Typically, if you're a hob-knobbing Washington bigwig, you get to actively mingle with the President and First Lady at fancy parties. But not so with the Obamas! They are far more guarded, which has enraged the swells of the capital.
This is the crux of a story in Women's Wear Daily today, all about how usually when you go to political mixers or boxed luncheons or whatever else the special people of D.C. go to, they get to feel extra special by casually chatting with a free-range First Couple. But the Obamas, well the D.C. riffraff is apparently too uncouth for them and their fancy Chicago ways, so they stand behind a velvet rope in a fixed spot at every party and do their socializing from there.
Instead of welcoming guests in a formal receiving line with a White House photographer on hand to help visitors capture their historic moment, or simply strolling through the Red, Blue and Green rooms chatting informally with invitees, the Obamas prefer to stand in a designated spot, such as one end of the East Room or in the Grand Foyer, safely positioned behind a red velvet rope. The kind of red velvet rope clubs use to keep out the riffraff. From there, the presidential couple smiles, chats, makes eye contact and waves as their guests jockey for position to touch their hands. No mingling.
"For a campaign rally, sure, that's fine. But not for the White House,'' says one museum board member who, like many, requested anonymity. "Every president - Bill Clinton, both Bushes, the Reagans - they would always have a quick receiving line. Each couple would be formally announced. A few words would be exchanged. But this President thinks he is such a rock star. It's like he's inviting guests to the White House just to snub them."
This is a nasty outrage! Alert Sally Quinn! Heavens, these horrid people! Just terrible, those Obamas. How dare they not let people fawn and grope them openly.
What's even worse is that at New York parties, like the one with a bevy of cool fashion designers plus Sarah Jessica Parker that Michelle Obama is going to tonight, the President and his wife freely walk around and chat with the other guests. So apparently it's just at D.C. functions that they do the weird little holding pen thing. How embarrassing! Hollywood For Ugly People is so upset! Everyone in town would call this behavior "elitist", if only calling someone else an elitist didn't imply that you somehow weren't an elitist. Because these people definitely want to be elitists. The whole thing is just so terrible. It's the worst thing happening in Washington.