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Guess who's coming to the Obamas' first state dinner?

November 24, 2009 |  1:19 pm

Jennifer Hudson

The East Room only seats 140 guests.

So President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are hosting their first State Dinner on the White House lawn, under a tent, a move borrowed by the Clinton White House that allows the guest list to expand to 320.

Even so, tickets for the State Dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are as hard to find as bipartisan consensus. The menu should be interesting too, since Singh is a vegetarian.

Jennifer Hudson, Academy Award-winning diva songstress, is set to headline the entertainment. Hudson's life was touched by tragedy a year ago when her mother, brother and nephew were found slain in Chicago. Since then, she has returned to the spotlight slowly. This week, she was tapped to play Winnie Mandela in an upcoming biopic.

As for the invitation list, the White House plans to release details later, but one website is predicting that "Hollywood, Bollywood, stuffed shirts, fancy pants and political top dogs will converge" on the White House lawn. And Politico is leaking names as soon as they have them, including Hollywood director M. Night Shyamalan and Sanja Gupta, the CNN medical reporter first tapped by Obama to be his surgeon general.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Associated Press

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