Vice President Joe Biden put an arm around the waist of the glamorous, slender blonde in bright red Indian-style formal dress and flashed his pearly whites.
Three Marines in dress blues smiled and clasped their white-gloved hands in front of their bodies as the blonde joined them on what seems to be a White House portico.
And White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel leaned in for snapshot with the blonde as she draped a hand over the shoulder of her tuxedoed husband, her rings inches from a pair of official-looking badges on his lapel.
It’s not clear if the pins on the man’s tuxedo actually are official, but his presence at President Obama’s first state dinner wasn’t, and neither was his wife’s.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the dinner, in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday night, the Secret Service has confirmed.
The agents tasked with protecting the president “did not follow proper procedures,” secret srevice agent Edwin Donovan said in a statement. He said the gatecrashers went through metal detectors “and other levels of security.”
The incident represents a security breach for the white House at the Obama administration’s biggest social event to date. More than 300 guests, including Cabinet members, diplomats and Hollywood celebrities, attended the dinner.
The Salahis are aspiring reality TV stars who hoped to land roles in the forthcoming show, “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” by the Bravo cable network, The Washington Post reported.
Bravo says it’s in the nation’s capital to “identify the city’s alluring and discriminating residents, those women who have their pulse on the most important cultural events, political galas, gallery openings and fundraisers in Washington society.”
The network declined to comment about the Salahis. The couple is well-known in “wine country and polo circles” in Fauquier County, Virginia, west of Washington, the Post reported. Their presence at the White House caught the immediate attention of Roxanne Roberts, one of two Post columnists who writes the newspaper’s gossip column.
“When I saw them come in, I went ‘What on Earth are they doing here,'” Roberts told CNN.
The Post’s column Reliable Sources has described the Salahis as polo-playing socialites from northern Virginia.
Video of the dinner showed the couple walking past journalists into the event.
On Wednesday, the couple’s Facebook page included the photos of them at the dinner with Biden and Emanuel, who was identified on the page as “Ron,” not Rahm.
The couple controls a winery outside of Washington. It is closed but promises to reopen next year.
“Michaele & Tareq Salahi send a big Cheers!” says a notice on the Web site of Oasis winery, which Tareq battled his family to control, according to local news reports.
Tareq “grew up helping his father plant and cultivate the vineyard” on a “postage-stamp” plot of land in Fauquier County, which describes itself as being “on the fringe of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
“In recognition of his passion for making wine, his father pledged to sell the vineyard to him one day for a dollar, Salahi recalls,” according to the Fairfax Times newspaper.
But Tareq ended up fighting his family in court for the property, gaining control of it two years ago thanks to a wealthy friend in the real estate business who bought it for $4.15 million.
“This is not charity, but I am helping a friend. I’m just giving Tareq a vehicle to realize his dreams,” real estate agent N. Casey Margenau said, according to the newspaper.
Court records show that Oasis filed for bankruptcy in February, the Washington Post reported.