A photo caption in the early edition on May 10 misidentified the woman being greeted by President Clinton at the state dinner for the president of Greece. She is Maria Pappas, a Cook County, Ill., commissioner. (Published 05/24/96)
Will the real President Stephanopoulos please stand up?
Last night's state dinner for the Greek president served up not one, not two, but four Stephanopouloses. The first was the guest of honor, Constantinos Stephanopoulos, president of the Hellenic Republic. Second and third were the Rev. Robert Stephanopoulos and his wife, Nikki, the parents of George. Last but not least came presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos, otherwise known as the Greek god of the Clinton administration. Stephanopouloses 2, 3 and 4 are unrelated to Stephanopoulos 1.
"It was a very embarrassing staff meeting this morning," said a grinning Stephanopoulos. George, that is. "They said it was my day." He leaned in. "I just want to get one of his business cards that says President Stephanopoulos.' "
Even President Clinton couldn't turn down a chance at the perfect punch line.
"Greece has turned to President Stephanopoulos for leadership," he said in his toast. "And I have my own Stephanopoulos. Mr. President, I think we're both doing pretty well."
That was the kind of night it was: playful, gentle, more style than substance.
The guest list was a mouthful by any standard. The names of 190 Greek Americans caused even the unflappable White House announcers to stumble more than once.
"Just take it bite by bite," advised Massachusetts State Rep. Steven Panagiotakos. "Pana-GIo (like the car) takos (like the food). If you try to take it all at once, you don't get it."
Nikki Stephanopoulos promised one guest he'd have no problem with the name game. "I met President Stephanopoulos three days after he was elected a year ago," she said. "I told him, They'll be able to pronounce your name now when you come to the States!' "
There were a few familiar names: Sens. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Orioles owner Peter Angelos and former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis and his wife, Kitty, who was wearing a purple dress and a cast on her left hand.
"I'm very pleased with the guy who's here," said the 1988 Democratic presidential candidate. Private life, he said, had "pluses and minuses. If you're in politics, you're not interested in a quiet life."
Grammy Award-winning singer Sheryl Crow arrived at the White House a bit late, having lost her luggage in the black hole of National Airport. The recording artist, who is working to register new voters on-line, nevertheless looked poised in a hastily acquired black cocktail dress and pearls.
"I just got back from Bosnia with Mrs. Clinton," Crow said matter-of-factly. "And some of her people were able to help me."
Lest anyone forget this is, in fact, an election year, a quick scan of the room would remind them. No fewer than five White House correspondents -- AP's Terence Hunt, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, NBC's Brian Williams ("I've never been to one of these as an actual U.S. citizen"), ABC's Brit Hume and CBS's Rita Braver -- tucked away their notebooks and attended the dinner as guests of the president and first lady.
"Wolf took the day off to get ready," said Braver with mock indignation. "Brian took the day off. Brit went home to change. I'm the only one to change in the White House bathroom. And they say women aren't tough!"
Braver softened her look with a bright blue chiffon ensemble. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a nod to the colors of the Greek flag, wore a pale blue crepe gown, topped with white lace, by St. John, one of her favorite clothing lines. The first lady, who seems to be making a habit of inviting Seventh Avenue stars to state dinners, greeted St. John founder Marie Gray like a graduating senior thanking her favorite teacher.
Last night's dinner had, unsurprisingly, a distinctly Hellenic flair: fava bean and eggplant salad, grilled lamb tenderloin with spinach orzo, spicy olive slivers and crispy beets, marinated young greens with warm kefalotiri cheese and baked figs, and, naturally, baklava, plus pine nut macaroons and kourabiedes for dessert.
After dinner, the guests moved through the chilly night to a tented Rose Garden, where Jacques d'Amboise's National Dance Institute, with dancers ages 9 to 15, performed for the delighted crowd. Chelsea Clinton slipped in to watch.
Even the hard-nosed White House reporters had a dreamy look as they strolled past the violins with champagne in their hands.
"It was great -- if you like this sort of thing," said a mildly sheepish Brian Williams. "And a lot of people do."
The guest list for last night's dinner:
Vice President and Tipper Gore
Constantinos Stephanopoulos, president of Greece
Theodore Pangalos, minister of foreign affairs, and Mrs. Pangalos
Georgios Papandreou, minister of education, and Mrs. Papandreou
Loucas Tsilas, ambassador of Greece, and Mrs. Tsilas
Emmanuel Ghikas, secretary general, presidency of Greece
Alexandre Philon, director general for political affairs, ministry of foreign affairs
Nicolaos Ladopoulos, director for North and South American affairs, ministry of foreign affairs
Maria Zografou, director of diplomatic cabinet, ministry of foreign affairs
Nicolaos Couniniotis, chief of protocol
Constantine Kokossis, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Greece
Georges Kaklikis, director, diplomatic cabinet of the presidency
Art Agnos, former mayor of San Francisco, and Sherry Agnos
Mike Anagnopoulos and Alexandra Anagnopoulos, Phoenix
Philip N. Angelides, president, River West Developments, and Julanne Angelides
Peter G. Angelos, owner, Baltimore Orioles, and Georgia Angelos
Ted Athanassiades, president and chief operating officer, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., and Elaine Athanassiades
Andrew A. Athens, president, United Hellenic-American Congress and World Council of Overseas Hellenism, and Louise Athens
Robert B. Barnett, Williams & Connolly, and Rita Braver, White House correspondent, CBS News
Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Evelyn Bilirakis
Wolf Blitzer, White House correspondent, Cable News Network, and Lynn Blitzer
John Brademas, president emeritus, New York University, and Mary Ellen Brademas
John A. Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO, Red Apple Group, and Margo Catsimatidis
Paul L. Cejas, chairman, PLC Investments, and Gertrude Cejas
Arthur Cheliotes, president, Local 1180, Communications Workers of America, and daughter Theana Cheliotes
Philip Christopher, president, Pancyprian Association of America, and Christine Christopher
Warren Christopher, secretary of state, and Marie Christopher
Clay Constantinou, U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg
Sheryl Crow, singer, and guest
Barbara Curtis, American Nurses Association, and Harry M. Petrakis
Jacques D'Amboise, dancer-choreographer, and Carolyn D'Amboise
Peter Danton, former Maine state senator, and Domna Giatas
Beth Boosalis Davis, executive director, Lekotek, and Maxwell S. Davis
Paul C. Demakis, Massachusetts state representative, and sister Joan C. Demakis
The Rev. Constantine Dombalis and Mary Dombalis, Richmond
Michael S. Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts, and Kitty Dukakis
Stephen Economy, Wayne County, Mich., Airport Authority, and Sevasti Economy
Robert A. Farmer, consul general to Bermuda, and Sally Montgomery
Rep. Vic H. Fazio (D-Calif.) and Judy Fazio
Nicholas Gage, author and national president, Pan-Epirotic Federation of America, and Joan Gage
Ted Gatzaros and Maria Gatzaros, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.
Marie Gray, St. John Knits, and daughter Kelly Gray-Blue
Brit Hume, White House correspondent, ABC News, and Kim Hume
Terence Philip Hunt, chief White House correspondent, Associated Press, and Jeanie-Marie Johnson
Paul Tudor Jones, chairman and CEO, Tudor Investment Corp., and Sonia Jones
Nick Kafoglis, Kentucky state senator, and Patricia Kafoglis
Pano Karatassos and Georgia Karatassos, Atlanta
Peter Karmanos, chairman and CEO, Compuware Corp., and Debra Karmanos
Dimitrios Kastanas, owner, Greek cable television, New York, and Nomiki Kastanas
Nikos Kefalidis, chairman of the board, Beta Steel Co., and Laurie Kefalidis
Rep. Ron Klink (D-Pa.) and Linda Klink
Sotiris K. Kolokotronis, SKK Development, and Matina Kolokotronis
John Kornblum, acting assistant secretary for European and Canadian affairs, and Helen Kornblum
George J. Kourpias, president, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and June Kourpias
Anthony Lake, assistant to the president for national security affairs
Ralph Larsen, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson, and Dorothy Larsen
Pamela Liapakis, president, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and Michael Block
Spiro Macris, supreme president, American Hellenic Progressive Association, and Barbara Alafoginis
Andrew E. Manatos, Manatos & Manatos, and Katrina Manatos
George M. Marcus, chairman, Marcus & Millichap, and Judith Ann Marcus
Sylvia Matthews, chief of staff to the secretary of the treasury, and father William Matthews
George K. Mermelas, American Hellenic Friends of Clinton Organization, and Yannis K. Kostopoulos
Peter Mitchell, president, California Association of Realtors, and Sarena Seymour
Nicholas Mitropoulos, Kennedy School of Government, and Nayla Mitropoulos Thomas M.T. Niles, U.S. ambassador to Greece, and Carol Niles
John C. Orestis and Sandra Shaw, Lewiston, Maine
Harold C. Pachios, U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and Luanne Pachios
Steven C. Panagiotakos, Massachusetts state representative, and Christine Panagiotakos
Leon E. Panetta, chief of staff to the president, and Sylvia Panetta
Michael A. Pannos, Pannos & Mindel, and Margaret Pannos
Constantine Papadakis, president, Drexel University, and Eliana Papadakis
Irena Pappas and Yannis Papadakis, Athens
Maria Pappas, Cook County, Ill., Board of Commissioners, and Peter Kamberos
Nicholas Patsaouras, Patsaouras & Associates, and Sylvia Patsaouras
Nicholas C. Petris, California state senator, and Anna Petris
James L. Pouravelis, President's Commission on Travel and Tourism, and Maxine Pouravelis
Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert, Chicago
Victoria L. Radd, deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of communications, and guest
Franklin D. Raines, vice chairman and general counsel, Fannie Mae, and Wendy Raines
Molly Raiser, chief of protocol, and Joan Spero, undersecretary of state for economics, business and agriculture
James Regas and Georgia Regas, Chicago
Nicholas S. Revezoulis, chairman, American Hellenic Friends of Clinton Organization, and Orestes Varvidsiodes
William D. Rollnick and Nancy Ellison, New York
Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Christine Sarbanes
Frank Wright Sesno, Cable News Network, and Kathleen Sanderson
Claire Shulman, borough president, Queens County, N.Y., and Alexandra Rosa
Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and John R. McKernan, former governor of Maine
Jeffrey B. Soref, president, Soref Associates, and John Silberman
William S. Stavropoulos, president and CEO, Dow Chemical Co., and Linda Stavropoulos
George R. Stephanopoulos, senior adviser to the president, and Wendy Smith
The Rev. Robert G. Stephanopoulos, Holy Trinity Cathedral, New York, and Nikki Stephanopoulos
George Tenet, deputy director, Central Intelligence Agency
Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard Law School, and Carolyn Tribe
Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, president, AKT Development Corp., and Sofia Tsakopoulos
Vardis Vardinoyannis and Marianna Vardinoyannis, Athens
Mary Verges, grand president, Daughters of Penelope, and daughter Margaret V. Michalopulos
Alexander R. Vershbow, special assistant to the president and senior director, European Affairs, National Security Council, and Lisa Vershbow
David Weinberg and Effie Weinberg, Bloomfield, Mich.
Brian D. Williams, White House correspondent, NBC, and Jane Williams CAPTION: President Clinton greets Michael Dukakis and wife Kitty at last night's dinner for the president of Greece. CAPTION: President Stephanopoulos, meet George Stephanopoulos.