State dinner superlatives

Copyright 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009; 5:11 PM

By Sarah Lovenheim State dinners, banquets paid for by the government and hosted by a head of state, are held to foster relationships following serious conversations concerning foreign affairs. Many U.S. presidents have held state dinners in the State Dining Room at the White House, a room that seats 120 people. Guests typically include foreign dignitaries, members of Congress and the president's cabinet, among others. The occasion's marked by entertainment, a four or five course meal and speeches. Black or white tie dress is often required. Then-President Clinton laughs during a toast by French President Jacques Chirac at a state dinner honoring Chirac in February of 1996 at the White House. (AP Photo/St. Petersburg Times, John Pendygraft) A peek into the past recalls some state dinners to remember. Below you'll find a list of superlatives -- these nuggets can serve as dinner table banter on Tuesday, as President Obama hosts

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