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White House Alice in wonderland party under fire

According to new book, Obama kept the lavish event under wraps, as staff was nervous how voters would react to excessive spending during recession

Right as the economy was going down the rabbit hole, the Obamas decided to host an Alice in Wonderland themed Halloween party, complete with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Tim Burton-arranged decorations.
They even talked to Star Wars director George Lucas and convinced him to lend them the original Chewbacca costume for the entertainment of their guests.



The extravagant fantasy world that they created, however, was kept very much under wraps because at the time of Halloween 2009, the economy was in the slumps and the national unemployment rate was still at a dismal 10 per cent.

The details about the lavish affair come from the pages of a new book about the relationship of the first couple during Obama's presidency.

"White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans -- or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care -- that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton's and Depp's contributions went unacknowledged," recounts Jodi Kantor in her book, The Obamas.

As is tradition, the Obamas handed out treats to Washington, DC school children earlier in the day, and while that event was covered heavily by the press, their later festivities were very actively kept secret.

But White House spokesman Eric Shultz denied Kantor's version of events.

"This was an event for local school children from the Washington DC area and for hundreds of military families. If we wanted this event to be a secret, we probably wouldn't have invited the press corps to cover it, release photos of it to Flickr, or post a video from it on the White House website," he said in a statement. 

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