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Sasha Obama - and Dad - Sink Rahm Emanuel


White House press secretary Robert Gibbs goes splash in the dunk tank at the luau for members of Congress and their families. June 25, 2009. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


Updated 9:14 p.m.
Sasha Obama was the star of the first-ever White House luau, wowing the crowd with a pitch so tough that the 8-year-old sank her dad's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, in the dunking booth, according to Sleuth informants who were there.

Dad, wearing a purple lei, followed suit, sinking Rahm on his first try.

President Obama took the tradition of the annual White House picnic for members of Congress into uncharted territory tonight. There were hula dancers in grass skirts, fire dancers, inflatable sharks floating in the pond, volleyball and a feast of Hawaiian delicacies.

And there was plenty of arm-twisting going on behind the scenes at the party on the South Lawn in hopes of getting enough members of Congress to jump aboard and support the president's energy cap-and-trade bill, which he hopes the House will take up Friday before leaving for the Fourth of July recess.

Oh, just your typical scene at an everyday White House luau.

"Aloha!" Obama yelled out to his guests. "I wish I could have given you a trip to Hawaii. Given our budget crunch, we can't do that, so at least we can bring Hawaii to you." (The DJ played "Super Bad" by James Brown after the president finished speaking, according to a brief pool report of the event, which otherwise was closed to press.)

A very wet Rahm with a towel slung over his shoulders walked around the party and schmoozed with his old Hill colleagues, we're told. The Beach Boys blared over the speakers and guests sipped Mai Tais and nibbled on Lomi Lomi salmon, Kalua pig, BBQ baby back ribs and strawberry tiramisu and chocolate bars.

Emanuel wasn't the only victim chosen to occupy the wet seat tonight. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, Phil Schiliro, head of the White House legislative affairs office, and OMB Director Peter Orszag were also on tap for potential dunking by rival pols, and first children for that matter.

One guest at the luau "lost count" after Orszag was dunked for the 12th time.

The leader of the free world also sank Gibbs, though it took him a few tries. Eventually, he hit his target and his press secretary plopped into the water.

As if the press corp doesn't splash enough cold water on Gibbs during the ritualistic parry-and-thrust in the White House briefing room each day, they also were given the rare privilege of trying to sink him in the dunk tank before the start of the picnic, when they would be shooed off.

They asked, after all. And Gibbs obliged.

CBS correspondent Bill Plante hit his target on the first try, and Ben Feller sunk him on his third attempt. Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times "had the biggest wind-up" of any of the reporters, according to one White House aide, but she missed.

She was proud of her pitching arm, however, and boasted on her blog that she "came close." ("I always wanted to throw like the boys," she wrote.)

Obama watched from a nearby perch, but declined reporters' entreaties to join the fun. "He won't let me take a shot," Obama shouted.

The evening -- after the riffraff reporters were cleared out -- was a much looser affair than the White House congressional picnics of years gone by, according to those on the scene.

Even the typically stiff Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, had his tie loosened as he chatted with Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and her husband, Sidney Harman, said one eyewitness.

Spotted in Hawaiian shirts were Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), according to the press pool report.

Debbie Dingell, who attended the party with her husband, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), told us, "I haven't seen people just have a good time like that in a long time. And Republicans were having just as good a time as the Democrats were."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 25, 2009; 7:42 PM ET
 
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Comments

You know, having White House correspondents get a shot at the press secretary in a dunking booth ought to be an annual event. Lets hope this catches on.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | June 25, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the press isn't asking to see the new Obama fart house or something of substance, instead of playing around on the people's dole, buying slick's sell.
"Love Obama"
The new fart house at the Whitehouse would be a a major employment change for anyone insterested in supplying green fuel for the Whitehouse.
It would be the only jobs he has created.

Press attending should be embarrassed to be there.
Yes, that means you.

Posted by: dottydo | June 25, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I know he has been difficult for liberals, but Rep Dingell should have a D in front of that Mich

Posted by: anujgupta | June 25, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... maybe sasha understands Rahm is not good for her father.

Posted by: Pitt_Muscle | June 25, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Sasha honey. Move over and let uncle carl how to do that. Watch. Hold the head under the water until the bubbles almost stop. then let him up for a minute and ask him if he promises to be good and not ruin the country. You'll have to repeat 3 or 4 times because he'll lie at first. Just keep practicing.Our nice boys in cuba all the time and it doesn't hurt the bad man. OK. Now you try it.

Posted by: carlbatey | June 26, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

MILLIONS OUT OF WORK AND OVOMIT AND HIS SCUMBAG FAMILY IS HAVING PARTIES ON *OUR MONEY* - HE WAS A BLK POS IN HIS CAMPAIGN AND ALL BLK/GAY/EVERY OTHER COLOR THAN WHITE COULDN'T SEE HE WOULD RUIN THIS COUNTRY.

Posted by: Sparky15 | June 26, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad they could all have fun, but don't they realize that the whole country is in a recession unless you're in Washington D.C.? The money obviously still flows freely, right from my pocket to their coffers.

Posted by: modameister | June 26, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

sparky15 - you're afully bigoted for a 15 year old.

Posted by: paguy1 | June 26, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I suppose nobody sees how it says "ANNUAL" White House picnic? That means it happens ever year, for those who don't know what "annual" means. Nothing in DC happens just for fun; the Obamas are carrying on a long tradition of meetings disguised as parties. Plus, keeping up appearances is important. If you disagree, go ahead and hang out in your sweatpants all day and cry about how you lost your job, and see how soon you find a new one.

Posted by: kbennall | June 26, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

dottydo - one must assume you intended to call it a "frat" house, not fart.

Sparky15 - not sure if the 15 refers to your age or your IQ, but this is an annual (i.e.-yearly) event that every president holds. In case you haven't studied this part of elementary school civics, the president is given a budget to hold the numerous and various events that are expected of the POTUS. Doesn't matter who is in office, these things take place. Bet you weren't b itching when it was Bushie doin' it! (And he did.)

Posted by: alaskan2 | June 26, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This is what goes on in Washington all the time. As far as they are concerned we have no problems just the other citizens of the country do. We need money just get it from the government bank, if they don't have it then they will just print some. SOP.

Posted by: charlie448 | June 26, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I an happy to see a Good Man in the White House after 8 Years of WTF ?. Obama and His Staff are actually spending a Day having fun with all sides of the Political Spectrum. If You feel the desire to complain about Obama taking a Day to enjoy Himself with Friend's from both sides of the Aisle, Check out how many MONTHS Bush Spent on Vacation while Our Nation was crashing and burning.

Posted by: mcfarlan_k | June 26, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: alaskan2 | June 26, 2009 1:23 PM dottydo - one must assume you intended to call it a "frat" house, not fart.
you are not reading the full story:
The new fart house at the Whitehouse would be a a major employment change for anyone insterested in supplying green fuel for the Whitehouse.
green fuel=flatulence.
I'm thinking dotydo could run an entire state on her farts.
Please, do you think no ne else in America is having parties/barbeques? They may be not have the fare of past years but they are happening everywhere. Not enough $$-- have pot luck party. It is important to have gatherings during a down time. People should enjoy what they have in the USA. Beats living in Iran!!

Posted by: katerinaDeligiannis | June 26, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Fox is going to love this!

LOL!

Posted by: sasha2008 | June 26, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The Hawaiian Luau is the greatest "family" affair for the Republicans and Democrats. This shows that we can all get along. On the other hand, your Senators and Representatives are working day, night, and weekends to keep this country going. Can we say the same for someone whom I will not name?

Posted by: realitygirl2 | June 26, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this grand. Unemployment running out, thousands living in tents, their cars, electric being shut off - NEW hires at an astounding $12 an hour (IF LUCKY) foreclosures, can't afford doctor/ prescriptions etc and they're dunking each other yukking it up/ eating roast pig. Well at least they're eating one of their own. I can't imagine Gandhi or King being this insensitive to the people . Unbelievable.

Posted by: Yankee228 | June 26, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

IF YOU ARE CELEBRATING WITH FRIENDS, IT'S A PARTY. IF YOU ARE IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND NEED TO GET THINGS DONE, YOU WORK 24/7. THIS IS WORK. I BET A DOZEN MEETINGS WERE GOING ON AT ANY GIVEN TIME. THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY WORKS BETTER THAN THE BUSH YEARS OF DIVISIVENESS. THE GOOD OLD BOYS IN THE SENATE ARE STANDING FIRM LIKE MERCATS BUT THE HOUSE IS TRYING HARD TO LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS FINDING LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET FACE TO FACE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS THE AVERAGE ELECTED OFFICIAL HAS NOT WORKED THIS HARD IN YEARS. THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT READING REPORTS OF 300 PAGES. WE SHOULD EXPECT THEM TO DO THIS.
THE LAST ADMINISTRATION DID NOT EXPECT THEM TO READ AND ASK QUESTIONS.
EVEN HILLARY DID NOT READ BUSH'S MANDATE TO GO TO WAR BEFORE SHE APPROVED IT.

Posted by: sm98yth | June 28, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Reading the comments saddens me that there is so much prejudice still left in this country. The Obamas hosted a picnic that has been a tradition for many years and conducted business while doing so. This is the Washington culture. Presidents do not get their jobs done unless they work the system. Please, those of you who do not understand the system should be taking Civic 101 again if not for the first time.

Posted by: imeldaidar | June 29, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Sparky15, you are a fool. The president uses
his own money for all the food served in the
White House. He was spending money too,
something we want to do in a recession, you bozo!!
Also, as previously noted this is an annual
event meaning other presidents did it too!
Tell your buddies at the KKK meeting that the
US is doing just fine under Obama.
If hate were poison, and it is, you would be dead by now.

Posted by: nanooknw1102tm | June 29, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Very well Said Nanooknew1102.......

Posted by: FrankAdair | June 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

hey dottydo you are obviously beyond dotty-- although your favorite subject is obviously 'do' (in the other sense as in do-do) ergo you contribute nothing except another form of hot air & that = not 'do'-ing anything!!!

Posted by: neilo1 | June 29, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey -dear immeldairdar & alskan, katerina sm98yth & Co -gallant tries at well-deserved reprimands but u are wasting energy on moronic losers full of filthy prejudice -they should be 'dunked' too in the nearest latrine & flushed away -as unfortunately an excellent election result wasnt sufficient a cleanser!! These people are like toads under a stone (tho toads have more use) !!! When things are 'sunny' they stay out of sight but when it 'rains' they pop up to make a lot of noise!

Posted by: neilo1 | June 29, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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