COMMENTS: Crasher Bashers

The Congressional action that did attract coverage from correspondents on all three newscasts was a House hearing into Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the pair of uninvited guests who attended last week's state dinner at the White House. "This time they had a formal invitation and even a reserved table with name cards," quipped CBS' Bob Orr, as the couple refused to show up to testify about their "partycrashing escapade." NBC's Savannah Guthrie evoked the committee's mood of crasher bashing with a series of soundbites about the Salahis in their absence: "serial con artists""pathologically egomaniacal""a criminal activity." ABC's Pierre Thomas played the humiliating answer from Director Mark Sullivan of the Secret Service about the aspiring reality TV characters. "How did you discover that the Salahis had entered?" "Facebook."

The White House hardly survived the hearing honorably. When Social Secretary Desiree Rogers invoked executive privilege in order to refuse to testify, CBS' Orr observed that such a rationale was usually reserved for "politically charged and highly controversial cases" like Whitewater--not a bungled list of dinner guests. NBC's Guthrie noted that the White House staff will be working hard over the holidays: they expect a total of 50,000 visitors to attend 28 separate events.


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