May 19th, 2010
06:36 PM ET
13 years ago

White House incorporates Mexican themes for State Dinner


 The scene is set for the second State Dinner of the Obama presidency. Pictured here is the entertainment tent. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - America's first couple welcomed their Mexican counterparts Wednesday to the second State Dinner of the Obama administration, a night of pomp and ceremony that both leaders hope will demonstrate the important relationship between the North American neighbors.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, dressed in a flowing blue gown, welcomed Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife at the White House steps as a military honor guard saluted and media cameras clicked and whirred.

In an unrehearsed moment, a White House aide slipped while walking out with the Obamas before their guests arrived, and both the president and first lady immediately called out, "Don't take that picture," to the media gallery.

The more than 200 invited guests, including diplomats, White House officials and celebrities including actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Eva
Longoria-Parker, arrived through a separate entrance for the Mexican-themed dinner and musical performances.

Obama must certainly hope the focus this time will be on the event itself, rather than gate-crashers who dominated the media coverage of his first State Dinner in November. This time, the White House promises enhanced security measures to keep out the uninvited.

There will be marzipan and chocolate flowers, tables bedecked in three shades of blue to resemble rippling water, and a separate tent decorated to look like Monarch butterflies in flight for after-dinner music by Beyonce and others.

The dinner in the East Room will be the eighth honoring Mexico, all since 1967, reflecting the growing importance of the U.S. southern neighbor in the past half-century.

According to background information from the White House, guests will sit at tables for 10, some rectangular and some round. The head table with both first couples will seat 20 people.

"Tables will be covered in boldly striped linens made in three hues of Mayan blue," the document said. "The colors resemble ripples of water."

Floral centerpieces involve gilded handmade woven baskets, with bouquets of fuchsia flowers, including roses, orchids and prickly pear cactus.

The china, from the White House collection, will be from the Clinton and Eisenhower presidencies for a meal accenting both American and Mexican cuisine. Guests will dine on jicama and fruit in a citrus vinaigrette and ceviche of Hawaiian opah, followed by Oregon beef in Oaxacan black mole with black bean tamalon and grilled green beans.

Dessert will be a chocolate cajeta tart with toasted homemade marshmallows, graham cracker crumble and goat cheese ice cream.

After the meal, the diners will move into a tent erected on the South Lawn to be joined by additional guests for performances by pop star Beyonce and Mexican performers Rodrigo y Gabriela, along with the President's Own United States Marine Band.

In a tribute to Calderon's birthplace of Michoacan, Mexico, where the Monarch butterfly makes its annual pilgrimage from Canada each spring, guests walking into the tent "will experience the sense of Monarch butterflies in flight," the White House said.

Tables in the tent will be decorated in natural shades of oranges and greens, with a bouquet of marzipan and chocolate flowers: roses, the national flower of the United States, and dahlias, the national flower of Mexico.

Filed under: Mexico • White House
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Out of Touch

    This picture says it ALL with this current administration!! We are in a recession (probably a depression) and here they are spending money that we don't have making "nicey" with the Mexican President who has the audacity to come over here and comment on OUR immigration policies!!!!! Geez, his country is so wonderful that everyone wants to BREAK THE LAW to slip into our country? I don't see ANY U. S. Citizen running to get into Mexico. He's afraid that all of the money that the illegals pour back into Mexico will come to a screeching halt. HE needs to get some backbone and deal with his own people breaking international laws! These people are unbelievable and DEFINITELY out of touch with the AMERICAN PEOPLE!! Let's get real.......

    May 19, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. John - NY former Independent now Libertarian

    Screw the Mexicans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Send them back on freight car.

    May 19, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  3. Marvin

    While you are celebrating our surrender and the invasion of Mexicans into our country continues, Americans of all races and ethnic groups still need jobs Mister Obama !!!

    May 19, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. Ryan

    I'm glad that my tax dollars are going to pay for Whoopi's dinner. That's just what we need to be paying for. Jeesh, and they wonder why voters are angry.

    May 19, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. jeff jackson, alabama

    I speak as a Republican when I say this.
    I agree with some of Obama's ideas.
    I disagree with most of Obama's ideas,
    But there's one thing for sure, he certainly
    over married. The president over kicked his
    coverage when he tied the knot.
    As most democrats didn't care for George
    Bush but they liked Laura,
    I think the same is true for Obama and his
    classy First Lady as far as Republicans are

    May 19, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. joec

    Its a sad day in American history when a sitting potus backs a foreign head of state(Calderone) about Arizona's new immigration law. If the federal govt had done its job, Arizona wouldnt have to pass their own. Just read Mexico's immigration laws and then you'll realize Arizona's not bad at all. I will definitely be changing my vacation plans from California to Arizona.

    May 19, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  7. Our nation is divided and on the brink

    Wow! this just may stir up the ire of the peasants. Should the media even be reporting on such extravagance? And what is the unemployment rate at, presently? Ah! "Let 'em eat cake!"

    May 19, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  8. Obamadable Snowman

    Great, have them take all the illegals back with them!!!

    May 19, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. Layla

    Party on, gang. Don't let it bother you that millions are losing their jobs and homes.

    In November you will be removed and held accountable. You are disgusting.

    May 19, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
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