D.C. party crashers get a cameo for second state dinner

Friday, May 21, 2010

WASHINGTON -- They just couldn't stay away.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the party crashers from the Obama administration's first state dinner, managed to get themselves a cameo on the fringes of the second.

The publicity-hungry couple were in a limousine that was stopped by a Secret Service officer just blocks from the White House on Wednesday night as the Obamas' second state dinner was underway inside. Their driver was ticketed after running a red light and signaling an intent to turn into a restricted area near the Ellipse, behind the White House, according to Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan.

The incident didn't seem to put a damper on the Salahis' spirits.

The northern Virginia couple and a group of friends next popped up at a restaurant a few blocks from the White House -- with photographers and cameras in tow.

"They had a great time with their friends," said Athina Balda, marketing manager for Kellari Taverna. "There were a lot of cameras and photographers."

Balda said the group of 10 to 12 people was there from about 7 to 9 p.m., and that there was a lot of filming going on.

It turns out the syndicated TV show "Inside Edition" was reporting on the Salahis that night, for a show airing in most parts of the country Thursday, according to "Inside Edition" spokeswoman Donna Dees.

The show's website has this promo: "You won't believe what the Salahis will be doing when the Obamas hold their second White House state dinner. On the D.C. party circuit with the notorious Salahis."

A source familiar with doings in the limo said there was no attempt to provoke an incident with the Secret Service, and that the encounter was not filmed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to discuss the encounter.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday he had no information to suggest that the Salahis were trying to get into the latest dinner.

"It seems to me like their 15 minutes of fame were up almost six months ago," Gibbs said.

The Salahis reportedly have landed a part on Bravo's upcoming reality TV show "The Real Housewives of DC," although the network is keeping up the tease about whether the couple made the cut.

The Salahis have been under investigation for talking their way into Obama's first state dinner last November even though they weren't on the guest list. The White House and Secret Service subsequently tightened their security procedures.

Neither an e-mail nor a phone call to the Salahis was immediately returned.

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