Searching for Excitement at a Staid State Dinner

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At last night's White Houses state dinner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Politico's Abby Phillip and Amie Parnes were on pool duty for arrivals and they did not sound happy about it. "For all you wondering, first lady Michelle Obama, donned an ivory sleeveless gown by one of her favorite designers, Naeem Khan. White House aides say," they wrote in their dispatch. "Now onto the guests: The best (and only) celeb: James Taylor, who will be performing later." It was not an event worthy of a Real Housewife crashing.  Still, a bored press corps tried their best to find some excitement in the Teutonic affair. Following their lead, we've doled out some superlative awards for the upscale affair. 

Most popular gown color Electric blue ("by far!"). Taylor's wife wore an electric blue Armani gown. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also spotted in a blue dress, which cost $170 with the shoes a modest $29 (that won her "most thrifty" award). Taylor and his wife pictured below:


Most surprising entrance Parnes says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi  "was so anxious to make her way inside" that she jumped the gun and walked in before her official announcement. The San Francisco Democrat avoided her usual Armani, wearing Thierry Mugler, "noting the French designer with a laugh." "Very old," Pelosi said.

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Best non-answer/ biggest dodge of the night: After being asked "Who are you wearing tonight?" Congresswoman and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, sporting a blue dress, blew by Parnes, saying "Thank you very much."

Most coy: Justice John Roberts and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tied for this one. "When asked 'How do you feel about being here tonight?' both men strolled by with their wives and gave no response."

Elsewhere, officials were playing up their ties to Germany. Sen. Dan Coats said "he was probably invited because he served as ambassador to Germany for four years under the Bush administration." Milwaukee mayor and early Obama supporter Tom Barrett said he's 1/4 German, adding that "Wisconsin has the second highest German population in the country." MSNBC notes that the dinner menu included "chopped salad" from Michelle Obama's garden and a "White House vinaigrette made of White House honey." It also included: 

Tuna tartare with rye crisps, pickled young carrots and mustard oil Spring pea salad

Shaved ham and ginger snaps

Petit Filet served with Maryland crab ravioli and wild ramp puree

Apple strudel with golden raisins and tophen (the pastry chef used a recipe that is a twist on traditional German strudel), made with Vermont farmer's cheese

On the diplomatic front Politico says Obama appeared more guarded and less schmoozy than his predecessor George W. Bush did at these affairs.  "Obama cuts the image of an all-business envoy, seldom going outside normal business hours to turn on the charm with other heads of state," writes Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown. But his toast wasn't bad. Below is video of his toast to Merkel followed by remarks from the German chancellor:

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