TV channels, crew banned from White House state dinner

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Washington, Nov.25 (ANI): The air of excitement and anticipation prevailing ahead of the White House State Dinner hosted by President Barack Obama and US First Lady Michelle Obama for visiting Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur was dampened by a blanket ban on televison channels and crew.

Television channel anchors here were laughing in their bulletins about the whole secrecy element surrounding the event and what could have the reasons for keeping the media out.

Only celebrity news anchors like Katie Couric of CBS, Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek and CNN, Brian Williams of NBC and Sanjay Gupta of CNN made the cut for the high-powered do, but their crews were not allowed.

Earlier, the White House released the list of expected guests for Tuesday night's state dinner.

According to the Washington Post, among the expected guests at the dinner would be Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, famed Hollywood director Steven Speilberg, Gayle King, Dr.Sanjay Gupta and David Geffen.

Among the others that were expected to attend the White House veggie garden spoils hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister and his wife Gursharan Kaur, were Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife Dr. Jill Biden Congressman Gary Ackerman, Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, Deputy Chairman of the Indian Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, David Axelrod and his wife Susan Axelrod, Congressman Howard Berman and his wife Jane Berman, Robert O Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretaryof State for South and Central Asian Affairs, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Deputy National Security Advisor for Counter-terrorism, Homeland Security Council.

William Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, General James E Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Senator Bob Casey, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Senator Satveer Chaudhry, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Swati Dandekar, Senator Chris Dodd, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman, Dr. Ashok S Ganguly, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, National Security Adviser General James Jones, Senator John Kerry, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke etc, were also expected to attend.

Kiran Mazumda-Shaw, Congressman Jim McDermott, Indian businessman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, Indian National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, USIBC president and Pepisico Chairperson Indra Nooyi, Massachussets Governor Deval Patrick, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, telecommunications and IT honcho Sam Pitroda and Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were also to attend. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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