Image: Barack Obama meets gate crashers, Michaele and Tareq Salahi
Samantha Appleton  /  EPA
The Salahis have been under investigation for attending Obama's first state dinner last November even though they were not on a guest list.
NBC News and news services
updated 5/20/2010 1:55:30 PM ET 2010-05-20T17:55:30

They just couldn't stay away.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the party crashers from the Obama administration's first state dinner, managed to get themselves a cameo on the fringes of the second.

The publicity-hungry couple were in a limousine that was stopped by a Secret Service officer just blocks from the White House on Wednesday night as the Obamas' second state dinner was under way inside. Their driver was ticketed at about 8 p.m. after running a red light and signaling an intent to turn into a restricted area near the Ellipse behind the White House, according to Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan.

One official told NBC News it appeared that the Salahis were preparing to be photographed in front of the White House during the state dinner but said there was no indication they were trying to get into the dinner.

The incident didn't seem to put a damper on the Salahi's spirits.

The northern Virginia couple and a group of friends next popped up at a restaurant a few blocks from the White House — with photographers and cameras in tow.

The Salahis told NBC News that they had not planned their dinner party to coincide with the nearby White House state dinner. Tareq Salahi insists it was an "unbelievable coincidence" that the couple's limousine was stopped for running a red light near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

"They had a great time with their friends," said Athina Balda, marketing manager for Kellari Taverna. "There were a lot of cameras and photographers."

Balda said the group of 10-12 people was there from about 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and that there was a lot of filming going on.

The Salahis reportedly have landed a part on Bravo's upcoming reality TV show "The Real Housewives of DC," but the network is keeping up the tease about whether the couple made the cut. Cameron Blanchard, a spokeswoman for the network, said the cameras filming the Salahis on Wednesday weren't working for the network or its production company.

But it appeared the Salahis had landed some air time on the syndicated TV show "Inside Edition."

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The show's website has this tease: "You won't believe what the Salahis will be doing when the Obamas hold their second White House state dinner. On the DC party circuit with the notorious Salahis."

The Salahis have been under investigation for talking their way into Obama's first state dinner last November even though they weren't on the guest list. The couple managed to shake hands with Obama in a receiving line and pose for photos with Vice President Joe Biden. It later came out that a third person also got into the dinner without an invitation.

The whole thing was a huge embarrassment for the White House and Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, who later resigned.

The White House and Secret Service subsequently tightened their security procedures.

Neither an e-mail nor a phone call to the Salahis was immediately returned.

The Salahis are slated to appear on NBC's TODAY on May 25 — an appearance scheduled prior to Wednesday night's incident.

NBC's Pete Williams and Savannah Guthrie contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: First lady steals show

  1. Transcript of: First lady steals show

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: A glittering evening at the White House last night. The first couple emerged to greet their guests for their second official state dinner. President Calderon of Mexico and his wife were their guests, and this time, instead of uninvited guests , the attention swung back to the first lady and her hairstyle and her blue gown.

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