There is nothing like a White House state dinner to bring out the bling. Not to mention the bragging rights.
Any invite to the federal mansion is an ego boost but there is something about the formality of a state dinner, which means the U.S. is officially recognizing the leader of another country.
Last week’s dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was only the eighth state dinner held by the Obamas. The Washington Post described it as “a somewhat subdued affair” despite the ornate centerpieces of orchids and cherry blossoms and crystal curtains on the windows.
The White House also used the new Obama china, a “Kailua blue” pattern.
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And who was familiar among the 200 or so guests? Texas guests: Fort Worth’s own Bob Schieffer, who just announced his retirement from CBS News, and wife Patricia, and Jim Lentz III, CEO of Toyota USA, which is making its move to Plano, and his wife Barbara, of Westlake.
Listen up, jury slackers.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott would be happy to serve on a jury.
In fact, last week, instead of trying to take an exemption, Abbott, the state’s former attorney general, showed up for jury duty, saying he wanted to “live up” to his civic responsibilities.
But he wasn’t picked.
“Sorry, governor,” one judge told him when he didn’t make the jury.
Afterward, Abbott told reporters that he would have “really enjoyed” serving on a jury.
“I’m confident this will not be my last opportunity,” he said after he was dismissed.
Local art heading to D.C.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, last week honored a local student — Paola Rivera, a sophomore at Grand Prairie’s Fine Arts Academy.
Rivera won the 33rd Congressional District’s Art Competition with a piece entitled Marco, which will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for a year.
“Paola’s artwork epitomizes not only the immense talent across the DFW Metroplex, but also showcases the many uses of technology in our world today,” Veasey said. “I look forward to visitors from all over the country viewing what this talented young woman has captured.”
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, kept silent after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, missed the recent confirmation vote of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general. Not only was he the only senator to miss the vote, Cruz had energetically opposed Lynch.
Cruz, who was racing to catch a plane for a Dallas fundraiser instead of voting, and his aides had put out the word that Cruz didn’t miss the vote that they said counted, cloture, a procedural way to stop debate.
But Saturday morning, without naming names, Cornyn couldn’t resist a dig in a tweet @JohnCornyn at his fellow Texas senator.
“FYI: Cloture ends debate only. It does not confirm a nominee. Otherwise a subsequent vote on whether to confirm a nominee is meaningless.”
Cornyn’s tweet prompted a tweet backlash from Cruz’s communications director, Amanda Carpenter, @amandacarpenter, who fired off seven tweets about it.
One of the tweets: “Cruz said R’s should not vote to cut off debate and go to a final vote. 20 R’s did. Leadership wanted her to be confirmed. It's that simple”
Cornyn voted for cloture and against Lynch’s confirmation. Cruz voted against cloture.
Maria Recio, 202-383-6103
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610