A White House “Alice in Wonderland” costume ball — put on by Johnny Depp and Hollywood director Tim Burton — proved to be a Mad-as-a-Hatter idea that was never made public for fear of a political backlash during hard economic times, according to a new tell-all.
“The Obamas,” by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, tells of the first Halloween party the first couple feted at the White House in 2009. It was so over the top that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas sent the original Chewbacca to mingle with invited guests.
The book reveals how any official announcement of the glittering affair — coming at a time when Tea Party activists and voters furious over the lagging economy, 10-percent unemployment rate, bank bailouts and Obama’s health-care plan were staging protests — quickly vanished down the rabbit hole.
“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans — or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care — that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” the book says.
However, the White House made certain that more humble Halloween festivities earlier that day — for thousands of Washington-area schoolkids — were well reported by the press corps.
Morgen at Verum Serum did some investigating, and found photos.
The official White House blog post from 2009 covering this event made no mention of the Hollywood bash (and in retrospect seems a little defensive by highlighting Halloween parties hosted by previous Administrations). The official media pool report from Richard Wolf at the USA Today contained a significant amount of detail on the day’s events both inside and outside of the White House, and yet made no mention of the costume ball or the presence of Hollywood celebrities.
The only media report which mentioned Depp and Burton at all was the Chicago Sun-Times which referred to them only as “among the attendees”, in an article that is no longer even publicly available. Everyone else – including the Huffington Post, CNN, Reuters, and of course the NY Times – dutifully covered the President and First Lady handing out candy to visiting children, while reporting the evening’s festivities as a “reception for military families” and White House staffers.
Zombie has photos as well.
Naturally, Regime Propaganda Minister Jay Carney dismissed the controversy.