It’s not nearly as brazen an act of chutzpah as Bill Clinton’s shutting down of four runways at busy Los Angeles International Airport for nearly an hour on afternoon in May of 1993 so a famed local hair stylist could come aboard Air Force I and cut Bubba’s hair. But it still pushes the needle on the chutzpahometer well into the red zone.
According to Bridget Johnson of PJ Tatler:
The Obamas shut down R Street at Florida Avenue NW in D.C. last night for a four-and-a-half-hour celebration of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s birthday.
Jarrett turned 57 on Thursday.
The motorcade rolled from the White House to Dupont Circle just before 7 p.m. on Friday, with President Obama and Michelle Obama getting out at Restaurant Nora.
The restaurant, in an otherwise residential neighborhood, is the country’s first certified organic eatery and uses ecofriendly and biodegradable cleansers and decorations. Michelle Obama celebrated her birthday here in 2010.
The White House press pool was socked away at a nearby Italian restaurant for the first half of the dinner then stuck in the press vans for the last two hours. Heavy security surrounded Restaurant Nora as a handful of people stood in the rain to see the Obamas, who were never seen by the press.
The motorcade didn’t leave the restaurant until 11:39 p.m.
Here is what traffic in the area looked like in the area at the time when the presidential motorcade arrived.
Congestion remained relatively light throughout the evening, but, bear in mind, this was not an event for a member of the first family. The event nevertheless reveals a man who, even his poll numbers plunge to record lows, remains egotistical enough to close down streets so he can entertain a pal.