Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Head Table For President Obama's State Dinner In Honor Of Chancellor Angela Merkel

Seventeen guests join President Obama, First Lady, and Chancellor Merkel at the Head Table...
The Head Table at President Obama's State Dinner in honor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel held twenty guests, including the President and the Chancellor and First Lady Michelle Obama. More than 200 guests attended the dinner, which was held in the dramatically lit Rose Garden. The full guest list is here. (Above: The First Lady makes remarks during the dinner; no transcript was released)

At previous Obama State Dinners, tables were small, seating no more than ten. And at the 2009 State Dinner in honor of India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the President and Mrs. Obama sat at separate tables. The Merkel dinner had a Head Table that included the First Lady seated beside the President, with the Chancellor on his other side; Dr. Joachim Sauer, husband of the Chancellor; and legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor, who performed for the guests. Taylor's wife, Caroline Taylor, was also at the Head Table.

Christoph Eschenbach, conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, which also played for the guests, was also seated with the President, as was Hollywood talent agent and gay rights advocate Bryan Lourd; Google executive Eric Schmidt; and German architect Helmut Jahn. Also at the table were Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James E. Cartwright; Chair and CEO of Kodak Antonio M. Perez; Jane Roberts, a lawyer who is an anti-abortion activist and wife of Associate Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who was seated at a different table; and Robert A. McDonald, chair, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble Company. The full seating arrangement is below; it's clockwise from President Obama. (Above: Taylor during his performance)

The dinner featured a seasonal, regionally sourced Spring Harvest menu in honor of Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden. The President's toast and Merkel's response is here. Before dinner, the President presented Merkel with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is the first woman and first European leader to be honored by the President with a State Dinner--and she is also the first female Chancellor in German history.

State Dinner Head Table

1. President Barack Obama

2. First Lady Michelle Obama

3. Joachim Sauer

4. Robert A. McDonald

5. Deborah Jahn

6. James Taylor

7. Christoph Eschenbach

8. Jane Roberts

9. Antonio M. Perez

10. Eric Schmidt

11. Bryan Lourd

12. Diane McDonald

13. John G. Roberts

14. Jeanette Weaver Ruesch

15. James E. Cartwright

16. Caroline Taylor

17. Bruce Bozzi

18. Lori Perez

19. Helmut Jahn

20. Angela Merkel

Above: A long view of the Rose Garden, shot from above.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House