First State Dinner to Reveal Obama A-Listers
Mad scramble for invitations
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 1:42 AM CST
A large tent on the South Lawn of the White House will be the location for a State Dinner for Indian Prime Minster Manmohan Singh tonight.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – Washington notables are still scrambling for an invitation to the White House state dinner Tuesday in honor of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. The event, to be held in a heated tent on the South Lawn, will display who’s truly on Obama’s A-list, and the lobbying for a seat has likely been "relentless," says Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton press secretary. The guest list is a closely guarded secret, but some are near-certainties: Oprah Winfrey, Chicago hotelier Penny Pritzker, businessman Marty Nesbitt, and physician Eric Whitaker.

"The first state dinner is always the most dramatic," Myers tells the Los Angeles Times. "First impressions are important. That's your A list, that's your top game right there. By the time you get to the eighth state dinner, it'll be a lot less important."