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The White House: Party Central


President Obama talks with guests at a dinner for congressional leadership at the White House last Wednesday. (Pool Photo by Dennis Brack via Getty Images)

Looking to score an invitation to the White House? Might be a good idea to keep Wednesdays free.

Last Wednesday, President and Michelle Obama hosted a dinner for 200 congressional leaders and their spouses in the East Room. "This is a pretty big house, so we get lonely," the president joked. The week before, they honored Stevie Wonder with a glitzy tribute concert. Three weeks ago, the first lady invited the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock to perform. There have also been informal receptions -- cocktails and hors d'oeuvres -- for members of Congress and their spouses.

Why Wednesdays? It's the one night senators and representatives are typically in Washington instead of traveling to and from their districts. Most of the Obamas' parties have started in early evening, so everyone could come straight from the office and get home before the early news. (The president ducked out last week in time to tuck his daughters into bed.)

Will the midweek charm offensive work? Bill and Hillary Clinton hosted a number of small, private dinner parties when they first moved into the White House but were roundly criticized for refusing to disclose who, exactly, was on their guest lists. George and Laura Bush entertained infrequently -- but did get points for informality.

No invite yet? Stay cool. A White House official told us the parties are designed to give the Obamas and their guests time to get to know each other, and that the White House will host events on other nights of the week, too.

By The Reliable Source  |  March 9, 2009; 1:04 AM ET
 
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