Did White House Hide Lavish Costume Bash?

Nope, says spokesman: event reports, pics are online

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2012 3:28 AM CST | Updated Jan 9, 2012 7:12 AM CST

(Newser) – At the nadir of the economic crisis, the Obama White House held a lavish Alice in Wonderland-themed Halloween costume party, organized by Johnny Depp and Tim Burton and full of Star Wars character. But with unemployment at 10%, the Tea Party at its apex, and the economic downturn still rocking the country, officials feared the 2009 party would look terribly decadent, so kept it a secret, reports the New York Post. “White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans—or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care—that the event was not discussed publicly, and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” alleges Jodi Kantor in her new book, The Obamas.

But was it really a secret? The White House fired back yesterday, saying the party was no secret: Photos were released via the White House's Flickr account and websites and newspapers at the time mentioned Johnny Depp's attendance, reports Politico. "Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read in books these days," said a White House spokesman. You can see plenty of pics (including Chewbacca, but no mention of Depp or Burton) in the New York Times' original coverage of the event.

A lavish Halloween party held at the White House in 2009 was kept secret because the Obama administration feared it would look bad, given the depths of the recession at the time, alleges Jodi Kantor in her new book The Obamas.
A lavish Halloween party held at the White House in 2009 was kept secret because the Obama administration feared it would look bad, given the depths of the recession at the time, alleges Jodi Kantor in...   (White House)
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