The stars and CEOs from Hollywood and Broadway who were eager to descend on the Obama White House for the annual Kennedy Center Honors this past weekend found the place a lot frostier and less hospitable than during the Bush years.
...While President Bush in past years shook every celebrity hand and posed for photos with visitors at the White House reception, the Obamas remained aloof, fleeing to their box at the Kennedy Center.
Stunned by recent security breaches, the White House kept guests shivering outside in 30-degree weather, opening the reception 10 minutes late and shuttling guests through 25 minutes of repeated screenings and pat-downs, all of which took place outside.
...Per custom, the five honorees waved to the audience in response to periodic ovations. They were seated adjacent to the presidential and vice presidential boxes. The president and first lady darted backstage at intermission to shake hands with featured performers -- "quick shakes, no eye contact," blurted one startled singer.
"I never thought I'd miss the Bushes," said one prominent Hollywood actor, "but this place seemed a lot warmer when they were here."