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The Reliable Source: Who are these people? The climbers at the White House gate
"Tareq & Michaele were honored to be invited to President Obamas private viewing box at the Lincoln Memorial," the posting reads. "Naturally this picture was taken after his departure . . . The glass is not only bullet proof, but also electrified. Never try to touch this special protective glass."
Other images from inauguration weekend show them with Oprah Winfrey, Jack Black, Forest Whitaker and Gayle King.
The Salahis got a foothold in D.C. society with their Oasis Winery in Hume. That was before a nasty family feud shut down the vineyard. The couple also attempted to establish social bona fides with their America's Polo Cup events, which led to sniping among D.C. polo insiders about the organization's legitimacy and charitable giving.
People who attend exclusive Washington parties with administration or congressional insiders say the Salahis haven't been seen there; Tareq gave just $1,600 in political contributions ($600 to George Allen, $1,000 to Jim Moran) over the past nine years.
But they have made no secret of their dreams of reality-TV stardom. Bravo announced this year that it would bring the "Real Housewives" franchise to Washington after series set in New York, New Jersey, Atlanta and Orange County, Calif., proved wildly popular. The shows have made mini-stars of unknown women, some of whom have leveraged the fame into dishy memoirs and merchandise lines. In Washington, cameras for Half Yard have taped a half-dozen women at parties, workplaces and homes. Michaele, a former Redskins cheerleader, has been one of those most conspicuously followed.
No casting decisions have been finalized -- meaning that without compelling footage, any one of them could be cut at any time. It's unlikely, however, that the Salahis went to the state dinner in hopes of securing a place on the show. "I don't think they're afraid of being cut: They create a lot of drama on the show," said a source who has known the couple for years.
The Secret Service said Thursday that its procedures to ensure a tight bubble of security around the White House were not followed for the state dinner when the couple entered with other guests on the southeast side of the White House, but the agency did not provide details. "We're being intentionally vague on that," said spokesman Ed Donovan. "All we are saying is that procedures we have in place weren't followed."
The Salahis' joint Facebook page, where so much of Tuesday night's adventure unfolded and unraveled, was lit up with scores of messages Thursday: some teasing, some comforting, many exulting over the couple's newfound fame.
"I have to give it you guys ;) that's how you make an entrance, LOVE IT!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!"
"Wow . . . National News . . . NICE!!!"
"I just saw you guys on the local San Diego news channel! Nice job!"
"That was truly an unbelievable caper -- this should get you either: 1) A one year gig on a reality show, or 2) A one year gig stamping license plates."
Staff writer Michael Shear contributed to this report.