A lot has been said over the last two days about the White House’s now-infamous “Alice in Wonderland” Halloween party from 2009. It was an extravagant affair featuring actor Johnny Depp and filmmaker Tim Burton in costume. Conservatives have panned the president for having such a party during economic turmoil, and generally keeping it hush-hush. Liberals (and even some conservatives) have defended the president, either saying the party was mentioned to some degree, or that the president’s Halloween plans shouldn’t be national news.
No matter what side you take, it’s still conceivable that you would want to see pictures from the event, right? We thought so.
Intrepid blogger Zombie tracked down some of the photos from the night and posted them here. We’ve included some of them below (Depp is dressed as the Mad Hatter, Burton is the one with the eye patch, and the dog, well, that’s the Obama family canine named “Bo”):
You can see more of the pictures that Zombie tracked down, including more of the decorations and some from what seems to be an exclusive after-party, here.
By the way, the White House’s official statement defends the party as no secret:
One of the anecdotes that has received wide attention [from a new book] has been a supposedly secret Alice in Wonderland themed Halloween party in 2009. This was an event for local school children from the Washington DC area and for hundreds of military families, and certainly nothing that the White House was ashamed of.
While acknowledging that the press was allowed to attend, which in itself would seem to cast doubt on any alleged secrecy, the author contends that there was “no media coverage beyond the standard, limited pool report noting the president’s presence.” We would invite all readers to read that extremely detailed and colorful pool report, or the stories that emerged from the party, and decide for themselves. In addition, the event was previewed in the official White House Daily Guidance and discussed by then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on camera from the podium — before he dressed up as Darth Vader at the party of course.
But it should be noted that neither the “detailed” pool report nor Gibbs’s briefing make specific mention to the Alice part of the party. Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed that issue in his daily briefing (via Mediaite):
“There was a story about Johnny Depp being there?” Compton asked.
“There wasn’t a publicity event for the outside, Carney replied. “It was a military event for their children and their families inside the White House where the press came, photographs were taken. It was contemporaneously known who was here. If that’s — if we’re trying to hide something by bringing in the press, we’re not very good at it.”
“For the record, there’s not one statement from this White House –” Compton stated.
“But, again, the purpose wasn’t for — we do a lot of these things July 4th, other events here, including other events that are geared towards military families and their kids where the purpose isn’t to publicize them externally for you guys but to have a nice event for them here, which is different from trying to hide anything.”
Tommy Christopher, a member of the White House press corps, notes the event was listed as “Pool spray at the top,” which means “there’s a photo op at the beginning of the event, and then the press leaves.”
“This attack might make some sense if this event had been for administration staff, or donors, but the focus was on military families,” he concluded. “Why would the White House think the American people, Tea Party or not, would begrudge them anything?”