Washington, Feb.11 (ANI): President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are unleashing a bipartisan charm offensive and exploiting every square inch of their new home to make friends and influence rivals.
According to Politico, since moving into their new digs, the first couple has hosted a half-dozen gatherings - from bipartisan cocktail receptions to a public open house to the more intimate Super Bowl party two Sundays ago - ending many of their days past midnight.
Most recently, on Wednesday, the Obamas opened the White House doors to House caucus leaders from the moderate Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus.
White House aides say the couple hopes to make the Wednesday cocktail parties a tradition.
Friends say the Obamas are looking to maintain the dizzying social calendar they had in their pre-White House days, while using their knack for socializing to find new friends and win hearts on Capitol Hill and in other Washington power centers.
"They want to replicate the same kind of environment they had in Chicago," said a longtime friend of the Obamas, adding that White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is "the perfect person" for the job because she knows the couple's former life inside out and is "designing the calendar to reflect the kinds of things they like to do."
"If there was a party or an event [in Chicago], they were there. They've always liked to go to lots of restaurants and be a part of the community. Now, they want to be a part of D.C. Barack and Michelle have always been interested in the details of people's lives," the confidant said, calling them "people people," a friend of theirs said.
"They know who's engaged to whom, what people's spouses do for a living, all about their parents, where they grew up, names of children," the friend said further.
The president, the friend added, "likes to be in the know."
Senator Claire McCaskill, one of the president's closest friends in the Senate and a guest at a recent White House party, said Obama likes a mixed crowd because he "knows if he's around people like that, he won't get everything sugarcoated. He wants to make sure he stays grounded and wants to hear the good, the bad and the ugly."
At the bipartisan Super Bowl blast, the Obamas kept it casual, serving up hot dogs, pizza, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream, with no mention of politics, guests said.
Conversations centered on football, basketball and day-to-day life.
At the start of the affair, the first couple worked their way around the East Wing, where guests initially gathered. Then, just before the start of the game, Obama shouted, "Kickoff!" and pointed revelers toward the White House theater.
During the game, guests said he groaned at bad plays and threw his hands up in the air when the Steelers - the team he was rooting for - scored.
The couple's social calendar is markedly different from that of other recent inhabitants at 1600. The Bushes 43 often were in bed by 9 p.m. and kept a tame social life, gravitating toward old pals from Texas and a tight circle of Washington friends.
Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also kept lighter social schedules.
Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary to Clinton, said he and Hillary "were not as social as the Obamas appear to be."
"We haven't seen this kind of entertaining in a really long time," she said. (ANI)