The list of expected attendees for tonight’s White House State Dinner includes only one Republican Member of Congress — Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar — according to a list released by the White House.
Also present will be Senate Democrats Chris Dodd (Conn.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Bob Casey (Pa.).
While it is possible the White House invited or sought to invite other GOP members, the presence of only one at the first State Dinner of the president whose avowed goal was to better bipartisan relations in Washington, D.C., can be taken as a sign of the prevailing partisanship in Washington.
Lugar was known as a friend, and even a mentor, to President Barack Obama when Obama was in the Senate.
The list for the dinner, held to honor Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was released Tuesday evening. The legislators who will be present are mostly powerful Democratic lawmakers who are either committee chairs or members of the leadership.
On the list from the House are Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), Appropriations Chairman David Obey (Wis.) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (Md.), Howard Berman (Calif.), Paul Hodes (N.H.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Linda Sanchez (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D.C.).
This list includes perhaps fewer people with Outside-the-Beltway star power than might be expected. Obama is popular in Hollywood and has received ample funding from film industry stalwarts.
Steven Spielberg will be on hand, but Oprah Winfrey, who some thought would show, is not on the list. But her close friend, Gayle King, is on the list — leaving open the possibility for Winfrey to attend.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the CNN medical correspondent who was considered for the post of Surgeon General, made the cut. Ari Emanuel, the Hollywood mega-agent who is the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, also will be on hand.
And ABC correspondent Robin Roberts, who has given what some hold to be softball interviews of the president, will attend.