyM | December 1, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

some people, taken too many oxycontins, see the world in a unique, albeit distorted fashion.

Did you listen to the question/answer about and I paraphrase,

"did you think it(the e-mails) were open to interpretation?"

His answer is a non answer, and tells me he is hiding something.

Chumps with change. Trying to make a go of it, but oddly, with no credentials whatsoever. They've apparently done this before...just for kicks.

Posted by: pgibson1 | December 1, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The video makes it obvious that these 2 are making this up as they go along and hiding behind the line that they are "working with the Secret Service". Let the Secret Service continue investigating the apparent security breach, but IMHO NBC should cancel the interview with them "on the couch in New York" to which Tareq refers, and just drop this whole idiotic focus on these 2 losers.

Posted by: markinirvine | December 1, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Good point, valandsend. I thought the same thing. She knew she didn't have a physical invitation when the hairstylist asked, yet lied and said "Oh, it must be out in the car". As attention seeking as these two are, those showoffs would have been wagging that invite in the face of anyone with eyes if they really had one. An invitation to a State dinner is not something you "believe" you were invited to. You either know or you don't. And the first red flag should have been when they were told their names were not on the list at the WH gates. Did they think "Oh gosh, we made a mistake"? No. Did they call their supposed DoD contact to perhaps help iron out the mix-up? No. Sounds like this DoD person may have spoken out of turn as well and made it look like she had more clout that she did...we will soon find out. Even if they do have money, in DC, that's not enough to play ball with the truly elite in DC and that drove them nuts. But you know, maybe she's a real politico in her heart(as evidenced in her picture with "Ron" Emanuel). What imbeciles.

Posted by: jetsettr | December 1, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

This couple, bankrupt for no good reason (unlike people crippled by medical bills) were on a tear. Leveraging Bravo with a WH invite would get them big money (hard to come by in a recession) to make up for their loss (or squandering) of whatever small fortune his parents brought him up to expect. Still, how many other "socialites" who do receive legit invites to classy parties go through similar desperate contortions on the way up? Celebrity culture, deplored by C Wright Mills 50 years ago, is part of capitalism. Mrs. Salahi has a dash of Thackeray's Becky Sharp. And she does a nice, fake upper-crust voice. But bilking your hairdresser and other humble help in hard times like these is not classy. And what's with the crucifix she wore on NBC - do they figure they need to show they're not terrorists?

Posted by: tuliptree | December 1, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

They should have been arrested on the spot. They should not be on the streets right now. They trespassed and posed a security risk. If they were a different color, they would be in jail right now.

Now Fenty? that's a different story. They shouldn't have wasted the money for postage on that invitation.

Posted by: candycane1 | December 1, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who's invited to the White House or any event with the President of the United States keeps it on their person and save it for years to come to show.

The first time I had the pleasure of being invited to an event at a Governor's Mansion I took my invitation with me to make sure there was no confusion that I was on the list and suppose to be their. I still have the invitation.

Posted by: rlj1 | December 1, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Michaele Salahi is not a "Real Housewife of DC". Does she live in the District? No. Did she have an invitation to the White House? No. Is she a phony? Yes.

Posted by: Greg42 | December 1, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

these 2 know their way around a scandal; clearly they think it was their entree to a realty show paycheck.
The biggest loss here will be if Dir. Sullivan has to fall on the sword for the conniving antics these sorry pathetic wannabees!!!!

Posted by: 35fmom | December 1, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a tux and I doubt that I would fit in. But even I would like to take my wife to one.

What a gift for her.

You can not do any better than that.

It would be nice.

Posted by: gary4books | December 1, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Look, these losers won't be sneaking into any Washington events in the future ... except perhaps a birthday party for a seven-year-old held at McDonald's. The most interesting thing to me about this story is: how did they get in? Was it because the self-absorbed social secretary did not stand at the door and check invites? Or did they have help on the inside? It will be interesting to see what they find out. I hope this couple is charged criminally, and I think the fitting punishment would be if the judge said they could not profit in any way from this experience, nor could they be contestants on any reality shows for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: dramaticlookcat | December 2, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I hear they're writing an autobiography:

"The Audacity of Grift".

Posted by: postfan1 | December 2, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I also watched the "Today Show" interview, and concluded that neither of them would qualify as masters of the English language. While the broadcast and print media have given them too much air time and too many column inches, they have been revealed for what they are...frauds. Perhaps the Salahis' conduct was simply premised upon their belief that there would be no consequences...I hope they were wrong.

Posted by: sfeuerb | December 3, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, they might be non-starters with regards to the English language, but they sure pulled one over on supposedly very smart people who now still struggle to wipe the egg off their faces.
I think what they did was great. I wish I could get into one of those dinners, just once in my life, at a house I own along with all of my fellow citizens, for a dinner I pay for with my taxes. We never get invited to anything, do we? Yet we pay and pay and pay.
They crashed a fancy dinner at a house we all own.
Who cares? They Secret Service should be begging for them to say how they did it, because obviously the agency is bereft of brains. Security is poor around our President, and we need to not only know that, but do something about it.
Let them be poster-children for change.
The Salahi's should not be charged at all. And, what would you charge them with, exactly? Some sort of misdemeanor? Trespassing on Federal land we all own? They caused no disturbance and weren't even found out until the next day.
The White House needs to look in the mirror for the answers here, not at the Salahi's.
Get a grip. We're in war-time here and people hate us. The important thing is to keep our President and his cabinet safe, which we seem unable to do.
Once again, we look like the idiots we are.
Can't wait till China calls in some markers next year.....we really give no one any great reasons to have faith in us. My God, we can't even manage to protect our own President.
Unbelievable.

Posted by: Forked427 | December 4, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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