Monday, August 20, 2012

The Obamas Dine At DC's Mintwood Place With 'Dinner with Barack and Michelle' Winners

Three winners and their guests share a Date Night with the First Couple, with a special menu; President has a Cheeseburger and French fries...
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dined on Monday evening at 6:30 PM at Mintwood Place restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC with the three winners of the fifth online 'Dinner with Barack' fundraising contest, retooled to add Mrs. Obama to the lineup to encourage donors to drop as little as $3 in campaign coffers. It was Mrs. Obama's second time joining her husband at one of the popular contest dinners, and she told the winners, who were each accompanied by a guest, all about her Kids' State Dinner luncheon, held earlier in the day at the White House, according to pool.

Promoted by the campaign as "a Date Night with the President and First Lady," the dinner lasted a little more than an hour at the "French rustic" restaurant, which offered a special menu for the Obama party. President Obama, the Commander in Beef, had the All-American Cheeseburger and French fries with iced tea, his seemingly favorite meal. Mrs. Obama enjoyed a glass of white wine with her dinner. They shared "family style" vegetable sides with their guests.

The Obama party was gathered around a wooden table for eight. The President was in his shirt sleeves and a tie, and Mrs. Obama wore a colorful skirt and a black blouse and bolero, her hair down. The eatery was closed to the public so the campaign could film the action. Winners were not made available to the press; pool had a two-minute photo op before the food was served. The campaign released the photos here, without ID'ing the winners by name in captions.

The winners were David Garcia, a music professor from North Carolina, home to the upcoming the Democratic National Convention; Latasha Scurry, an assistant high school principal from the battleground state of Florida; and Ben Oakleaf, a wildfire smoke jumper from Idaho. Winners were not made available to the press, but the campaign released the photos here, without ID'ing the winners by name in captions.

Mintwood Place's special Obama menu:
Executive chef is Cedric Maupillier.  His entrees offered on the special Obama menu included a Bacon cheeseburger with French fries or salad; Cast-iron Amish Chicken; Tagliatelle a la bolognese; Salmon with basil pistou sauce; Wood-grilled Carolina shrimp & American seabream, turnip & artichoke barigoule; Whole boneless dorade, braised fennel, picholine olive; Moules a la mariniere; Five grain risotto, grilled corn, broccolini. Family style sides included Wood-grilled green & yellow wax beans and Char-grilled broccolini.

Winners of the dinner contests are hand-picked by the campaign to promote the President's platform, so it is no surprise that they and their guests were academics and a firefighter. Teachers, school officials, and firefighters have joined the President for previous contest dinners, as have residents of battleground states.

The prize package, with an assigned retail value of $1,600, is taxable to the winners, and included airfare to DC and a one-night hotel stay. They must pass background checks, and agree to be used in campaign materials throughout eternity. Contest entry closed on June 26th, 2012.

Obama for America released this information about the winners and their guests:
Winner David Garcia is an associate music professor at the University of North Carolina, and was accompanied by his wife, Rose, a pre-school teacher. David is "a supporter of the President''s recent Executive Order enacting part of the DREAM Act," said the campaign.

Winner Ben Oakleaf is a wildfire smoke jumper from Idaho, and described as "proud to have a President who supports the environment and stands up for the middle class." He brought his mother Judy, a retired high school English teacher.

Winner Latasha Scurry is an assistant high school principal in Florida, and mother of two girls. She brought her husband, Henry, a ninth grade math teacher and football coach. Latasha "is a breast cancer survivor, who thanks to the Affordable Care Act doesn't have to worry about being denied health care coverage because of her pre-existing condition," said the campaign.

The Obamas departed the White House at 6:18 PM to head to the restaurant, and left at 7:51 PM, zipping by motorcade down the rainy Connecticut Av., and arriving back at the White House at 7:57 PM. (Above: The special Obama menu)

The dinner was the President’s third public event on Monday. He made an unscheduled appearance at the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room, and later made a surprise appearance at Press Secretary Jay Carney’s regular daily briefing.

The campaign released this "Dating tips" video starring the President and Mrs. Obama to promote the dinner contest, in which the First Couple discussed their first date:

It has now been viewed on YouTube more than 142,000 times.

Past contest dinners...

The President ate dinner with the four winners of the first 'Dinner with Barack' contest in October of 2011, at The Liberty Tavern in Arlington, VA. The second dinner contest was fulfilled with a luncheon; the President took his four winners to DC's Scion restaurant on January 6, 2012. The First Lady previously attended one contest dinner, the third, which was held at DC's Boundary Road restaurant last March. The President enjoyed a cheeseburger and fries with the winners of the 'Dinner with Barack IV' contest on June 15th, when OFA took over DC's Lincoln Restaurant.

*Click here for the original Official Rules for Dinner with Barack V.

Mintwood Place is located at 1813 Columbia Road Northwest, Washington, DC, 20009. Phone: 202-234-6732.

*Updated with photos by Obama for America by Scout Tufankjian