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Howard Gutman meets with President Obama

Some of my colleague ambassadors who also recently completed their service had planned a “reunion” cocktail party and dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington DC for Friday eve 7 February. There were 11 couples in total. We all got called on Thursday asking us to come early on Friday, as we were told that the Secretary of Commerce (our friend Penny Pritzker) would come to the cocktail party. I had not seen Penny recently so Michelle and I made sure to arrive timely.

Michelle and I and the other 10 couples were at the cocktail party at the hotel when . . . President Obama walked in. Turns out, for security reasons, they could not tell anyone that the President was attending the cocktail party (or else they would have had to shut the hotel, put up metal detectors, etc.). The cocktail party was actually his opportunity to thank us individually for our service as ambassador. He spoke first to the group as a whole and then spoke to each of us individually to thank us, learn what we are doing now, and to chat.

A wonderful evening.