The guest list released by the White House before tonight’s dinner includes business executives, government officials, entertainers and Obama political allies and donors.
Joining Buffett, the chairman of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), and Branson, founder of Virgin Group Ltd., are Blackstone Group LP President Tony James, Orin Kramer of Boston Provident Partners LP, movie producer Harvey Weinstein and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
It also includes Obama supporters such as Matthew Barzun, a former CNET Networks Inc. executive, who is leading fundraising for the president’s re-election campaign and Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, and Neil Bluhm, a Chicago billionaire and co-chairman of Urban Shopping Centers Inc. (URB), who is an Obama fundraiser.
The guests will dine on three courses and dessert, starting out with crisped halibut with potato crust, according the menu released by the White House. The main course is bison Wellington, which the menu describes as “a perfect pairing of U.S. and U.K. cultures.”
As with the last two state dinners, the menu notes only that “an American wine will be paired with each course.”
The White House hasn’t listed the wines on menus since Obama’s dinner in January 2011 for Chinese President Hu Jintao. One of the wines served then was a top-rated 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington state that originally sold for $115 a bottle and went for as much as $399 by the time of the dinner.
While the White House paid a price closer to the $115 price, according to the vintner, some Obama critics highlighted the higher price as an extravagance.
The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the British folk-rock band Mumford and Sons and singer-songwriter John Legend.
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