Haslam gets invite to state dinner at White House

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was on the guest list for a glitzy state dinner for French President Francois Hollande at the White House.

The Republican governor last month blamed scheduling conflicts for missing a planned tarmac meeting with Democratic President Barack Obama when he visited Nashville for a speech to McGavock High School.

But that didn’t stop Haslam from being among the 350 people invited to the Tuesday dinner that was scheduled to include a performance from Mary J. Blige and feature a menu ranging from caviar to cotton candy dusted with orange zest.

Invitations to state dinners have been especially coveted in recent years. Obama has held just six over the last five years, while George W. Bush held the same number over his entire eight years in office.