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Tight cell phone control at Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday bash

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By Doug Powers  •  January 20, 2014 11:57 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

At the White House, the Obamas hosted 500 of some of the world’s most rich and famous people for a pointed lecture about income inequality Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday party. The publicity shy first couple (pause for laughter) didn’t want anybody not named “Pete Souza” to have the ability to take pictures:

It’s not easy to enforce discipline on successful, wealthy, and famous people used to having their own way. But the White House apparently did not want to see photos of the first lady’s glittery gala circulating around the Internet. So it imposed a strict rule: No cellphones. “Guests were told not to bring cellphones with them, and there was a cellphone check-in area for those who did,” reported the Chicago Tribune. “Signs at the party told guests: No cellphones, no social media.” People magazine added: “Guests had been greeted by a ‘cell phone check’ table where they deposited their camera phones on arrival and it was understood that this was not an occasion for Tweeting party photos or Facebooking details.” The publications cited sources who insisted on anonymity for fear of White House reprisal.

“So great was the secrecy surrounding the party,” the Tribune reported, “that guests were handed an invitation — on their way out, the sources said.”

Attendees should have seen it coming, because the sign outside said “if you like your phone you can keep your phone.”

The guest list was pretty much Obama’s campaign fundraiser Rolodex. Guests were thanked for their continued support by being told to treat themselves to a good meal before arriving.

At the party, Nancy Pelosi apparently tried to get a dance (Nancy can really cut a rug) with Paul McCartney but was dee-nied:

James Taylor held court with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who later tried to get a dance with McCartney, who only had eyes for his wife of two years, Nancy Shevell.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Barack Obama, Health care, New York Times, Paul Krugman