Mr Pitt goes to Washington ...

... but doesn't get a photo opportunity with a President reluctant to be seen with stars

Let's be clear – neither Brad Pitt nor George Clooney slept in the Lincoln Bedroom, so before anyone accuses Barack Obama of belatedly turning luvvie in the reflected glory of Hollywood's brightest stars, please know that, while both gentlemen amply qualify as such, they saw the big man on business.

Still, it was startling to see Clooney emerge from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue last week to address the media – had he been nominated for a cabinet post? – and it was even more startling when Pitt made his visit to the Oval office on Thursday.

In a fortnight, Mr Obama opened the door to arguably the two biggest – and best-looking – male stars in the land.

But Mr Obama was the candidate who mostly kept celebrity admirers at arms length. They have that dreaded 'L'-word attached to them, after all – liberal. Surely he is not becoming a Bill Clinton, who turned the White House into a B&B for his La-La Land fans.

Clooney and Pitt were not the first famous people to cross the White House threshold since the inauguration. Mr Obama and his wife, Michelle, presided over a concert in honour of Stevie Wonder; the Jonas Brothers treated the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha, to a surprise visit on inauguration day; and when Mr Obama hosted a governors' dinner last month, Earth, Wind & Fire provided the entertainment.

The notion that Mr Obama is immune to the dazzle of superstars is a bit phoney. Wonder appeared at his campaign rallies and has been honoured with a medal. And Oprah proved of use too. Aides insist the occasional partying at the White House has to do with Mr Obama using the building to highlight his commitment to diversity and to advance his policy goals. In recent weeks, the White House has also hosted chefs, students, teachers, community and union leaders and mayors.

The Clooney and Pitt visits were not about shoulder-rubbing so much as politicking. Clooney has established himself as an advocate for international action on the situation in Darfur and had just returned from the region. Pitt saw the chief executive and leaders of Congress on Capitol Hill – where his sunglassed presence halted work in almost every office and chamber for half of Thursday – to discuss his favourite charity, Make it Right, which is rebuilding parts of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, using eco-friendly, low-cost homes.

For now, Mr Obama seems not to be swooning for stars but using them for political gain. But if anyone spots Britney, Paris or Miley on the South Lawn, we will know he has gone soft.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing