By Christina Wilkie - 05/20/10 03:16 AM EDT
President Barack Obama on Wednesday honored Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife, Margarita Zavala, at the second state dinner of his administration.
The evening kicked off with a star-studded arrival ceremony, during which White House Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, dressed in floor-length pink satin, tripped and fell on the red carpet as she prepared to welcome Calderon and Zavala. Seeing her, the president called to photographers, "Don't take that picture!"
Calderon's toast was more political than Obama's. Speaking in Spanish, the Mexican president celebrated "agreements and actions of cooperation" between his country and the United States that are "needed in order to face new challenges" along "the long borderline that unites us."
Earlier in the day, the United States and Mexico issued a joint declaration of cooperation on 21st century border management.
Following the toasts, the guests dined on jicama salad, green herb ceviche, Waygu beef mole, and gourmet s'mores. The tables, a combination of rectangular and round, were set with blue striped tablecloths and gilded baskets of brightly colored flowers.
Guests included Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, actors Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria-Parker and George Lopez, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim-Helu, who tops Forbes' list of the wealthiest people in world.
After dinner, guests moved from the East Room to a tent on the South Lawn, where they were joined by another 100 guests invited to attend that portion of the evening. Among them were Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and Democratic Reps. Linda Sanchez (Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (Calif.), Grace Napolitano (Calif.), Ben Lujan (N.M.), Ruben Hinojosa (Texas), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Nita Lowey (N.Y.) and Eliot Engel (N.Y.).
The huge white tent was lined with black fabric and decorated with mobiles of Monarch butterflies strung from the ceiling. Around the edge of the room, bars were set up serving drinks and small desserts.
As he arrived, Obama joked to guests that "we were in a very formal dinner, but heard that this was the place for the real party."
Calderon took the opportunity to list off all the things he and Obama have in common, prompting applause from the crowd of more than 300.
"We are both lawyers" who attended Harvard, he said. "We're almost the same age, and we both married a beautiful, charismatic and intelligent wife; both of them are lawyers."
Guests laughed as Calderon went on: "We're both left-handed, and [we] are presidents of two beautiful countries ... not only are we neighbors, not only partners, not only allies: We really are friends."
Latin guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela then took the stage, followed by the evening's headlining act, pop star Beyonce.
This wasn't Beyonce's first performance for the Obamas: The couple famously slow-danced to her rendition of the soul classic "At Last" during one of the many inaugural balls held in January of 2009.