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This just in: Ga. couple admitted to White House breakfast before Salahis' appearance

Gate-crashing: Is it contagious? Two weeks before the Salahis' infamous appearance at the state dinner, a Georgia couple accidentally showed up a day early for a White House tour -- and instead were escorted into an invitation-only breakfast with President Obama and the first lady, the Associated Press reports.

The White House says Harvey and Paula Darden's visit was a far cry from Tareq and Michaele Salahi's -- the Georgia retirees had already been background-checked by the Secret Service and were cleared for entry by the Office of Public Engagement -- the entity that put on the veterans' breakfast for 200 -- as a courtesy after they passed all the routine Secret Service security checks. Apparently, it's not unusual for guests cleared for tours to be ushered in to loftier events. Said an astonished Harvey Darden: "I was the only man in the room that wasn't dressed in a coat and tie. ... I was just a plain tourist."


By Doug Norwood  |  December 16, 2009; 12:01 AM ET
Categories:  This Just In... , White House crashers  
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Next: This just in: John Edwards, still under the microscope

Comments

w o w what a great story

Posted by: T-Prop | December 16, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

There was a time, a long time ago, when if you showed up for a tour, and it was mealtime, you were invited to a meal, at the Whitehouse!!! ~ It was only common courtesy!!!

Posted by: ArbuckleDoc | December 16, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I think it is terrific that an ordinary tourist can occasionally be allowed into special events at the White House for those already given an acceptable clearance and screened.

One problem every President has is simply being isolated from ordinary Americans, which makes it easy to overlook how average people think about current issues. Reading newspapers and magazines really does little more than let a President know what the Press thinks, and polls are only as good as the sample cooperation and the question design.

TV comedians think contact with ordinary audiences is so important to getting a feel for audience response to jokes that they appear at locations besides their own studios on occasion just to get a feel for audience response.

With comedians it is cheap to have them change performance locations, but for a President, it is often cheaper to move the audience to the President. White House tours go to a cross section of Americans with everyone having basically equal opportunity access if they can get to Washington, D.C. and plan ahead.

Posted by: SeniorMoment | December 16, 2009 2:38 AM | Report abuse

A few months back, two friends of mine were in Chicago on vacation. They went down to see the Obama house. Actually walk buy and take some pictures. While they were in front, two security guards (Secret Service?) came out of the house and my friends thought they were going to be asked to leave. The were VERY surprised to Instead be invited inside and were given a personal tour of the house and were allowed to take pictures. So things happen.

Posted by: unity2 | December 16, 2009 4:01 AM | Report abuse

The White House does not like empty seats.

Empty seats make the event and the Preseident look unimportant to whoever did not show up.

So if someone is there and cleared, why not seat them at otherwise unoccupied places.

Posted by: tommoran1 | December 16, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

How cool would it be to get invited in? This is of course nothing like gate crashing. they were cleared, and INVITED in. What god luck for them, and what a minor story. Which means we will we see it distorted and all over fox all day for a week.

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Posted by: huangzhixian171 | December 16, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, it's not unusual for guests cleared for tours to be ushered in to loftier events. Said an astonished Harvey Darden: "I was the only man in the room that wasn't dressed in a coat and tie. ... I was just a plain tourist."
----------------------------------------
So is he complaining, because he did say he was "in the room." Sounds like Harvey Darden should have said "thanks, but no thanks I'm not properly dressed to attend."

Posted by: Beingsensible | December 16, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

There was a time, before 9/11/2001 and before the Oklahoma City bombing where you just stood in line at the White House and got the White House tour and you contacted your Congressional Representative to get the VIP tour. The stand in line tour was the one everyone get's today but must be cleared ahead of time. The VIP tour was lead by a White House Docent and took you to many places that you can't go to at all today, such as the Lincoln Bedroom and sometimes depending on what was going on in the White House you might have even gotten to see some of the West Wing. Today, none of that is possible. To visit the White House today, you must be fully background checked by the US Secret Service.

Posted by: w2bsa | December 16, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: trident420 | December 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If I were Barack or Michelle I'd start locking the bathroom door.

Posted by: ddnfla | December 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

How cool would it be to get invited in? This is of course nothing like gate crashing. they were cleared, and INVITED in. What god luck for them, and what a minor story. Which means we will we see it distorted and all over fox all day for a week.
-----------------------------------------
Fox didn't distort this, the Post did. They're the ones that ran a headline that led you to beleive this was some sort of gate crashing, when it was anything but. I say good for the couple, bad for the Post. More and more the Post slpashes headlines that lead people to infer something sinister is afoot. Too bad those "Seven Principles by Which to Run a Paper" are not used anymore.

Posted by: thensell | December 16, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Damn socialist...Out looking for a free handout!

Posted by: Krazijoe | December 16, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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