Feb. 11 - President Obama and the First Lady greet French President Francois Hollande upon his arrival at the White House for a state dinner. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The Obamas greet French President Francois Hollande before hosting a state dinner in his honor at the White House on Tuesday. The White House has invited about 350 guests to a state dinner. It is only the seventh such gala hosted by President Obama and his wife Michelle since they moved into the White House in 2009. Guests will meet the Obamas and Hollande in the Blue Room, decorated with Parisian-made gilded sofas and chairs ordered for the room in 1817 by then-President James Monroe. Guests will take small trolleys across the South Lawn to the tent, which will be transformed into a spring-like scene inspired by Claude Monet's Water Lilies paintings, with quince branches in full bloom, irises, blue agapanthus and lilies. The White House kept the guest list under wraps, along with who will sit at the head table, but revealed that soul singer Mary J. Blige will perform after the dinner. The first course will feature caviar harvested from Illinois streams, Pennsylvania quail eggs, and 12 varieties of potatoes, the White House said. The salad, served in a terrarium-like bowl, includes herbs from the White House kitchen garden, and honey from the White House beehive. Dry-aged ribeye beef from a farm in Greeley, Colorado, will highlight the main course. For dessert: Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache, fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, and puffs of cotton candy dusted with orange zest.