White House State Dinners, the Grand Tradition


Introduction: Obama Hosts South Korea

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(Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

White House state dinners, Washington's quintessential social events, represent classy diplomacy. They are a way to honor a good relationship, attempt to patch over a bad one, or push a specific foreign policy. Here are some state dinners and notable White House guests since World War II.

President: Barack Obama

Date: Oct. 13, 2011

Guest of Honor: Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his wife Kim Yoon-ok

On the eve of the state dinner with Lee, the U.S. Congress passed a free-trade agreement between the United States and Korea, along with agreements with Panama and Colombia. The three agreements had been languishing in Congress for nearly four years—they were introduced during the Bush administration, in 2007.

Next: Roosevelt Hosts Bolivia

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