Washington, Mar.20 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have brought the era of the cocktail party back to the White House.
Only eight weeks into the Obama administration, and the president and his wife have already hosted their fair share of social events.
White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers has announced that the Obama administration plans to make Wednesday night social events a tradition.
"It's not so much a cocktail party necessarily," Katie McCormick Lelyveld, press secretary to Michelle Obama, told FOX News.
"It's a gathering that takes on the shape of the week's agenda. The driving force is to reserve time Wednesday evenings to have at hand to use for whatever is at the top of the list of priorities that week," she added.
The announcement seemed to be a departure from the past several years, as the parties had all but fallen out of fashion since the Reagan era.
President George W. Bush was rumored to dislike cocktail parties, and had given up drinking years before he was sworn in.
As former press secretary Dee Dee Myers told Politico, the Clintons did not have a wide circle of friends in Washington and were "not as social" as the Obamas have shown themselves to be.
The Reagans reportedly cultivated relationships with Washington society and Hollywood alike, while Carter instead enjoyed a more quiet social life.
But the Obamas, known to be active in their community, have already hosted several events that have taken on different forms: from a bipartisan meeting of Democrats and Republicans before voting on the stimulus bill, to a concert in honor of Obama's favorite musician, Stevie Wonder, to a Super Bowl party (on a Sunday, of course), to a black history event hosted by the first lady.
But not everyone is lifting a glass to toast the host and hostess.
The political watchdog group Freedom Watch has sought information from the federal government as to how much taxpayer money is being used for the events, according to a report in World Net Daily.
Others have pointed out that the extra socializing isn't necessarily doing all that much for negotiation purposes.
As Letitia Baldrige, former social secretary to first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, told FOX News. "no real, substantial conversation takes place" at White House cocktail parties.
"We had them, we didn't like them, but they are a necessary evil," Baldrige said.
The party's main function, Baldrige said, is simply to take care of people who feel left out or hurt.
"It's a way of taking care of social obligations," she said. (ANI)