Gov. Jindal attends Obama state dinner - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Jindal attends Obama state dinner

By Caroline Moses - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Gov. Bobby Jindal attended President Barack Obama's first state dinner at the White House Tuesday night.

The event honored Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur. In 2007, Jindal, a Republican, became the country's first Indian-American governor elected to office.

"It's no surprise. If the president is meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, it's no surprise he would invite the only Indian-American governor," said Jim Engster, a Baton Rouge political analyst.

Jindal was among nearly 400 invited guests. His wife, Supriya was also in attendance. The Jindals left for the nation's capital Tuesday morning. They and their security detail flew on a commercial airline, with seats in coach, the governor's office said. The flights were paid for with taxpayer money.

Other guests included Oprah Winfrey, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Steven Spielberg. Several high-profile Republicans say they were not invited to the event, including Sen. John McCain.

"He and the president have gotten along well when they have encountered each other," Engster said. "It was President Obama who said he was going to be a bi-partisan president. He's (Jindal) a likeable person and someone I think the president is comfortable having in his presence."

The dinner was held on the White House's South Lawn in an elaborate white tent, complete with a crystal chandelier and carpeting laid especially for the event, The New York Daily News reported.

Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit, a Scandinavian restaurant in Manhattan, was hired to help with the secret menu for Singh, who is a vegetarian, the newspaper reported.

The visit between the Indian Prime Minister and President Obama will include talks designed to overcome differences on climate change and U.S. ties with Indian rivals China and Pakistan.

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