Report: State dinner price tags can be $500,000

United States President Barack Obama and first lady MichelleObama welcome British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, first lady Samantha Cameron to the White House for a "statedinner," in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, first lady Samantha Cameron to the White House in 2012. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

The rib-eye steak served at tonight’s state dinner for French President Francoise Hollande might not be the only thing that’s fat — the evening’s tab could be, too. CBS is reporting that the diplomacy and pageantry of state dinners — a longstanding tradition aimed at celebrating key international alliances — can cost more than half a million dollars apiece.

Here are the price tags for the first five such events of President Obama’s administration, per CBS, which got the figures through a Freedom of Information Act request (which the State Department took 13 months to RSVP to). No word on why the dinners for Germany’s Angela Merkel and South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak cost so much less than the others.

  1. Nov. 24, 2009 – State dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India: $572,187.36
  2. May 19, 2010 – State dinner for President Felipe Calderon of Mexico: $563,479.92
  3. Jan. 19, 2011 – State dinner for President Hu Jintao of China: $412,329.73.
  4. June 7, 2011 – State dinner for Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany: $215,883.36
  5. Oct. 13, 2011 – State dinner for President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea: $203,053.34

More state dinner coverage from menu to Michelle Obama’s style–and everything in between. 

 

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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