“Today” lands White House gate crashers


After canceling on CNN’s Larry King Monday, Tareq and Michaele Salahi made their first live television appearance Tuesday on NBC’s “Today.” The Salahis insisted that they were invited to the November 24th state dinner, despite White House denials, and said they are devastated at being portrayed as gate crashers.

The couple insisted that they had been invited to attend Preisdent Barack Obama’s first state dinner (for the Prime Minister of India) by a law firm that the Washington Post says has ties to the Pentagon’s White House liaison.

Michele S. Jones, a career military officer who is special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, confirmed that she exchanged e-mails with the Salahis about the state dinner, but denies she promised them admittance. In fact, she says they were specifically told by Jones that she did not have any authority to get them into the White House event.

Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs has stated that the couple definitely were not invited to attend. Nevertheless, they showed up without a formal invitation and somehow talked their way through Secret Service security.

The Salahis still insist that they were invited guests and that they are cooperating in the Secret Service investigation.

“This has been the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to us,” Tareq Salahi, told Matt Lauer in the couple’s first television interview. “I can tell you we did not party crash the White House,” he added.

NBC cable sister Bravo was videotaping the Salahis as they arrived for the White House dinner. Michaele Salahi has been vying for a position on the network’s “Real Housewives of Washington, DC,” which will be the fifth locale for the “Real Housewives” franchise.