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Obama's dinner for Manmohan Singh turns into a hottest ticket

world Updated: Nov 20, 2009 16:25 IST
Highlight Story

The White House's State Dinner for the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has turned the most sought after ticket in the US capital, but with officials keeping mum on the guest list, it's not known who is in and who is out.

There is a silence from the White House on what's on the menu for the first State Dinner by President Barack Obama or even where it is being held? But the clues are there.

But a massive white tent coming up in the White House' South Lawns is a clear giveaway.

As the silence fuelled speculation, the White House finally broke the silence to let out the closely guarded secret saying that the dinner would be held under the massive tent instead of the ornate state dining room.

The tent option has been picked up as the guest list mushroomed and instead of 120, which the ornate room can accommodate, the Obamas are inviting close to 400 people for their first State Dinner on November 24.

But the question who have made it and how many of the seats would be filled by Hollywood and Bollywood and what would be on the table still remains mystery.

The capital's buzz said that former President Bill Clinton will not make it, but his wife Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, would be there along with members of Obama cabinet, including the Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, too has been invited to the State Dinner along with host of Indian American leaders from across the country.

Large number of Indian Americans working in Obama administration including the actor Kal Penn -- associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Media personalities like CNN's Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zakaria and Raju Narisetti of The Washington Post are among the likely invitees.

Clinton White House veteran Jack Quinn told Politico that attending a State Dinner is "one of the things that makes working in the White House a very special opportunity." India's status as President Obama's first state dinner special guests (and President George W Bush's last) is due to their strategic importance to the United States.

"It's a huge economy. And we've heard a lot in the last decade about the growth of China, how important it is in the world and the global economy," Quinn told the Politico.

But the one major mystery remains whether talk show maven Oprah Winfrey would huddle with guest under the big top.