Obamas 'hushed up' glitzy tea party with Johnny Depp
Obamas were worried how the Halloween party would 'look' to jobless Americans, book claims
BARACK OBAMA covered up a Mad Hatter's Halloween tea party at the White House in order not to give his political rivals in the real Tea Party any ammunition during the recession, according to a new book about the US president published tomorrow.
The book, by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, claims that the Alice in Wonderland-themed event in 2009 was staged by the film director Tim Burton and that Johnny Depp was on hand, reprising his role as the Mad Hatter from Burton's film. The New York Post also reports that the original Chewbacca from the Star Wars films mingled with guests.
The paper says it bought a copy of the book, called The Obamas, in Manhattan, even though it has not yet officially been released.
It quotes a passage which claims: "White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans - or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care - that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton's and Depp's contributions went unacknowledged."
The Post adds: "However, the White House made certain that more humble Halloween festivities earlier that day - for thousands of Washington-area schoolkids - were well reported by the press corps."
Alex Spillius in The Daily Telegraph reports: "The Obama White House has often displayed sensitivity about introducing too much celebrity into its busy social calendar, but has still staged several events that have raised eyebrows." They include a concert by the Jonas Brothers for the Obamas' daughters and a star-studded party for the president's 50th birthday.
The White House rejected claims that the party was hushed up and pointed out that the author last met the Obamas in 2009.
However the book also contains some more light-hearted allegations, including a claim that Obama once ordered a white member of staff to watch the comedy film Barbershop after interrupting him while he was having his hair cut. Obama apparently told him: "The relationship between a black man and his barber is sacred."