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. big belly Mike

    What a shocker! Obama acting like a little whimp like he does to all the other foreign leader! Is he going to bow down again? I hope there isn't too much salt and fat in this Mexican food that they're serving! Or else Michelle is going to intervene! Go back to Mexico you liberals! And bring Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Moore w/ you!

    May 19, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Chotiwala

    Uh huh, and how many tax-payers' dollars went toward that?

    May 19, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Linda

    If the number of illegals went down as Obama is saying came from the border patrol, who have their hands tied, how come we only had less than 7,000,000 10 years ago, (the numbers change with the politician) now we have around 40,000,000, according to Mexicans themselves. Obama is the worst kind of politician.

    May 19, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Chris

    With all of the problems going on in our country right now shouldn't lavish parties for the already rich be cut from the budget? An entertainment tent? Is this really necessary? This is such a waste of taxpayers money. They are cutting public school's budgets all over the place while Uncle Sam pays for this huge dinner and party straight out of some MTV awards show. This is a ridiculous waste of a lot of money.

    May 19, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Jeff Sturm

    Rick Bayless is a fantastic chef and I'm sure he will rock the menu tonight!

    May 19, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. John D

    Let's deport all the illegals at the state dinner tonight!

    May 19, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. Obama the liar

    serve them Mexican water too.

    May 19, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I am so proud of President Obama and the First Lady. They are truly genuine people who would make anyone feel welcome. Thank God we have them now, more than ever. After 8 years of a disasterous Bush Presidency, it is so nice to see how REAL leaders act. I think the Republicans need to be held accountable for the fact that they have offered nothing and fought against any effort to save this country from economic ruin.

    Have a wonderful dinner! I'm sure it will be beautiful.

    May 19, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. ib

    There goes Obama bowing down to the Mexicans. It would be a good time to have a dinner on a US theme not Mexican. They need to take their illegals back home with them. We need to stop giving them everything but Obama wants their votes; that's all he sees.

    May 19, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. capt snarky

    Do they have People scaling the fence in order to cash in on the free food, sell drugs and kill/kidnap people????

    That'd be a LOT like the Mexican Theme occuring on the border right now, now wouldn't it?

    May 19, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. capt snarky

    Do they have People scaling the fence in order to cash in on the free food, sell drugs and kill/kidnap people????

    That'd be a LOT like the Mexican Theme occuring on the border right now, now wouldn't it?

    May 19, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Fitz in Texas

    What a waste of taxpayer money. People out of jobs with no money and this administration waste money on this.

    Ever read Mexico's immigration laws...check this one out...

    "* Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets "the equilibrium of the national demographics," when foreigners are deemed detrimental to "economic or national interests," when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws, and when "they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy." (Article 37)

    The part regarding "their presence upsets the equilibrium of the national demographics" sounds pretty racist to me. If Obama and Calderon think the AZ immigration law is so bad, maybe they would be happier if our immigration laws here in the United States mirrored those in Mexico.

    Obama and this administration is a JOKE!

    May 19, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. Jason

    Mr President.

    WHY are you bowing to the Mexican leader? HIS law is much harsher than the Arizona law. Mexico's ILLEGAL immigration law states that anyone in Mexico ILLEGALLY faces a FELONY with 1+ year in prison. In my home state of Arizona its a misdemeanor with a $100 fine!

    STOP allowing Mexico to craft OUR immigration policies!

    Mr Calderon YOU LIE!!

    May 19, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. Bobo

    The White House should use a Mexican theme, afterall they are the defacto government of Mexico.

    May 19, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. It's Funny

    People come here and we cater to them. Latinos come here and expect us to learn their language. The president of Mexico comes here and we cater to his Mexican roots.

    When the president of our country goes to another country for a dinner, does that country tribute America? Probably not.

    We are losing our American pride right from under us and you liberals don't see it.

    May 19, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    The reason the vast majority of illegal immigrants come to our country is to work.

    Why? Because American individuals and companies large and small are more than willing to break the law and hire illegal immigrants. These employers don't care that they are lowering wages of legal citizens and putting people out of work. All they care about is saving money by paying cash under the table and not having to pay FICA, disability insurance, OSHA, etc.

    Mexico and other countries of origin have very little incentive to create more economic opportunities for their citizens in terms of education, work and infrastructure.

    Between all the hard American currency flowing into their countries from their citizens working in the US illegally, and all the drug money generated by all the American addicts, Mexico and these other countries DON'T NEED to do anything.

    It's time the US cracked down on those who hire illegal immigrants and start putting pressure on the Mexican (and other) government to step up and start taking care of their people!

    May 19, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. Jeff Spangler

    Give us your drugs, your gangs, your smuggled masses yearning to mow lawns.

    May 19, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. joe smith

    very nice, as Americans, we have always extended the hand of friendship, and sencerety to those who visit our country, and welcome freedom loveing peoples from all ends of the earth. To bad our guest has used his visit to criticize decisions made by our people, attempting to serve our people for the greater good. He, we might suggest, develope a strategy to improve his economy, that his people would not have a reason to break our laws coming here. Funny, we never hear about our neighbors to the North, ( the Canadians ), digging tunnels into the USA, they just cross legally, at the border crossings, hum..

    May 19, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. oldtimer

    With any luck Calderon will take all his Illegals back home with him. Obama should also hand him a bill for services rendered for the Illegals for last year. Should be about a 300+billion bill that the taxpayers payed to have them here.

    May 19, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Townes

    Since the American people paid for that dinner, You tell Calderon to take back all his Trespassing Mexicans felons when he leaves. You will not institute the North American union here chumps. Go be a butterfly.

    May 19, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  21. Goofus

    What the mexicans have done is not immigration ; it is invasion enmass ! All the weepy idealism will not change that ! They do not plan on assimilating rather they set up little Mexicos all over the US! Scream rights all you want but until they becme citizens the illegals have no rights!

    May 19, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Chad from Tampa

    What happens if I decide to cross the border into Mexico? 10 years in a Mexican prison.

    May 19, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. JES

    I guess Obama will bow down do and tell the Mecican President that he is doing a great job of keeping his people from coming over our borders. Sorry I am wron they provide maps and places to get free help at our expense.

    Way to go Obama you continue to do a great job for every other country but ours your is in another country.

    We continue to act like a third world country bowing down and saying how wrong we are for trying to promote freedom in the rest of the world.

    May 19, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  24. Hammerer

    Maybe Obama should move to Mexico and work his sham for them. They are in favor of all government handouts. He would be a perfect leader for them.
    He is not doing to well in America!

    May 19, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  25. DENNA

    I hope everyone has a wonderful time. Our elegant President and First Lady are class personified. I saw a glimpse of her gown and it is amazing and she looks amazing in it.

    May 19, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
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