Obama, Occupy DC Attend Alfalfa Dinner
(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama attended the 99th annual Alfalfa Club dinner Saturday evening. Comprised of a who’s who of Washington elite, the social club’s sole purpose is to meet every January for a night of banquet festivities for its roughly 200 members. Per tradition, each sitting president is invited to deliver remarks at the event.
First Lady Michelle Obama accompanied her husband to the gala, held this year at the Capitol Hilton.
As is typical of the gathering, press was not allowed into the dinner, but details of the event usually leak out to the public over time.
The Alfalfa Club was founded in 1913 for the District’s movers and shakers to do what an alfalfa plant does: anything for a drink.
It would not admit black members until the 1970s and had its first women join as late as 1994 after then-President Bill Clinton boycotted the previous year’s dinner.
Held on the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, at the 2009 dinner President Obama commented on the occasion’s ties to the Civil War figure.
“If he were here with us tonight, the general would be 202 years old. And very confused,” he said.
Washington’s elite weren’t the only attendees.
Hundreds of Occupy DC protesters staged a rally outside the event, demonstrating against the perceived injustices of the city’s power brokers and heckling a number as they arrived, including Senator Joseph Lieberman.
The Connecticut lawmaker was showered in glitter as he approached the hotel. At one point during the rally female protesters even took their shirts off as a taunt to police.
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