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.
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.