Obama Threw Huge Party, Kept It Quiet—Almost

Prince, Stevie Wonder serenaded 500 guests at private event on Saturday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2015 8:07 AM CDT
Obama Threw Huge Party, Kept It Quiet—Almost
In this Aug. 6 2011 file photo, American singer and songwriter Prince performs on the Isle of Amager in Copenhagen, Denmark.   (AP Photo/Polfoto/Jakob Joergensen, File)

The Obamas let off a little steam on Saturday during what the White House press secretary calls "a private social event at the White House," per Politico. Or as we prefer to put it: Barack and Michelle Obama and their 500 closest friends danced late into the night in the East Room, where Prince serenaded the crowd for two hours. Stevie Wonder joined him to perform "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" before DJ Cassidy took over, reports Page Six. Little was known about the party until Al Sharpton mentioned it on Twitter: "Leaving the White House party w/POTUS and FLOTUS. Awesome to see Prince and Stevie Wonder on keyboards together. Unbelievable experience," he said. Also in attendance: Tyler Perry, Jon Bon Jovi, Angela Bassett, Gayle King, the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson, Ciara, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Wall Street execs, and Malia and Sasha Obama.

Former White House officials seem astounded that such an event was kept quiet for so long. "I don't know how you get 500 people and not have them talk about it," a man who worked there for almost four decades tells the New York Times. "And I know of no party like that where no information was released beforehand. I wouldn't call that normal." The event was omitted from President Obama's schedule, leading the RNC press secretary to label it "the latest example of how the Obama White House has failed to live up to its commitment to transparency." However, "The fact that we're talking about a private event ... is an indication that the president is committed to being transparent," White House press secretary John Earnest says. He adds the Obamas "reserve the right to host private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime." (More President Obama stories.)

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