March 14th, 2012
06:15 PM ET

Guess who is coming to dinner? The State Dinner.

The President and Mrs. Obama invited the following as guests to tonight's State Dinner.

The Right Honorable David Cameron, M.P. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Mrs. Samantha Cameron

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First lady reveals WH has a "teeny" kitchen
March 14th, 2012
04:41 PM ET

First lady reveals WH has a "teeny" kitchen

Mrs. Obama gave a short preview of tonight's State Dinner to a group of local students this afternoon in the State Dining Room.  Explaining the intricate dance required to serve dinner for 150 guests, the first lady described the kitchen to the audience.

"The White House is a big place, but the kitchen is really teeny. You wouldn't believe it - it's a little bitty kitchen, so they have to really man the engines to make it happen," Mrs. Obama explained.

Mumford and Sons, John Legend perform at State Dinner
March 14th, 2012
02:22 PM ET

Mumford and Sons, John Legend perform at State Dinner

The White House will host a State Dinner Performance on the South Lawn following the dinner, featuring performances by Mumford and Sons and selections by John Legend.

The theme of the décor for the United Kingdom State Dinner is “America’s Backyard.” Traditionally, America’s backyards are places of gathering and entertaining close friends and family. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom makes this “backyard” celebration a quintessentially American event.

Located in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House, the State Dinner encouraged a celebration of American gardens. The grounds of the White House are in clear view through the 150 foot-wide glass wall of the dinner tent. In honor of our guests, the beauty of countryside English gardens is also incorporated into the design by Rafanelli Events. Planters and centerpieces used at the dinner are intended to emulate nature and the flowing “landscape gardens” that are common in England. The English have also become widely known for their flower borders, with perennials, annuals, and sometimes shrubs combining to form masses of color. The design of the tent embraces this passion for color in the floral arrangements, lighting, amethyst linens and matching carpet. Roses—the national flower of both countries—play a major role in the floral arrangements.

Bison – It's what's for dinner!
photo credit: CNN / Emily Schultze
March 14th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

Bison – It's what's for dinner!

From the White House regarding the State Dinner menu:

The President and Mrs. Obama will host Prime Minister David Cameron and Mrs. Cameron for a State Dinner this evening. The State Dinner will be held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses have carefully constructed the evening’s menu using local ingredients, including produce grown in the White House Kitchen Garden.

A Winter Harvest Dinner:  The United Kingdom State Dinner takes its inspiration from the Kitchen Garden’s late winter harvest and some early spring greens, which chefs harvested the day before the dinner. The White House Kitchen Garden uses hoop houses—simple metal frames covered by plastic tarps—to grow produce throughout the winter months. During the day, the plastic traps heat from the sun, and at night that heat protects plants from freezing temperatures. Using this method, produce thrives in the White House Kitchen Garden throughout the year.
First Course

  • Crisped Halibut with Potato Crust
  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Applewood Smoked Bacon

Second Course

  • Spring Garden Lettuces,
  • Shallot Dressing, Shaved Breakfast Radish,
  • Cucumbers and Avocados

Main Course

  • Bison Wellington,
  • Red Wine Reduction, French Beans, Cipollini Onion

Dessert

  • Warm Meyer Lemon Steamed Pudding with Idaho Huckleberry Saucehttp://t.co/vtwE5Emt and Newtown Pippin Apples

An American wine will be paired with each course.

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Basketball bi-lat!
March 14th, 2012
07:13 AM ET

Basketball bi-lat!

(CNN) – Air Force One, Marine One and the armored motorcade aside, President Barack Obama treated British Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday to a typical American night out with the guys …and the Secret Service.

The two leaders headed out of Washington, DC to Dayton, Ohio to enjoy the beginning of March Madness, the NCAA college tournament.

As the two leaders ate hot dogs and chatted amiably, observers could see President Obama gesturing as he appeared to describe the game to the prime minister.

At a half time interview broadcast by CBS and TruTV (CNN and TruTV are owned by Time Warner), the president said he brought the prime minister to the game as a chance to see his very first basketball game but also "to see the great state of Ohio." Not said aloud but clear to all – a state that is likely to be a critical battleground in this year's presidential election.

The president said, "the heartland is what it's all about."

Prime Minister Cameron who was interviewed during the sports broadcast too described the game as "fast and furious" and confided the president told him he would help him set up his brackets. And the president said Cameron said he would teach him cricket.

Obama said that it is "terrific" that his alma mater Harvard earned a spot in the tournament this year but conceded "how far they go is a real question."

Cameron plugged the London summer Olympics inviting visitors and reporting all "is on time and on budget." Obama concluded the interview saying what really makes March Madness "wonderful" is that anybody, at least in the early contests, can attain his or her dream. And that's something the country can rally around.

A little touch up around the house
March 12th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

A little touch up around the house

The U.S. Park Service does a bit of painting here and there while preparing for the official visit of British P.M. David Cameron.

The British are coming! But is it a state visit?
March 12th, 2012
11:22 AM ET

The British are coming! But is it a state visit?

Washington (CNN) –Washington is rolling out the red carpet this week as Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha arrive Tuesday for an "official" visit culminated by a State Dinner at the White House.

But wait. Why is the British PM's visit merely "offficial" and not a "state" visit to match the state dinner in his honor? Simple Washington double-speak it turns out. Cameron is Britain's Prime Minister and is not the head of his country. That's Queen Elizabeth.

"It's really just terminology," Caitlin Hayden, Deputy National Security Council spokesman told CNN in an email.

Hayden said state visits are reserved for the "head of state" like Queen Elizabeth and "official visits" are for the head of government like Mr. Cameron. But she says they both get the same perks with one minor exception. FULL POST