Welcome to the State Dinner
October 13th, 2011
11:24 PM ET

Welcome to the State Dinner

President  Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his wife Kim Yoon-ok in the Cross Hall as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House.

Topics: South Korea • State Dinner • The Visuals
Who got a ticket to the State Dinner?
Notable attendees at tonight's State dinner include former tennis great Billy Jean King - shown here receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Aug. 12, 2009; CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley - shown speaking at the CBS Evening News Presentation on Aug. 3, 2011; and actor John Cho - shown attending The OxFam Party on Nov. 18, 2010. (Suzanne Malveaux/CNN; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; and Getty Images for Esquire House)
October 13th, 2011
06:33 PM ET

Who got a ticket to the State Dinner?

Below is a list of expected attendees at tonight’s State Dinner.

The President and Mrs. Obama

His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea
Mrs. Kim Yoon-ok

Mr. Charles C. Adams, Jr., Geneva, Switzerland
Mrs. Vera Risteski-Adams

Ms. Angella Ahn, Performer, Bozeman, MT
Mr. Michael P. Moore

Ms. Lucia Ahn, Performer, New York, NY
Mr. Christiaan P. Ahn

Ms. Maria Ahn, Performer, New York, NY
Ms. Young Joo Rhee, Cliffside Park, NJ

The Honorable Brooke Anderson, Washington, DC

Topics: South Korea • State Dinner • The Buzz
Speaker Boehner pushes back over the phone
Photographs of a phone call between President Obama and Speaker Boehner on April 8, 2011 (White House and Office of Speaker John Boehner)
October 13th, 2011
06:24 PM ET

Speaker Boehner pushes back over the phone

Sometime this afternoon President Obama made a phone call to House Speaker John Boehner to congratulate him on passing the three free trade agreements sent over to congress earlier this month. But according to a readout released by the speaker’s office, the call quickly became a bit more confrontational when Boehner challenged the president on some comments made earlier today at his press conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

When asked by CNN’s Jessica Yellin about his decision not to negotiate with Republicans on Capitol Hill over the details of his jobs plan, President Obama returned to some of the rhetoric he’s been using on the road in recent weeks, challenging Republicans to come up with their own proposals if they refuse to support his. Here’s what the president said:

Frankly, we have not seen a lot of ideas coming forward from Republicans that would indicate that same kind of commitment to job creation. If they do - if Senator McConnell or Speaker Boehner say to me, you know what, we want to get some infrastructure built-in this country, we think that putting construction workers back to work is important - I’ll be right there.  We’ll be ready to go.

I don’t think the problem here, Jessica, is that I have not been unwilling to negotiate with Republicans.  I've shown repeatedly my willingness to work overtime to try to get them to do something to deal with this high unemployment rate.  What we haven’t seen is a similar willingness on their part to try to get something done.  And we’re not going to wait around and play the usual political games here in Washington, because the American people are desperate for some relief right now.

Well, during the phone call this afternoon Boehner challenged the president’s characterization of Republican inaction. Here’s the speaker’s office readout of the call: FULL POST

State Dinner entertainment
October 13th, 2011
06:13 PM ET

State Dinner entertainment

The White House will host entertainment in the State Dining Room following the dinner in the East Room, featuring performances by the Ahn Trio and selections by Janelle Monáe.

Angella Ahn, Violin
Lucia Ahn, Piano
Maria Ahn, Cello

Janelle Monáe, Vocals
Terrence Brown, Keyboard
Kellis Parker Jr., Guitar
Michael Phillips, Drums
Jonathan Webb, Bass
Lance Powlis, Trumpet
Marcus Lewis, Trombone

Topics: South Korea • State Dinner • The Buzz • The Visuals
What's for dinner?
October 13th, 2011
05:53 PM ET

What's for dinner?

The President and Mrs. Obama will host His Excellency President Lee Myung-bak and Mrs. Kim Yoon-ok for a State Dinner on the night of October 13th, 2011. The State Dinner will be held in the East Room of the White House. White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses have constructed the evening’s menu using local ingredients, including produce grown in the White House Kitchen Garden.

A Fall Harvest Dinner
The Korea State Dinner Menu is a celebration of an early Fall Harvest. Last week, on October 5, the First Lady and local students from Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools in Washington, DC worked together to harvest vegetables in the White House Kitchen Garden as part of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Vegetables from that harvest are highlighted in this evening’s dinner and perennial herbs from the garden are used throughout the meal.

Local Menu Selection
The first course, Butternut Squash Bisque, represents the best in local, seasonal fare: the dish is light yet robust and features the scents of fall. It includes squash from the White House Kitchen Garden and honey from the White House beehive. The Early Fall Harvest Salad, featuring daikon sheets and masago rice pearl crispies, is a nod to Korean traditions, and includes greens from the White House Kitchen Garden. The main dish features wagyu beef from a Texas ranch, fresh kale from a DC-area source and squash from the White House Kitchen Garden. The dessert features a classic recipe of chocolate cake layered with a harmonious blend of Korean and American pears.

First Course
Butternut Squash Bisque, Honey Poached Cranberries,
Virginia Cured Ham, Pumpkin Seed Praline, Crème Fraiche

Second Course
Early Fall Harvest Salad on Daikon Sheets,
Masago Rice Pearl Crispies, Rice Wine Vinaigrette

Main Course
Texas Wagyu Beef, Orange-Ginger Fondue,
Sauteed Kale, Roasted Kabocha Squash

Chocolate Malt Devils Food Layers
With Pear and Almond Brittle

An American wine will be paired with each course

Topics: South Korea • State Dinner • The Buzz • The Visuals
Paging the White House blooper reel
October 13th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Paging the White House blooper reel

Not every White House events runs smoothly, especially one that involves hundreds of people on a soggy South Lawn. Such was the case Thursday when the president formally welcomed South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

First, White House officials scrapped the outdoor event as rain continued to fall in the early morning hours, only to reverse course last minute and hold the ceremony on the South Lawn as planned.

But while conditions initially looked to be improving, the skies soon opened up again just as the South Korean President arrived in his motorcade. Meanwhile a driver in the motorcade appeared confused over where to stop on the White House driveway and then proceeded to clip a television cable that temporarily disrupted the feed of the event.

When the motorcade finally came to a stop in the right position, a military guard had trouble opening the door of President Lee’s limo, taking more than 11 seconds for the South Korean president and his wife to emerge as President Obama and the more-than 300 guests looked on in silence.

Things didn’t exactly smooth out from there. As President Lee was walking to the stage, he bumped his head on a large umbrella. Then, as the two presidents greeted guests, a large speaker began to fall toward them - prompting Obama to quickly balance it with his hands.

As the ground continued to grow soggy, the two men cut short their greet time with guests, opting instead to take cover inside rather than make the rounds across the entire lawn.

It’s safe to say the press conference later today will be indoors.

- CNN’s Virginia Nicolaidis contributed to this report.

Topics: President Obama • The News
Campaign Corner: Obama, DNC raise $70M
October 13th, 2011
08:31 AM ET

Campaign Corner: Obama, DNC raise $70M

As predicted, Obama campaign officials were indeed lowering expectations when they predicted a couple weeks ago the campaign would only raise $55 million during the third quarter. Still, the $70 million cash haul ($42.8 of which goes to the Obama campaign and the rest to the Democratic National Committee) is significantly less than the $86 million that was raised in the quarter before. The Obama camp chalks up the lower dollar figure to the fact the president was not able to fundraise during most of the summer do to the debt ceiling debate.

The latest info from CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn:

Washington (CNN) – Exceeding the expectations some Democrats had set, the Obama re-election campaign raised $42.8 million in the period running from July through the end of September, an Obama campaign aide told CNN.

Overall, the campaign announced Thursday it and the Democratic National Committee brought in more than $70 million in the third quarter of fundraising.

Some Democratic sources had earlier said they expected the combined total to be $55 million.


Topics: President Obama
Previewing the South Korean visit
October 13th, 2011
08:11 AM ET

Previewing the South Korean visit

You've probably heard by now the South Korean president is making an official state visit to the White House today.  Here is the CNN Wire's preview of the day:

(CNN) - President Barack Obama welcomes his South Korean counterpart to the White House on Thursday, a day after Congress approved a free-trade agreement between the two nations.

Congress voted Wednesday on a bipartisan basis to pass free-trade bills with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

"This visit will highlight the strong alliance, the global partnership, and the deep economic ties between the United States and the Republic of Korea," the White House said in a statement.

Topics: President Obama
POTUS' Day Ahead: Welcoming South Korea
October 13th, 2011
07:51 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: Welcoming South Korea

Good morning from the White House. It's a busy day of diplomacy here as President Obama welcomes South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the White House in an official State visit. The festivities begin at 9:00 a.m., when the official welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House will take place.

Later, Obama and Vice President Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Lee in the Oval Office, and then a larger meeting with the president's and other members of the delegation in the Cabinet Room.

At 12:20 p.m., the two leaders will go before cameras for an official press conference where the format will likely be limited to two questions each from members of the American and South Korean Press.

But the real pomp and circumstance will happen this evening, when the president and first lady host an official state Dinner for South Korea - the first in honor of that country in 13 years.

Full schedule after the jump