Celebrities, Dignitaries Attend State Dinner for British PM
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron at the Grand Staircase of the White House March 14, 2012.
March 14th, 2012
11:08 PM ET

Celebrities, Dignitaries Attend State Dinner for British PM

Concluding the official visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Washington D.C., the president and first lady hosted Cameron and his wife at a State Dinner on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday evening. As yet another signifier of the importance of the so-called special relationship between the U.S. and Great Britain, the White House opted for a full State Dinner despite the fact that the dinner’s honoree is the head of the British government and not its head of state.

During the toasts, both leaders mixed humor with sincerity in expressing the importance of their friendship and the close relationship between the nations they lead.

“In all of our interactions, including today, I've learned something about David,” President Obama said. “In good times and in bad he's just the kind of partner that you want at your side. I trust him. He says what he does and he does what he says. I've seen his character, and I've seen his commitment to human dignity during Libya. I've seen his resolve, his determination to get the job done, whether it's righting our economies or succeeding in Afghanistan.”

For his turn Cameron also pointed to Obama's foreign policy successes in killing Osama bin Laden and aiding opposition forces in Libya to commend the president for his “strength, moral authority and wisdom.”

“Barack, it is an honor to call you an ally, a partner and a friend,” Cameron said. “You don't get to choose the circumstances you have to deal with as a president or a prime minister, and you don't get to choose the leaders that you have to work with, but all I can say is that it is a pleasure to work with someone with moral strength, with clear reason and with fundamental decency in this task of renewing our great national alliance for today and for the generations to follow.”

To lighten the mood, Obama read some press accounts of his visit to London in 2011, during which he and Cameron exchanged beers from their native countries, hosted a barbeque for service members and played table tennis with local students.

“One news story said David Cameron and Barack Obama cemented their special relationship by hitting the bottle,” Obama said to laughter from the crowd.

In a reference to their poor performance in table tennis Obama quoted another press account, “One newspaper asked the head coach of the British Olympic women’s team to critique our performance. Obama, the coach said, talked a lot, and David over-hits the ball. Both of them, I’m quoting here, looked a little confused.”

The leaders addressed a tent full of notable Americans and Brits from the fields of politics, entertainment, activism, business and the military. Along with numerous cabinet secretaries and British officials, conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was in attendance, as was Utah’s Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

Stars of the popular PBS drama Downton Abbey, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern attended the dinner, along with British actor Idris Elba and American movie star George Clooney – who dined beside the first lady.

Activists from the LGBT community were also strongly represented, including newly minted president of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin, Gill Foundation founder Tim Gill, blogger Andrew Sullivan, philanthropist David Bohnett, columnist Jonathan Capehart and top Obama campaign bundlers Wally Brewster, Jr. and Robert Satawake.

From the business world, the guest list included British designer and senior vice president of Apple Inc. Sir Jony Ive, chairman and chief executive officer of Ernst & Young James S. Turley and billionaire founder of The Virgin Group Richard Branson.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Sponge-Bob

    Looks like a who's who list of famous lefties and democrat bundlers.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • Howard

      While Americans are suffering at the pumps, looking for work, and watching their home values sink, Obama responds with another self promotional propaganda movie, called "The Road Weve Traveled", which once again, pitches Obama as our savior, and the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's time for Americans to save our country, and kick this lying charlatan out of the White House !!!

      March 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • jerry

        dont worry only the hard line obama cool aid drinkers and blacks will buy into this...they will see it as propaganda as it is...46% of Americans will not vote for obama period! And the rest know who/what he is and many of them don't like it!

        March 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • jean2009

      @ joey I wouldn't call Antonin Scalia a lefty.

      March 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • jean2009

      I also wouldn't call a Braten 1000 Grill that sells for a couple grand even before it is customized a chintzy gift.

      March 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Name*Liz Carter

      Who else do you expect the guest to be...the GOP bundlers and Who's Who's?

      March 15, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  2. judy

    well sponge who would you invite a bunch of right wing idiots. They wanted to be able to have intellegent conversation at this state dinner not name calling and people bashing. Looks like a good diverse group of people with a great menu featuring veggies from the white house garden. Something we havent had since ww2

    March 15, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  3. Lefty

    George Clooney got to sit by Michelle? How much did he have to pay for that? He's just an actor.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  4. jerry

    ALL the big money raisers and bundlers were there...the leftist of America. Poor Cameron, he is a conservative and can not stand obama or his politics...but it is a job. Obama has about 250 milliion so far way way below his one billion...and Romney has the banks and wall street and most of corp America pulling for him....

    The Iranian crisis is going to eat obama's lunch...the rising oil prices...Barack obama dropped the ball back in 2009 when he had a chance to support the Green Revolution in Iran and stop the nukes...instead he did not want to anger the Mullas thinking he would talk them out of the nukes later...an overstatement from a narcissistic community organizer who got where he is because he is a salesman at heart and a marxist idelog to the bone. The obama presidency is comming down...and it will soon be so obvious even the main stream media will have to report it.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • The REAL Truth

      Jerry – ALL the big money raisers and bundlers were there...the leftist of America. Poor Cameron, he is a conservative and can not stand obama or his politics...but it is a job
      And you know Cameron can't stand Obama because ? Oh, right.. 'cus you can't? I guess that makes it right.

      March 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  5. jerry

    Michaell is wider than all of them...wow!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Name*Liz Carter

      @Jerry, what is your problem? There are many American women who wish for her body shape and style!! No Fat...No Where!! Just built and tight!! Many 'real' American men like it too....they'd give anything for their wives or girlfriends to be built like she is...OK?? She's built like a stallion black woman! She sure isn't a Mrs Barbara Bush! My goodness! No offence Mrs Bush...just making a point to a clown!!

      March 16, 2012 at 12:09 am |
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    May 30, 2012 at 4:23 am |